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Patient Retention: Will They Come Back?

April 20th, 2018 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

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By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I read an interesting article about Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy who stated that “people size you up in seconds.” In her book “Presence”, Amy Cuddy says people immediately ask two questions:

Can I trust you and can I respect you? Psychologists refer to these questions as a measure of warmth (trust) and competence (respect), and ideally you want to be perceived as having both dimensions.

Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional setting, believe that competence is more important than trust; patients want to know you are smart enough and talented enough to take care of their Dental treatment. In fact, this isn’t true; Ms. Cuddy states that warmth and trustworthiness are actually the more important dimensions. In lite of her research, a patient’s perception is probably, to a great degree, a measure of our ability to succeed in the business of Dentistry.

I believe this to be true because when I ask an individual why they think their dentist is so “wonderful”, they talk about their personality, their chairside persona and the office ambiance. Not long ago after I had sold my practice, a former patient called me and stated she wasn’t going to go back to her Dentist. Apparently he’d been crabby and short with her that day and it made her very uncomfortable. I asked her if she’d been happy with the work that had been performed for her and was this an isolated incident. In fact, she was happy with the Dentistry and yes, the incident was an isolated one.

I explained to her that Dentistry is a very tough and stressful business. The Dentist wears a lot of hats and he or she also performs the majority of the treatment. Although we might make the work look easy, it really isn’t, especially when we strive to do an excellent job against many odds (bleeding, saliva, uncooperative patients, etc.). Her Dentist could be dealing with many facets of the business: payroll, staff management, taxes, repairs, inventory, etc. And even if he or she has Staff members that handle these problems initially, in the end, final decisions to resolve problems are ultimately laid at his or her feet.

I was quite certain that should she return and try the Doctor again, she would find a very different situation. She did go back and she did find the incident was isolated. People really don’t know how difficult the practice of Dentistry can be. That is why our Team: Assistants, Hygienists and Office Managers are so very important to the success of our Dental Practices.

Is everyone on your Team considered to be your right arm? If one of them is missing, do you feel it? Is their work performance missed or does the office atmosphere improve? This is the gauge required for you to determine if you have the right or the wrong employee on the payroll.

We’re here for you to Connect you with the right Dental Professional; to reduce your stress, improve your bottom line and boost your practice to the next level of excellence.

“I wear bodily fluids that aren’t mine, put up with adults who act worse than children, and am told how much people dislike me. And yet, I still love what I do!”

Kara, RDH

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