Dental practice owners, do you remember the exact moment you chose the building that would contain your vision? Can you still recall every vivid detail of your opening day? I bet your emotional memory evokes that “new and shiny” pride that comes from dropping thousands of dollars on equipment untouched by gloved hands until that very first patient. Of course, nothing is “new and shiny” forever. Perhaps you worry that your practice is lackluster but don’t have the budget for frequent architectural renovations or to fix something that isn’t broken. So how do you keep that “IT” factor?
Perhaps it’s time to return to that initial vision – and to ask yourself who you want for your patients. Once you recognize the passion that led you to your career in dentistry, you can use your industry experience to market to your ideal customer.
Want your practice to dazzle as much as your patients’ teeth?
Here are a few things to consider:
What does your reception area look like?
You can have the latest and most expensive dental equipment but nobody’s ever going to see it if they don’t make it past the front desk. Your reception area is the perfect place to be creative! Again, think of who your patients are and what you could do to make each individual feel comfortable. For example, if you’re a pediatric dentist, try including games in your reception area to preoccupy an otherwise nervous child. If you want to take that creativity to the next level, make the game interactive. Try creating a short scavenger hunt filled with words and items in the pictures you (hopefully!) have hanging on your walls. The idea behind having a framed diagram of the stages of gum disease is to educate your patients on how to prevent it, right? So open the dialogue. If you’re not a pediatric dentist and have a more mature vision in mind, you should still be thinking about ways to bring warmth to your waiting room. Consider your choice of music, and ask yourself if that piece of abstract art hanging across from the seating area would be the last image you’d want to see before you went under anesthetic.
Are you going for calm, or vibrant? “Medical” should be the last word on your patients’ minds. To create a soothing atmosphere for her patients, Dr. Alexandra S. George in Wexford, Pennsylvania offers patients coffee and home-baked cookies. She recently touted the benefits of her relaxation room for pain patients in an interview with Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine:
“They can unwind sitting in the chaise longue, with heat wraps and soothing music. And the coffee bar. Every morning I come in, put the coffee on and bake the cookies.”
2. First impressions mean everything.
Scrubs don’t have to be boring. One google search for “luxurious medical scrubs” will show you what I mean.
One of the first sites I stumbled across was Jaanuu.com. Founded by pediatrician, Dr. Neela Sethi Young and her younger brother Shaan Sethi, Jaanuu, a private equity investor, Jaanuu’s scrubs are a great option for dentists looking to spice up their attire. According to their website:
Jaanuu was formed in 2013 to reinvent the medical apparel category with contemporary, runway-inspired fashion. The company was named Jaanuu for its Hindi meaning of “sweetheart”, a term of endearment used in many cultures for someone you love, often a child.
Of course, you don’t need to break the bank on an office uniform either, but a more streamlined design or a pop of color here and there never hurt anyone. Benco Dental offers standard scrubs in a variety of colors (Ti Scrubs Elements Women’s Scrub Top Intense Pink Medium shown on right). Part of garnering a patient’s trust is showing them the human behind the (to them) scary-looking dental equipment. Fun scrubs are a great way to let personalities to shine through. Don’t be afraid to decorate both yourself and your office with every holiday!
3. Speaking of personalities, you should always go out of your way to treat your patients like people.
Ask questions and keep notes. And trade your notes with other members of your team so every patient feels special. Some dental professionals, like orthodontists, have a more frequent ongoing relationship with their patients. If a patient tells you they’re going on vacation in between visits, make a note to ask how the beach was the next time you see them! You can make a 50-room practice shrink down to a single room in the patient’s mind if you show them you value what they have to say.
Follow these tips and add some of your own and I bet your practice will give off that “new and shiny” vibe all over again.
How do you bring warmth to your practice?