New Patients Welcome!
Letting your community and service area know that you are accepting new patients should be an ongoing effort for your practice. Making it obvious and convenient for people to know you are “open for business” is a great way to build trust and credibility in your community. While it may be obvious to you, is it to potential patients?
Picture this, it’s a beautiful Wednesday morning, and it’s been flawless so far. You’re at your desk with a fresh cup of coffee and ready to begin your day. The phone starts ringing, and the first thing you hear after you pick up is, “Are you taking new patients?” Why, as a matter of fact, yes, we are. How did you hear about our office? She tells you that her neighbor was ranting and raving about her last appointment, and she would like the same services. Does it get better than this? Oh, wonderful, Mrs. Jones! Would you mind telling me a little about what you are looking for so I can schedule you accordingly?
You end the call with the feeling that your work here today is done! You just scheduled an A+ patient right out of the gate!
The phone rings again, “Hi, are you taking new patients?” Now you are thinking, of course, we do; why would we not? After you get the new patient scheduled, the phone rings for the third time, and you’re silently thinking, this better not be someone asking if we take new patients, or I’m going to put up a neon sign that says, “Yes! We are taking new patients!”
This is a common theme in our area, yet our community doesn’t know that our doors are open to them. So how do we get the word out? WE TELL THEM! Plaster “New Patients Welcome” wherever you can. The sign on the front of your building is a great place to start! Make sure it’s on the homepage of your website, add it to your printed statements, incorporate it into your hold music, put it on your appointment cards, add it to your business cards, put it in your newsletters, and make sure it’s everywhere you can think of!
Another fun internal way to make sure that everyone knows you’re accepting new patients is by asking your patients for a referral. I ask my team to identify their favorite patient during the day. Then it becomes a goal to find a way to open the door to ask, “Mrs. Jones, it was such a pleasure working with you today; I wish all my patients were like you! If you have friends looking for a new dentist, we’d be happy to care for them!” They will almost always follow up by telling you they were talking to a friend about their dental visits. It may be awkward the first couple of times you try it, but it will become more natural after a few times.
You can use the same scenario when patients give you five-star reviews. “Mrs. Jones, thank you so much for your kind review; we were so happy to see you enjoyed your visit; if you have any friends looking for the same type of care, we would love to have them!”
Don’t forget to track your means of referrals to measure what is working and what is not; your software will help you do this as long as the information is being entered. Set a benchmark for how many new patients you would like to have each month and report back to your team at your monthly meetings to let them know how many comprehensive exams were completed. It’s helpful for them to SEE what they are doing matters as their schedules start to fill with “ideal patients.” Implement strategies and track your referrals to reach your goals and SUCCEED!
About the Author
Erin is currently an office manager in Longview, WA. She started 24 years ago as an ambitious dental assistant and quickly learned the ins and outs of dentistry. She found a passion for the business aspect and leadership in the profession. Erin believes that if she takes care of her team, they will care for their patients, which drives her passion to succeed. Erin holds an AADOM Fellowship distinction and will be inducted into the 2023 class of AADOM Masters (MAADOMs) in September.