Say no to satisfied patients

June 25, 2015
Are your patients satisfied or are they loyal? A satisfied patient is content but won't necessarily stay with the practice if something changes.

Kevin Burniston

Are your patients satisfied or are they loyal? A satisfied patient is content but won't necessarily stay with the practice if something changes. A loyal patient will continue to visit your practice regularly because he or she feels your practice is unique and special. I'm sure you have a mix of both. The real question is: How do we convert our satisfied patients into loyal patients?

Think of a satisfied patient as having a satisfactory experience. Satisfactory meets our standards, but it isn't amazing. A satisfied patient can easily become unsatisfied with a simple insurance change. With patients becoming more and more dependent on their insurance benefits, a satisfied patient is likely to leave if his or her insurance changes to a carrier you do not participate with. In a patient's mind, there are a lot of other satisfactory dental offices that do participate with their insurance. Offices seen as merely satisfactory are not often recommended to friends and family.

Creating loyalty is one of the most important things we can do in a dental practice. Loyal patients are willing to stay even if their insurance changes and to pay out-of-pocket if necessary. Loyal patients can't wait to tell friends and family about their experience in the dental office. The major difference is that loyal patients feel special and that the practice is worth fighting for.

One way to convert satisfied patients to loyal patients is to wow them and treat them how they want to be treated. The trick to this is that we don't all want to be treated the same. Understanding our patients' behavior styles will help us cater to their specific needs. There are four main behavior styles:

Performers tend to be outgoing and fun. They like to be recognized and want information quickly and easily.

Analyzers like detail and tend to want literature they can take home to research before making a decision. It would be a good idea to set a date with an analyzer for a time to follow up on his or her decision.

Empathizers worry about spending family money on themselves. Make sure to explain how the treatment is the best medicine for themselves and in turn for their family.

Commanders like to deal with the doctor directly. Make sure to ask a commander questions and let them voice their opinions.

The morning huddle is a perfect time to discuss each incoming patient's behavior style and make sure the entire team is prepared to cater to those specific needs. Each team member should bring information about patients to the meeting. How will your team make each patient feel special? After each patient leaves, take notes to follow up on the next time the patient is in the office. Note vacations, kid's activities, holiday plans, and birthdays in the patient's file.

Wowed patients are loyal patients. Give patients something they aren't expecting. Give patients an experience worth telling their friends about. Give patients an experience they want to come back to. Most of all, give patients an experience worth being loyal to.

At Henry Schein we believe in improving the lives of those we touch. We focus on practice care so dental professionals can focus on patient care. Creating loyal patients is one of many areas we focus on to help dentists navigate the changing market. For more information, reach out to your local Henry Schein representative or visit

During his 10 years with Henry Schein, Kevin Burniston has had the opportunity to meet with more than 1,000 dentists. Each one has unique hopes, dreams, and concerns about his or her practice and family. Kevin's goal is to help each dentist reach those dreams. Contact him at (800) 372-4346 or [email protected]. Learn more at www.HenryScheinBusiness .

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