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Perception Matters

As the CEO of your company, it’s your job to make sure your organization paints a picture that shapes a positive perception in the mind of each patient.

In my practice, we have adopted the perception of “High Tech, Soft Touch.” Soft Touch not only occurs with the hands, but with the psyche, too. We handle our patients with kid gloves through every step of an appointment, lest they walk away and never return. Painting a picture in the patient’s mind of what to expect and the intended outcome will allow your team to create a better reality for your patients…and your practice. Soothing pastels and soft touches blend to make a scary place seem and actually be more pleasant.

Painting Pastels of Peace and Harmony

Have you experienced this in your office? You delivered what you thought was an outstanding experience to a patient. You made the correct periodontal diagnosis with your high-tech Florida probe, and your recommended treatment was totally appropriate. Then you later found out that the patient did not schedule a follow-up appointment because the probing was too painful, the appointment coordinator was rude at checkout, and there was no offer to make any financial arrangements to pay for the $2,500 treatment recommendation.

How far had the patient’s perception of their experience varied from yours?

Here is the crux of the matter: the perception of excellence (or offering a superior service) makes a significant difference when it comes to converting prospects into patients. The key is to insure that the services rendered reinforce – and ideally exceed – the patient’s preconceived notion of how their experience should be.

Want to know a secret?You paint a picture that shapes perceptions before the experience begins.

One thing I have found is that the incoming mental state of the patient improves the outcome. If I can plant seeds before, during and after the patients’ visits, they are happier and easier to deal with. Our “We Cater to Cowards” sign is worth its weight in gold, every year, without fail. We get lots of referrals from it because wives or husbands send their “chicken” spouses.

We all know that dentistry and pain are not synonyms, but the perception is there in many people’s minds.

New patients will sing your praises if your practice is perceived to be more empathetic, careful, gentle and painless than their last dentist. Patient reviews are part of the selection process for people considering whom to choose as their dentist.

Glowing testimonials are like decoys on the pond, attracting other ducks. Dentistry can be your own personal Duck Dynasty!

Action items to consider today could be: Evaluate the perceptions your patients have of your practice. A patient survey is a good way to do this. Ask if your doctors, hygienists and office staff are known for being gentle or rough, compassionate or callous.

Make a plan to modify behavior in any instance that falls short of expectations. Remember, it pays to take action.


Bill WilliamsComment