6 simple (but unexpected) ways to surprise your patients and stand out from competition

Let’s face it; differentiating your practice from the competition can be tricky. After all, especially if you’re a general dentist, you offer the same services as the other dozen dentists in your community.

X-rays? Check.

Fillings? Check.

Prophy? Check.

So how can you get an edge and make patients realize you’re the top choice?

Think outside the appointment to treat your patients better.

  1. Use their name
    This one may sound obvious but it’s so important. By addressing your patients with their name you demonstrate you care about them as an individual and that you desire to have a relationship with them. Greet them with a friendly “Hello, Jane!” as soon as they walk in the door. This sets an excellent foundation for the rest of their time in your office.
  2. Offer refreshments
    For patients there for their own appointment offer them water for their short wait. And for those accompanying someone else to their appointment offer a few selections—hot or cold water, tea, coffee, and some simple, healthy snacks like granola bars or packaged nuts. It shows you understand they’re spending some of their valuable time in your practice and that you want to make that time as pleasant as possible.
  3. Send birthday cards
    You have your patients’ birthdays on file, so why not make use of them? It’s easy to stock up on simple cards and pass them around your dental staff to sign. Your patients will never expect it but will definitely appreciate—and remember—the gesture!
  4. Be open on Saturdays and evenings
    This doesn’t mean you need to give up all your free waking hours, but there are some people who simply can’t get away from work during their normal work day. Simply offering one Saturday a month and one evening a week lets patients know you care about their schedule and want to accommodate them—not the other way around.
  5. Place an extra trinket in take home bags
    Everyone gets the standard toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. But most wouldn’t expect a mini calendar, stress ball, or lip balm. By giving them an extra (and useful) gift, they’ll feel that you appreciate their business. Plus, these are all products you can purchase and imprint with your practice name, giving you not only happy patients but additional exposure.
  6. New patient welcome letter
    This one is so easy it should be a staple in every office. Once you have the initial letter written you can simply print and mail it to every new patient you get. Make sure to include a statement of gratitude, directions to your practice, and a few common FAQs new customers typically have. Then just have the doctor sign a stack every once in a while and they can be sent out as needed.