Nearly all (if not all) dental practices have an ongoing goal to grow their practice through acquiring new patients. But not all practices have a solid plan in place for how to turn those new patients into loyal members of their dental practice family.
If your practice doesn’t have a process for onboarding new patients it creates an environment where even one small misstep during a first visit can send them to the practice down the street for their next appointment. After all, if they don’t feel like an effort was made to create a strong relationship there’s not much incentive for them to stick around.
That’s where new patient interviews come in.
What is a new patient interview?
New patient interviews are a way to get to know a patient and their thoughts and feelings about their dental health that allow a practice to better tailor their care to that individual.
Some great questions to ask during this interview are:
- How do you feel about your smile currently? Does it give you confidence?
- Is there anything about your teeth that bothers you? If yes, what?
- Do you have any oral pain or discomfort? Any issues while eating or drinking?
- What does your current at home dental care routine look like? Are you satisfied with it?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is your oral health to you?
- How do you feel about going to the dentist? What makes for a positive dental experience for you?
- Is there anything else about your oral health, or you in general, we should know about?
You can conduct a new patient interview in a variety of ways: over the phone before the appointment, as a written interview the patient takes before the appointment starts, or in person with the patient while in the exam room. How you get answers to these questions isn’t as essential as discussing them with the patient at their first visit it. This helps create the foundation for your relationship with the new patient.
Using the new patient interview to foster strong patient relationships
As we briefly mentioned above, implementing an interview into your patient onboarding process can help ensure that new patients continue coming to your practice for dental care after their initial appointment.
Taking the time to learn about a new patient’s oral health from their own words helps provide proof to them that your practice cares about them as an individual and not just as a way to pad your bottom line. This lays the foundation for a strong relationship with them and creates a sense of loyalty to your practice. It also helps build trust that is essential to successfully navigating difficult discussions down the road that may arise, such as the need for extensive or costly procedures. When your patients feel they can talk to you without fear of judgment or lack of empathy it turns them into a long term patient.
Not to mention an interview with specific questions gives the patient a chance to share minor issues they’re experiencing that left undetected could become much worse. This could save them from oral and financial pain down the road—an immediate benefit to both them and you that will leave them feeling very grateful.
In just a few minutes you can provide the type of care that keeps patients wanting to stick around. All because you gave them a chance to speak for themselves.
If you found this helpful and plan on implementing new patient interviews in your practice let us know. We’d love to hear from you!