Patient loyalty is the seventh and last emotional outcome along the path of emotional momentum.
Patient loyalty binds patients intellectually and emotionally to your practice. Loyalty is the culmination of emotional momentum. Loyalty is the result of the preceding six emotional outcomes.
Everything good that comes to us from dentistry results from patient loyalty:
- Patients returning for complete care who were previously not ready
- Patient retention
- Positive online reviews
- Career fulfillment
I hope you remember from our first lesson when I remarked that dentists recite their procedures when I ask them to describe their new patient appointment. “First, we’ll take x-rays, photos, and scans. Then patients will see the hygienist. She’ll examine them and clean their teeth. Then, I’ll do an exam, and my treatment coordinator will present treatment.” My goal in offering this video series on Emotional Momentum is to evolve your thinking towards each procedure’s emotional outcomes. Imagine if you did? Imagine if a few months from now I’d ask you, “Tell me about your new patient experience.”
How would it impact your practice if you were able to say…
“We do our best to be surprisingly likable. We do this by sending new complex care patients our Meet and Greet video before their initial appointment. When they show up, we see them first appointment in the morning or afternoon. We respect their time and never keep them waiting. Before any diagnostic procedures, we have a one-on-one conversation where we get to know each other. During this conversation, we discover how their dental conditions get in their way and get clear about the lifestyle benefits they seek. A big part of our conversation feels personal. We talk about our families, our interests, and at times discover things we have in common.
We give our patients the experience of being understood.
It’s called empathy and is an amazing process for signaling patients they’ll be well-cared for. Because we know complex care patients worry about the suitability, we give them ball-park estimates of costs and time in treatment. We don’t let the suspense linger from not knowing treatment fees. We want them to feel our advocacy. Our first responsibility is to guide patients into the right healthcare decisions. This conversation only takes us about 5 to 7 minutes. We’ve been doing it long enough to be efficient about it. After our exam, we’re good about giving patients hope. So many complex care patients feel that good dental health is not possible. We make sure patients know all the healthy aspects of dental health along with the unhealthy ones. We present a balanced appraisal of their dental health. Also, we help them imagine their outcomes.
We inspire them with photos of patients outcomes who’ve had similar conditions.
We tell them stories about how complex dental care changed our patients’ lives.
Everyone likes to hear good stories with happy endings. Our goal throughout the new patient appointment is to build patient confidence in us and our treatment recommendations. Our goal used to be to educate patients.
We still educate, but the higher ground of our goal now is to peak patient confidence. Peak their confidence to coincide with our treatment presentation and financial arrangements. These conversations go so much smoother after we’ve earned patient’s confidence. Even if patients aren’t ready for complete care, they never forget how well we offer it. And when they become ready, they return to us.
We believe that our initial impression of likeability, our empathy, our advocacy, how we give patients hope and inspire them to imagine their outcomes, how we’ve earned their confidence, that all of this leads to their loyalty becoming automatic. Grateful patients refer their friends, pay their bills, give us great online reviews and keep their recall appointments. Our focus on the new patient appointment is to create a positive emotional momentum leading to treatment acceptance.”
Now, can you imagine having a new patient experience like what I just described?
If you can, let me help. My online program, Making It Easy for Patients to Say YES takes you step-by-step thru the process that leads to the seven emotional outcomes of the new patient experience.
Are you building loyalty with your patients?
Loyalty is the culmination of emotional momentum. Loyalty is the result of the preceding six emotional outcomes. Each emotional outcome compounds the effect of the one following.
- Likeability, the first emotional outcome, initiates emotional momentum by signaling to patients they’ll be well-cared for. It’s easy for patients to accept care from providers they like.
- Empathy, the second emotional outcome, is about discovering and acknowledging behavioral benefits patients seek so they know you understand them.
- Advocacy, the third emotional outcome, resides in relieving patients’ anxiety about their care’s suitability. It assures patients that treatment acceptance is not a condition of a good continuing relationship, and when they’re ready for care, you’ll be there for them.
- Hope, the fourth emotional outcome, is about instilling in patients’ belief good dental health as possible for them. At times patients need more hope than education.
- Inspiration, the fifth emotional outcome, fuels the will for dental health. By combining excellent photography with well-told stories helps patients imagine their results.
- Confidence, the sixth emotional outcome, is what dentists earn incrementally throughout the new patient experience. Confidence makes it easy for patients to choose the best treatment plan and you as their dentist.