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Grow your dental practice by being different: Think like a patient

June 19, 2020
Dr. Robert McGuire says he found success in practice when he began to think like his patients. He advises his peers to examine things in your offices from a patient's perspective. You'll be surprised by the results.

As a dentist, what steps have you taken to grow your practice? Some common ones include social media, adding new services, advertising, signing on with PPOs, or building a bigger office. All of these actions can be helpful, but a more impactful step is to evaluate the things that make your practice special. As you examine these things, do so from a patient perspective. Start thinking like a patient!

In today’s society, not only are prospective patients looking for excellence, they’re looking for something different. Take a look at some of the most successful companies—Amazon, Apple, Google, and Starbucks. What makes them different and attractive to their customers? Make a list of their unique qualities. Look at that list and ask, “How is our practice different and attractive to our patients?” and “What areas in our practice need improvement?”

Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your team:

  • What makes our dental practice unique?
  • What makes our dental practice attractive to new patients?
  • Why should a patient choose us instead of the office down the street?

In addition to those, here are questions prospective patients may be asking themselves.

  • Who is the best dentist in my area?
  • Which dentist can best meet the needs of my family and me?
  • Who can help me find a new dentist, and how are the online reviews?

You need to ask, “What are the little extras in our practice?” Areas to examine might include the quality of your dental services, your timeliness, your cleanliness, your physical environment, and your communication with patients and team.

Some examples of being unique could include the doctor seeing all new patients first, giving out coffee gift cards when the staff keeps a patient waiting more than five minutes past their appointment time, or having an exceptionally clean office and bathroom. The list is endless and remember that it’s the little things that can mean a lot.

If you want to grow your practice, start thinking like your patients. Put them front and center in your mind. Being patient-centric is more than just offering the services your patients need or want. It means being able to recognize how patients think and feel. Most importantly, know that it’s their thoughts and feelings that drive their behaviors.

At your next staff meeting, use the questions above to start developing your niche and your uniqueness. Formulate your list and develop a plan to deliver high-quality dentistry and the best possible patient experience. Remember to think like a patient. When you do, you’ll be amazed at the results.

Robert M. Maguire, DDS, MASCL, retired recently at age 60 after practicing for 28 years as a solo practitioner in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and he now owns Dynamic Dental Communications. His practice thrived without the influence of PPOs or premiere programs with set fees. He attributes his success to being patient-focused and developing deep relationships with his patients and team. For more information, visit dynamicdentalcomm.com or contact Dr. McGuire at [email protected] or (603) 759-2931.