What do your patients REALLY think of you?


After a busy week of traveling I had so much fun last weekend on a hay ride with the family and some friends. Our time at Hunter Farm was a great example of what having clear systems can do for your business. Like clock-work, the covered wagon circled the farm picking us up and delivering us to the milking barn and then to feed the goats.  We even got to see a new calf that was born just days before.

They thought of everything; from having feed for sale in the barn to letting us know how to behave around the animals and then guiding us to clean our hands after feeding the goats. The farm team educated us to the steps they’ve taken to protect the animals and the land. They were all on the same page and it was clear that when we arrived at the milking barn, Ashley was prepared and ready to answer all the kids’ questions.

They created a wonderful experience for us and the kids. We WILL be visiting the farm again. In fact, we’ll return for the Christmas tour, complete with hot cocoa.

Our time with the farm manager was very short, 5 minutes tops. His team was responsible for taking great care of us. It was obvious they had very clear systems in place and they had the same level of dedication to their ‘craft’ as he did.

Do you notice any similarities here? It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, your team can make or break you. And it’s especially true with hygienists in a dental practice. They are often the team member patients see most. And a top-notch hygienist can do wonders for your business.

I recently came across a great article written by a dental patient. I’ll give you the link to the article but first, keep reading and see how you can find out what your patients really think of you.

What do you your patients REALLY think about you?

I hope you’ve already noticed that it’s now more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the other dentists in your area. There are lots of obvious ways to do this-accept certain plans, offer high tech options for care, offer sedation and sleep apnea treatment, for example.

One way to set your practice apart that might not be so obvious (and maybe even a little controversial) is by carefully selecting a top-notch hygienist.  I recently read an article written by a consumer about his experience with a series of hygienists working with his dentist. The article revealed that he actually made the choice not to return to his dentist because of the hygienist. He perceived that her skills were inferior to her predecessors and that she was not a reflection of the dentist’s commitment to high quality care.

On the flip side, having dynamic hygiene team working at a very high level can create massive growth in the practice. This type of hygienist is key to successful internal marketing and creating a healthy flow of patients into the recare system. This flow of patients ensures there is restorative treatment on the doctor’s book.

As a dentist or office manager, the first and most important qualification for a hygienist is attitude. Clinical skills can be taught but having a mind that is open to learning, growing and being a flexible part of the team is very hard to teach. Of course, this applies to all positions.

As a hygienist, your impact on patients and the entire dental practice will often be the most rewarding part of your career. Hygienists play a huge role in patients’ confidence in the doctor’s skills and treatment recommendations. This is why if the doctor and hygienist don’t have a common treatment philosophy; there may be difficulty in enrolling treatment and retaining patients.

But before you run off and implement new ideas to empower hygiene to build your practice, it’s smart to find out where you stand NOW. And you don’t know what your patients think of you unless you ASK. This is where the patient survey comes in. As a speaker and consultant, I always ask for feedback and evaluations.  Sometimes it’s painful to hear what I need to improve on but if I didn’t have that feedback, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get better and grow. The same is true for your practice.

I’ve found that automated surveys work well because it’s just that, automatic. There are at least a dozen resources in the dental industry for surveying patients. The system I’ve used most in practice and with clients is Smile Reminder (let them know I sent you and you’ll get a preferred rate). They have a survey that goes out to every patient immediately after they’ve been seen in your office. The feedback you receive will be extremely valuable and will likely prompt some very strong testimonials.

If you’ve never done a patient survey, do it now. Patients want to know they have a voice in your practice. Once you receive the feedback, make a strong effort to resolve what’s not working and do more of what your patients ask for.

Take a look at this article. Very interesting point of view…


Stay Inspired,

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