Are You Interested In Your Patients?

Are You Interested In Your Patients?

How do you know when someone cares about you?

From giving a thoughtful gift to spending time listening to someone, people show that they care in different ways. Knowing how to show patients that you truly care about them is something every practice needs to master in order to succeed.

Why Do I Need to Show My Patients that I Care?

If you provide your patients with excellent care, why does anything else matter?

To understand why it matters that your patients know that you care, we turn to renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion.

His fifth principle of persuasion is called the principle of liking, which states that people prefer to say yes to people they like.

If you want your patients to say yes to your suggestions for treatment, it will help if they like you!

Generally, we like people who care about us, so showing that you care can actually encourage your patients to continue to invest in their dental care.

After all, if your patients feel like you don’t really care about them and their health, why should they accept your recommendations?

How Do You Show Someone That You Care?

What are the things other people do that show you that they care about you?

For some, this may look like a meaningful gift; for others, it may simply be time spent together, but there are a few things that most caring gestures have in common.

1. Personalization

Whether you are buying someone a gift or planning to do something nice for them, it will only show that you care if it is personalized.

Getting your dad a top-of-the-line coffee maker will only be meaningful if he really loves coffee.

In the same way, simple, personalized touches, even in making conversation, will communicate to your patients that you care about them.

The basic gesture of using your patients’ names when speaking to them may go further than you think in making your approach to dental care more personalized.

2. Intentionality

The other essential ingredient in showing someone you care is intentionality.

Intentionality is the difference between giving your mom a store-bought card versus a card you created yourself.

In your practice, you can apply intentionality by planning ahead.

Your morning huddle with your staff is the ideal place to bring in some intentional, personalized touches.

When going over the day’s agenda, discuss which patients will be coming in by name and make note of any important life events in addition to their treatments.

Do any patients have a birthday coming up?
Do any of their kids or other loved ones have any important life events coming up, such as a wedding or graduation?

If it seems daunting to keep track of these details for all your patients, try this simple tip: be a good listener, make a note of any interesting personal details during the appointment, and then simply review those notes before the patient’s next appointment. 

Why Do Patients Sometimes Ask Staff Members for Advice Instead of the Doctor?

This brings us to another one of Dr. Cialdini’s principles, which is that we like people who are similar to us.

The reality is that many of your patients may feel a divide between them and their dentist, while another staff member may feel more relatable.

Rather than seeing this as a negative thing, you can look at this as a great opportunity to make the most of your amazing team!

Make sure that your team is on the same page as you regarding treatment plans so that they can genuinely back you up if patients have questions.

This way, the next time a patient asks a team member about a recommended treatment, your staff can actually boost your credibility by confirming that the treatment is effective.

Caring Doesn’t Stop with Patients  

A practice that is genuinely interested in its patients is likely a practice that is genuinely interested in its staff.

If you are showing your team that you care about them, this will also spill over to benefit your patients.

A great resource for learning how to invest in your team is Daniel Pink’s book “Drive,” which talks about the three things that motivate knowledge workers: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Most dental practice team members are knowledge workers. In addition to the purpose of helping people and the continued growth or “mastery” that dentistry provides for them, one of the things that really motivates them is autonomy.

Autonomy means giving people the freedom to do things their way within practical boundaries.

One great way to provide this autonomy is to have regular one-on-one lunches with your team members so you can listen to their suggestions for the practice.

In addition to the resources we’ve shared above, another great resource for improving your people skills is the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. 

You can give your practice the edge it needs to provide intentional, personalized care for your patients with these recommended resources, and watch how it transforms your practice in no time!

About the Author

Dr Eric Block
Dr. Eric Block is a full-time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts, husband, and father of two kids. He is known as The Stress-Free Dentist and hosts the Stress-Free Dentist Podcast.
He is the author of three non-fiction books and one children’s book. He lectures nationwide, helping dentists become more efficient, productive, and less stressed. He is the co-founder of the International Academy of Dental Life Coaches or, which matches dental professionals with life coaches who understand dentistry.

He is a wellness ambassador for the American Dental Association and former chairman of the Health and Wellness Committee for the Massachusetts Dental Society.