Sheri's Solutions: The invitation

2013 08 14 15 37 19 36 Doniger Sheri 2013 200

"I received an invitation from Dr. Doniger to come and have my teeth cleaned, and I would like to schedule an appointment." An invitation. How lovely. Do you invite your patients to your office?

Sheri B. Doniger, DDS.Sheri B. Doniger, DDS.

Honestly, I do recall giving this patient a card. I had initially met him more than seven years ago. My son had been working for him and had left the company several years back to join another group. I had run into him at his office when I was visiting another patient early last year. As always, I always have business cards (or lip balm with my practice information) at the ready. I handed one to him and said, "If you are ever in the market to change your dental home, please do not hesitate to contact us. It would be a pleasure to have you in our practice."

Do I feel as if it were an invitation, as he so eloquently recollected? No. It is my standard line when I meet someone and give him or her one of our business cards.

Since 2007, when the majority of dental practices saw a steep decline in both patient visits and revenue, we have wondered, "Where have all the patients gone?" Surely, people have had dental pain. If you have personally experienced any dental pain, as I had recently, you would truly want to know how people are able to tolerate such discomfort and stay away as long as they do.

Marketing comes in many forms. When patients feel as if they received an invitation to our practices, they feel as if they are joining a family of patients rather than becoming a number. We never know why patients join our practices. In this case, he did remember the invitation to have dental care. Is it the manner in which we "invite" patients that is attractive and enticing, or merely the delivery that is memorable?

“When patient feel as if they received an invitation to our practices, they feel as if they are joining a family of patients rather than becoming a number.”

Interestingly, this patient had not only moved on from his former position but was living in Connecticut, pursuing a role with a different company. He returns home frequently to visit his family and friends. He wanted to re-establish a dentist in Chicago, as he believes he will be returning home at some point. Most likely, he will not need any restorative dentistry, but that is not the point. He called, made an appointment, and was happy to have an available time slot that fit his schedule. Whereas he may not need anything more than preventive services, he will be a good referral source for his friends and family located not far from our office.

Regardless, we are always happy to welcome a patient who we had personally invited to the office for dental care. It validates the personal touch atmosphere of our practice. If we were to write a legacy for our practice model, although pundits are saying the solo practice is "going away," we would discuss personal service by one dentist to one patient at a time. Marketing at its finest? You bet!

Sheri B. Doniger, DDS, practices clinical dentistry in Lincolnwood, IL. She is currently vice president and president-elect of the American Association of Women Dentists and editor of the American Association of Women Dentists "Chronicle" newsletter. She has served as an educator in several dental and dental hygiene programs, has been a consultant for a major dental benefits company, and has written for several dental publications. You can reach her at [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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