With a down economy everyone is feeling the effects, including my practice. And while not losing patients, some people weren’t able to come in as regularly, leaving room for more patients. We thought about advertising, but that would be paying strangers to send us strangers and our thought was that we would rather have friends and family of the patients we already were familiar with.
Showing Patient AppreciationSo we started with our own patients and thought about giving them something to show our appreciation for their years of loyalty. In selecting the gift, we chose something we knew they would like to have, but probably wouldn't 'splurge on'. With that criteria in mind, I chose to give each patient their own home bleaching kit, rather than giving them away to encourage new patients (in my experience, freebies tend to bring in nothing but new 'bargain hunters'). In return, we gave out several business cards with each bleaching kit and asked our loyal patients to “stimulate us” by referring their friends and family.
We shared the whole story during every visit to put it in our patients’ minds so they might remember it and talk about us more. We also explained to them that we couldn’t ‘wax a dirty car.’ We had to do an exam and cleaning (at our regular fees). Plus, any decay or defective restoration would be very sensitive so it had to be restored first.
I hired a patient who has an art degree and experience in working with plaster to come in and learn how to make bleaching trays. We bought the bleach in bulk from Henry Schein and estimated the total cost including labor to be less than 35 dollars per unit.
Because our patients had to come back in for an impression, we spent more time (which we had) with our loyal clients and they had something to brag about to their friends and family when their teeth got whiter. As a result of our ‘stimulus package’, our numbers are back to normal levels after being down by 23%. The best part is that our stimulus package brought in a host of new patients who were in need of all kinds of restorative work that we were able to address.
Even with the down economy, I am still independent of insurance, doing complete exams and charging a fair fee for the services I provide. I am proud to say that my practice and our ‘stimulus package’ are doing wonders in the area of providing complete care dentistry for our patients. The results are speaking for themselves.