One of the most important pieces of patient care, is knowing and communication with people. The best dentists are those that build lasting relationships with patients. To know and communicate with patients, you need to understand the distinction between types of patients. Every kind of patient will have different challenges and needs for care and communication. Each patient you interact with is unique, but there are 4 main groups that most dental practices will encounter. Knowing how to recognize these common types of patients and work with them will provide value to your patients and your practice. Knowing how to work with patients will help build a loyal patient base and help grow your practice.
Here are 4 types of patients your practice will likely encounter, and some tips on how to win their hearts.
Event-driven patients only come in when it is absolutely necessary. By the time they visit your practice, they are in crisis. They have pain, swelling, or bleeding and need immediate help. These patients come in with a “must fix it” mindset. They want the fix, and that is it.
Often, the crises that bring them to your practice are preventable. However, it is important to treat these patients with compassion, and show no judgement. While treating them, offer education to encourage them to schedule more routine care. It can also be helpful to share patient stories of other event-driven patients. Share how you restored their health and prevented more crises to help event-driven patients become more regular patients.
Reactive patients understand the importance of regular hygiene and exams, but for some reason, limit their participation. These patients are like event-driven patients because they are reacting to problems in their mouth. The key difference, is that reactive patients will not wait until crisis to come in. They will come in as soon as there is any discomfort. When they visit, they want a limited examination, focusing only on the problem areas. They then want a treatment that corrects their problems with as little effort and expense as possible.
Like with the event-driven patient, prevention education is crucial for these patients. It is also important to figure out what is holding these patients back from regular dental appointments. Lack of finances is a common reason these patients don’t schedule appointments. Offering multiple payment options and discount programs can help bring this patient in more regularly.
Proactive patients schedule appointments as recommended and know the importance of preventative care. They want thorough examinations and to be involved in the treatment and prevention of problems. These patients take their oral health seriously for both themselves and all their family members. They also likely have dental insurance.
To connect with these patients, keep your website and Facebook page updated. Be sure to include educational information, as well as tips and tricks on oral health and preventative care.
Perfect-smile patients are interested in esthetic treatments. They want to look and feel their best. These patients are willing to spend discretionary income on cosmetic treatments. These patients can be influenced by friends’ treatments, makeover shows, or upcoming events. Which means, you can also influence them.
These patients want to see that their dentist has both technical and artistic skill. You can influence them by highlighting cosmetic cases in your office and on your Facebook page. Before and after images will resonate with them and influence them to try more cosmetic treatments.
Knowing your patients is the most effective care strategy. These are some of the most common patients you will work with. Knowing how to recognize and communicate with all 4 of these patient types will help your practice grow. It is still important that you learn about each individual patient and their needs, but this guide can get you started. Communicating with different patients effectively may seem challenging, but with the right tools; resources; and strategy, you can do so successfully. You can also reach out to us for help. ProSites offers solutions to help practices like yours communicate and market to patients.