Just a reminder that we spent last week beginning this topic and we will finish up today. Clinical marketing is not telling people what services you offer. Instead, it is actual things you can do around delivering clinical excellence that can make a world of difference. In fact, in my office, never running late, always having them completely numb every time, and creating dentistry that looks good, feels good, and lasts a long time carried me for almost 40 years. It was the underpinnings for a top-notch internal marketing outreach that formed the basis for our culture, and synergistically made every external marketing campaign pay a huge return on investment.
Part of getting your house in order is exceeding standard of care and going above and beyond in our clinical sphere to make sure the patient is really wowed. We are beginning where we left off last week with a few more areas of clinical marketing by using or offering:
• Nitrous Oxide to every patient. I could count on one hand the number of patients that I did clinical dentistry on that turned down nitrous oxide. The benefits include higher pain threshold, some form of euphoria, time passes more quickly, and muscle relaxation. Before you ask, no, we did not charge for it. If fact, I always teased that I charged for it if they didn’t use it. Patients on Nitrous.
• Audio and visual distractions. We had monitors with video and/or headphones for sound or music. The distraction always made the patients more comfortable.
• We used injectable Dexamethasone on almost any patient we did surgery or fillings and crown and bridge on. This steroid almost eliminated all muscle trismus and post-op discomfort for every procedure. Add to this using Medrol 4 mg pill if they do have post op pain and patients will think you walk on water. They just will not have the normal soreness associated with injections and dental work. You literally could not buy this level of marketing doing anything else.
• Adjust anyone’s dentistry for free. We always had the physical and staffing capacity to work patients in that had small problems immediately. While this should be common with your own patients, image the surprise when we fix a temporary from another doctor on Saturdays, Fridays or later afternoon all week long because they can’t even find their dentist. When we adjust it or replace it, it fits better, has perfect occlusion, can be flossed, and is smoother than their other teeth. Now think about how you would react when we refused to take any money for what we did. These patients will always refer to you and most of them became our patients.
• Polish every filling, temporary, and adjusted crown so that they are smoother than their natural teeth. When you don’t have the pride in your work to do this, the patient is reminded every minute of the day how what you did does not feel like a natural tooth.
• Using mouth props on every patient. Simple but super effective in many ways. The patient doesn’t get tired staying open. They tend to talk less so you get more done. You can be assured of having the same amount of opening on every patient so that you buy handpieces and instruments that work especially well in that amount of space. Finally, I find that patients not using a mouth prop tend to stress their joints and muscles to stay open. Mouth props will decrease post-op soreness.
• Placing Chlorohexidine and Gluma on every patient we do a filling or crown on. This eliminates all post-op sensitivity on fillings and crowns while actually increasing bond strength. They disinfect and seal the dentinal areas while adding a whole new level of clinical excellence. Failure to do this is a clinical violation of standard of care, in my opinion.
• Terrific Patient Card and Comment Card. In a way the pre-op call for the new patient serves as a bookend for the Terrific Patient Card and Comment Cards we use. Everything else we talked about occurs or fits in between. The Terrific Patient Card is a small card that I hand write to thank them and ask for a referral. The Comment Card is a postage paid way for the patients to offer anonymous feedback on the service and products they purchased. If you go to our website there is a search box where you can enter either of these two cards and find a detailed description of how, when, and where to use them.
There you have it: Clinical Marketing done right. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
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