Following a recent article on “Standard of Care and Informed Consent” published in The Profitable Dentist Magazine, I received several emails about what a post-op instruction should look like. I was surprised by the fact that the general population of dentists thought they only had to have informed consent or post-op instructions for what they called “complicated procedures” (Endo, implants, and surgery). Nothing could be further from the truth. Any time you perform any treatment on a patient you need that informed consent and post-op instructions.
In addition to our color-coded post-op instructions, we include a guarantee on the reverse side for every procedure. It is short and sweet. A sample of one for crown and bridge can be seen by clicking this link: Info Sheet Crown and Bridge. Why would you want to include a written “guarantee” with your work? I have listed several valid reasons below and I believe every dentist should give their patients a written guarantee.
• Every Dentist should “formally” stand behind everything they do. Surely you stand behind your work. Why not make it official? This creates a sense of integrity that you couldn’t buy or otherwise project without a guarantee. It is the quickest and strongest way I know of creating a culture of satisfaction for the patient.
• It creates a sense of confidence in the patient. Patients need to be constantly reminded that they made the right treatment choice with the right dentist. This short guarantee reinforces the fact that they made the right choices.
• It eliminates buyer’s remorse. Dentistry is expensive and every patient feels a slight pang in their pocket book when it comes time to pay for what they want. Why not calm that fear by letting them know that you will replace it or give their money back if they are not happy with it?
• It encourages referrals. Over and over, I see poor performance in offices when it comes to direct referrals. What could be better than a guarantee to encourage people to talk about you?
• It makes you different from all of the other dentists. Every patient is subconsciously comparing you to every other dentist they have ever gone to. You need to stand out by always over delivering your services. A guarantee is the best way I can think of to do this.
• It eliminates redo’s. Every dentist seems to make time for redoing failed dentistry, but never has the time to improve their clinical knowledge and services in the first place. Put a guarantee on it and you will finally wake up to the fact that your dentistry is failing because of you. If a crown breaks you are using the wrong material, with improper prep, and poor execution. All of a sudden you realize that your prep reduction is inadequate and you are still using porcelain to metal when it has been outdated for ten years. Stand behind your work and watch the stress and redo’s disappear.
• Your staff starts bragging on your work. About 60% of the offices I see have staffs working there that don’t think their doctor is all that great a clinician. Guarantee everything, decrease redo’s, and get more referrals and watch how proud the staff become about endorsing you and your dentistry. The ripple effect is enormous and the positive culture and enthusiasm goes through the roof.
The guarantee is not for a specific result. It is simply guaranteeing the satisfaction of the patient. Satisfy your patients every time and you won’t have to spend tons of money on marketing. So, your homework for this week is creating post-op written instructions and putting a GUARANTEE on every one.
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS