Why Do Patients Love Coming to Our Practice?
Why in the world would anyone love coming to the dentist’s office? Do “love” and “dentist” even go together? This post is a treatise on who we are and what we do, and it’s the most important thing you will read on our website before becoming a new patient!
Hi, I’m Jody. Over the years I (the practice manager and Dr. Pugh’s husband) have witnessed firsthand an incredible dynamic in the relationships that our staff and patients have created with each other. It really is amazing! And I can tell you that many patients DO love coming to the office, and our team genuinely LOVES seeing our patients. (Click here to see some of our Google reviews!)
I have recently been asked, or nudged to share, what is our “secret sauce”? What would cause a person to love coming to our dental practice? What are we doing that makes them feel so welcome, safe, secure, and loyal?
First, let me tell you, I can’t stand marketing spin and puffery. If you see it on our website, social media, or blog, you can rest assured it is just us being transparent about what we do. Our Core Values are 1) Do the Right Thing and 2) Tell the Truth. We apply these to everything, including our marketing! In today’s world, so many blog posts are just empty content. This post, however, is my honest thought on why patients love our office.
PEACE OF MIND
That’s it. This is why patients love our office so much. We give them peace of mind. So many people move here from other places, and finding a new doctor and dentist can be stressful. But when they find us, they have peace of mind knowing that we are their new dental home. We like to think of ourselves as a little “home away from home” for our patients because we’re not like a “Florida practice” or “Florida business.” We are like a hometown dental practice!
What creates this peace of mind?
We are very intentional about how we run the practice. Our Mission, Core Values, and Credo define our practice. But these are for us. They keep us focused on the right things in our business. We also have a Patient Promise. This is where the magic happens that delivers peace of mind to our patients.
A few years ago, we thought it would be interesting to try to learn more about what our patients love about our practice. We decided to devote ourselves to listening to them. In the process, we identified five key things that patients often said to us:
- You genuinely care.
- I know that if you recommend it, I really need it.
- I know your work is going to last.
- I love that you are gentle.
- You all are so on top of your processes.
Once we had a clear vision of what patients really love, we became very intentional about delivering it to them. It became our Patient Promise. We believe these things create the peace of mind that drives the love and loyalty our patients have for our office.
WE GENUINELY CARE
Have you ever been to the doctor’s office and felt more like a farm animal with an ear tag being herded through the process than like a person? Have you ever felt like the person who is checking you in or taking your blood pressure would rather be somewhere other than there, taking care of you? Have you ever felt like the doctor seeing you just has too many patients on their schedule to give you the time you need? I know I have…more often than not!
At any given time, around 20 people work in our office, and while it is not easy to make this happen, we keep only employees who really care about you, the patient, and about each other and the practice. When you come in, Christina will likely check you in, and she really cares! An assistant or hygienist will take you back to the operatory, and every single one of them really cares. Our doctors really care, and when you check out with Kaylen or Carolina, they really care too. They care about you—not just about your health, but your comfort, your trust in us, that your questions are answered, and that you just genuinely feel good when you are in our practice!
Over my entire career (many years in the corporate world), I have never witnessed tears from staff like I have at our practice. I don’t mean we are a crying factory. I mean that I have witnessed doctors and staff alike shed tears when they felt like they failed to show they care in some way. We are not perfect. We are human. And when we don’t get it right, it hurts!
IF WE RECOMMEND IT, YOU REALLY NEED IT
We do not sell you things you don’t need. Many times I have made the joke that we may not be the richest dentists in town, but we sleep like babies every night knowing that we are doing it with the highest ethical standards.
If there is one place where I will get on my high horse, it’s here. We don’t pay staff commission and bonuses. We don’t give incentives to sell more stuff. We do train our team to effectively communicate problems and consequences. And we know, because we have heard it so often, that this is what our patients want and expect from us.
OUR WORK LASTS
We are obsessed with quality for multiple reasons. The biggest reason is that Dr. Pugh grew up immersed in a culture of “doing the job right.” Her name is on the building, and she takes that seriously. I worked my way through college on the assembly line, building Toyota Camrys. I was fascinated by Total Quality Management (TQM) and the Toyota Production System (TPS) and won the Manager’s Award for Quality Assurance as a front-line team member. Dr. Pugh and I have brought our combined experience to this practice, and quality is a big deal to us!
But what does quality mean?
To us, it is simple: Deliver the best product and experience possible, and keep trying to make them better. To do this, we only bring on dentists who are skilled and aligned with how we do and see things. We don’t do “patch’em up” dentistry. We do the right work that needs to be done to give patients the best functionality. We do not use off-brand, generic, or house-brand dental products. Do you want watered-down cement to hold your crown on, or the best cement with the most active ingredient? We don’t use non-OEM implant parts that void the warranty of the implant. We don’t buy supplies from dental labs that use off-brand ceramics or fabricate (or design) your crowns in China, Vietnam, or anywhere other than the USA.
While the things I just mentioned would save us a lot of money and make us a lot more profitable, we refuse to do them. Our patients may not know about our obsessive efforts to ensure the highest quality dental work for them, but they do know their dental work lasts!
Dr. Pugh graduated from dental school and started her career in a small Appalachian community health clinic that had just opened. She later opened a private practice in a small town in Kentucky, and before her current practice, she opened a new practice for another dentist owner in Fort Myers (where we met Barb, our office manager). In all of these locations, she rapidly grew loyal patient bases. I have always said, “Just put her name on a sign and hang it out front, and she’ll grow the practice!”
I believe the number one reason Dr. Pugh’s practices have grown so rapidly over the years is because she is so gentle—not just in her touch, but in her whole demeanor. She just has a way of putting patients at ease with her calm spirit, then wowing them with her gentle touch. And she naturally attracts kindred spirits to work in our practice. Because of this, gentleness is just part of who we are.
WE’RE METICULOUS IN OUR PROCESSES
As mentioned above, I was fortunate enough to be able to work on an assembly line for Toyota Motor Manufacturing when I was in college. I paid a huge portion of my college expenses through this job, but what was most valuable was learning about TQM and the TPM.
From day one, we implemented TQM-inspired processes here in the practice for all that we do. When Barb and Kaylen joined us in 2012, our efficiency and effectiveness skyrocketed. While we have a hometown feel in our practice, the way we manage our systems is not laid back at all. When we follow our processes, we know we will make fewer mistakes and run more efficiently. I never expected patients to notice. But they did, and then they told us about it, making “Professionalism” the fifth element of our Patient Promise. Honoring this Promise is what brings peace of mind to our patients!
In small business, a good owner sets a clear agenda for what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Developing a Vision, a Mission, and Core Values is an excellent way to do this. A great owner sets an agenda, but goes further. They identify what their customers really care about and focus on that.
In other words, our Patient Promise is what we focus on because that is what patients tell us they love about us. Our Mission, Core Values and Credo are the rules that we play by to ensure we deliver our Promise at the highest quality level possible. Do we fail sometimes? Of course! But we never, ever stop caring!
I personally invite you to become a patient and call our practice your new Dental Home!