It's been a long tradition in the small town where my wife and I grew up to hold an annual "Heritage Festival."
It's a weekend event that comes with everything you might expect of a local fair: carnival rides, double-fried foods, & princess pageants (plus what amounts to an impromptu high school reunion every year).
Lucky to be running late
This year we were late getting there (our 8 month old...) and the last seats open on "Main Street" for the parade were right in front of, coincidentally, the local dentist office.
After we sat down I realized just how lucky we were because it was a hot summer day, and this dentist was giving out free ice-cold waters from a tub sitting right on top of their water meter.
So why not just run a hose out of the water meter?
It would have been a lot less work
The water would be 50* chilled
Our city water is delicious and clean
It is identical to the water in the bottles
Cups are cheaper to hand out
So why do people want bottled waters?
They are guaranteed clean with a sealed lid
They are easy to grab and drink
They have cool labels with aesthetic graphics on them
The containers are recyclable
You can easily grab one for a friend
The moral of the story: Do and package things how your customers want
What dumb things are you doing that are costing you patients?
The bottled water story was elementary, yes. But it highlights the bigger problem that we see with dentists all the time.
Consumers have a choice
50 years ago in dentistry, things were very different. If I told your parents or grandparents that the dental experience should be pleasant, pain-free, great service, and worry-free... they would have you committed for a mental evaluation.
50 years ago, patients were just happy to find a dentist who was COMPETENT.
The WOW Factor
In today's world, competency is assumed. All dentists that graduate have already earned the consumers confidence in terms of their ability to fix teeth. What consumers are looking for today is the WOW Factor.
The WOW factor is that exceptional experience, similar to what you would experience at a 5-Star restaurant or a 5-Star hotel.
The late Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying "Everyone wants to be able to afford a Jaguar, and we're going to give that to them".
Is your patient experience precision engineered like a new Apple product?
When patients search your name online, what do they find?
When patients visit your website, what do they see?
When patients watch your videos, what do they think?
When patients walk into your office, what is their first impression?
When you can engineer that WOW Experience, or in the words of Steve -- give everyone the ability to feel like they just bought a Jaguar -- THEN they will pay, stay, and refer. And you will be rewarded for your efforts.
It's all about giving people what they want, packaged how they want, when they want it.
It doesn't matter if it's bottled waters, iPhones, or their dentist.
If you want to grow your practice, then engineer a WOW factor for your patients from the moment they first hear about you all the way through their treatment.
If you want to fail, that's easy. Just continue doing nothing.