I once heard a story about George Bush, our 41st President, regarding something he did to cultivate goodwill. After first meeting someone, he’d create a 3 x 5″ card with notes on that person that he would refer to later before the next encounter. He did this so he could ask specific questions about them such as: “How is your grandchild doing?” or “How did your wedding turn out?” President Bush was also known for writing handwritten notes acknowledging the most innocuous of things.
His wife, Barbara, claimed that he could refresh his memory and then personalize a conversation or note with any of over 50,000 people from color coded (signifying importance) 3 x 5″ cards. This was his “stock in trade” deliberately accumulating goodwill over several years.
Cultivated Goodwill Matters
Do you make it a practice to cultivate goodwill with your patients?
One local orthodontist that is in my area told me that one of his partners can meet a patient one time and then remember not only their name, but everything about them no matter how long the initial encounter has taken place. Impressive. I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night much less the name of any patient I saw yesterday. God didn’t give me that special gift. Oh well.
That same orthodontist had his staff write handwritten notes to our kids while undergoing orthodontic treatment that encouraged them to keep brushing and cleaning well and that they looked forward to seeing them next month. To me this is impressive with the amount of texting, messaging, and tweeting one could do, they take the time to write by hand.
What about you? What does your team do after a new patient leaves? What about after surgery? Are hand written notes with gift cards for coffee or smoothies mailed out? Are you making a point of cultivating future profitable goodwill?
Joan Rivers Goodwill
Joan Rivers was known to have “Lists Of People Who Must Be Made To Think Of Me.” The list was broken up into groups.
There were groups that she wanted to somehow be reminded of her existence no less than every:
- two weeks
- three months
She was once quoted as saying, “At my age, you have to remind people you are still alive.”
Do you have a select group of business owners and referring dentists that you want to stay on “top of mind” with them?
How often are you contacting your top referring dentists?
How do you contact them? Email? Phone? Text?
I’ve got some interesting information that I’m going to be sharing soon from research that states what dentists want from their specialists. Stay tuned…
What You Can Do
Here’s something that we not only do in our practice, but also teach to our private coaching members. Create a section in each patient’s chart where personal information can be made. This can be something that you learn about them while talking such as… “they like to fish” or “woodwork in their spare time”.
We encourage our clients to put this line on their office forms: Hobbies/Likes/Interests
By doing this, it’s easy to see what they’re interested in and start the Rapport building process by discussing these. We have very few patients that leave this blank. For whatever reason, people love sharing what they like with others.
Next, starting each day in your morning huddle, identify all of the patients that are coming in whether they are new or existing. Review the notes about them and make it a point that someone asks about their interests during their visit.
I’ll never forget the time that we asked a patient how their new 1st grandchild was doing (the note read that she was leaving the next week to see her first grandchild being delivered.) Not only was she FLOORED that we remembered something so important to her, but she boasted the next ten minutes with pictures on her phone to our team.
Folks, none of this is complicated stuff. Yes, we can learn how to do the latest and greatest implant and grafting procedures but do you REALLY think patients care? They EXPECT us to know what we’re doing and stay current. It’s the other stuff, the goodwill we’re creating that matters.
Question: What are you doing in your practice to cultivate goodwill? Comment below!