Originally published in 2012
My husband and I like to frequent a few favorite restaurants. We go for the food, but the total experience is enhanced by the relationships we have with the staff. They know my husband likes water without ice while I prefer lots of ice. They know what we are likely to order and how we like it prepared. We have developed relationships with these people although we know only their first names. Bright smiles and welcomes make us glad we have returned.
I go to the dental practice for the treatment but find it welcoming and pleasant because of relationships I have developed with the staff.
As I walk in the door I am greeted by name and with a smile. (Of course the front office staff know who is scheduled for the day so they only need to look at a list to call me by name, but it’s a good way to start the appointment.) Mostly I see the hygienist for my six-month cleaning. She is skilled and thorough, but almost as important is the relationship I have developed with her. She always asks about my grandchildren and where we have traveled recently. She seems to remember details from one visit to another. I have enjoyed following her kids through their various swimming and athletic accomplishments and their decisions on colleges and even the tragic death of a friend. Because my mouth is otherwise “occupied,” she does most of the talking. She always puts me at ease.
I might think the treatment I receive is special, but I have overheard her interact with other patients and they seem to enjoy the same personal care I do. I wonder if she makes detailed notes on my chart or if she has a super memory. Whichever it is, it enhances the feeling of trust and contributes to the fact I never dread going to the dentist’s office.
As we have many choices of where to dine out, we also have many choices of dental practices. I’ll always choose to return to the place where I feel welcomed, valued, and well cared for. I’m also more likely to refer my friends to that restaurant or dental practice. Relationships with your patients really do make a difference.