A Patient’s Viewpoint With Mr. Nathan Harris

Episode 073

The Business of Dentistry is back this week with a special interview. In this episode I interview a former patient, Mr. Nathan Harris. In our discussion he gives us an unbiased opinion on what potential patients are looking for in a new dentist. Episode 73 of Business of Dentistry is definitely worth a listen.

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You may have noticed I’ve been away for awhile, I’ve had a few weeks with the military and the office has been busy because it’s summer. Now I’m back and bringing on a friend and former patient of mine to talk about dentistry from the patient’s perspective.

Nathan Harris and I met in a leadership group about 10 years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. Because he’s moving to a new area I asked him to share how he’s gone about finding a new dentist.

When looking for a new dentist, Nathan said he would go to Google and search for a phrase like “best dentist in X: (X being his new town or county). He would do a lot of research first, and including things like insurance, but also he’d research finding a place that he feels comfortable. He doesn’t like the going to the dentist but he knows it is necessary, so finding a place he feels good about it is important to him.

To get a feel for the new dentist he’d look at their online reviews, their social media and anything else he can find via Google. From there he would potentially schedule a visit or just drop by their office to see what it looks like.

He’d do so because he wants to know if it’s in a good part of town, if it is a nice-looking professional building and office space. Once he’d narrow it down to a few potential dentists he would ask around about those specific practices. He would ask for other people’s experiences and input on those potential dentists he had found.

Nathan explains word of mouth plays a bigger role than social media, so if a friend or someone else he knows, likes and trusts tells him not to go to one dentist, he’s going to listen to that over online reviews.
The opposite is true, too: a positive referral will reinforce any positive research he has found online.

As far as scheduling and the actual office visit, he wants to call to make an appointment. The first thing he’d want to hear is a smile on the other end. He believes if someone is enjoying their job and has a pleasant attitude about their work it comes across when they answer the phone. Also he wants someone who identifies the office by name, and someone who can answer basic questions or will put him in touch with someone who knows the answers.

In terms of the physical office, he is looking for a space that conveys what the office is about: cleanliness of course, but also the waiting room experience. Do they offer things like wi-fi or music or other distractions if he has to wait? He also looks for a place that doesn’t smell like a doctor’s office!

Initially, he said a tour would be nice and he would like to see the equipment and highlights of the technology available. During his first meeting with the potential new dentist he wants to spend a few minutes talking with that dentist. He also wants to hear credentials, how long they’ve been in business, and what they specialize in.

We wrap up our discussion by talking about the big three: time, money and fear, and why I try to find out what each of my patients are most concerned about from those three. Nathan shares which of those three is his biggest concern, but also why all three are critical for him.

This is a great topic from a unique perspective we don’t often get to hear from directly so let me know what you think after you listen to episode 73 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “You can hear someone smiling through the phone.”

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