Because… “I Trust You”

by Dr. Scott

"D” (not her real name, but will use to protect her identity) is a 13 year old girl that touched my heart and made me feel so blessed to be in a position to contribute to people’s health and well-being.  But this story has a much bigger message than just another dental appointment……. Read on to get it!

Here’s the story;
Monday and Wednesday of this week, I was helping out a buddy that manages a practice in Carrollton, TX. The owner dentist was on medical leave and the temporary dentist was out for a week as well. The compensation was well below my daily rate, but I was happy to do it because it was an opportunity to help a friend and I’m always excited to check out “new” offices and their teams.  Every person I treated in this practice was a “new patient” to me. 

The patient showed up at 5:25pm on Monday, October 4th, (a week early for her already scheduled appointment), but we had just had a cancellation and a subsequent opening in the schedule; so we brought her back to have her teeth cleaned and polished.

It is also important to know that the office closes at 6:00 and the team was winding down for the day, and very easily could have sent the patient away with one sentence: ”You’re scheduled for next week”; but being the caring, patient-centered team that they are, everyone agreed to see the patient.

I walked in the operatory and happily introduced myself to this big brown eyed 13 year old girl, “you must be D” I said, “Yes I am” she replied, and then I extended my hand out to shake her hand and told her my name and that I was happy to meet her.  I then turned to her mother and introduced myself to her.

I acknowledged that they had come at the perfect time (even though they really didn’t have an appointment) because we had an opening miraculously appear right before they showed up.  D’s mother explained to me that she was scheduled next Monday for a few fillings that were already in the treatment plan. Even though I wouldn’t be the one treating her next Monday, I decided to go ahead and examine her and confirm the findings.  Sure enough, what was already planned for treatment was confirmed, but I also found two additional smaller fillings and informed D and her mother.  We chatted for another minute or so with informal light banter and a little laughter; then, I dismissed myself and thanked them for coming in and entrusting their care to us. 

A few minutes went by and I heard Anna, the hygienist, and the mother discussing something.  Anna soon came rushing up to the front and said that they were moving their schedules around and making arrangements for D to come in on Wednesday to do all her fillings because they wanted me to do them.  So, I curiously walked back to the operatory (with a feeling of gratitude) and asked D why had they rearranged their schedule to come in on Wednesday to have me do the fillings…D looked me right in my eyes with her big brown eyes and replied with words and an expression I’ll never forget for the rest of my life, “because….I TRUST YOU”.  With a proud (and humble, if that’s possible) smile, my eyes beginning to well up, I thanked them and told her that those words meant a lot to me and I’d see her on Wednesday. 

Now, I know that the entire experience for D and her mother had everything to do with trust being bestowed upon me.  Without the TEAM being willing to work a little late, with a smile and a “happy to do it”, patient-centered mindset, and Anna touting Dr. Scott,  there would have been a completely different outcome.  That outcome could have possibly ended up in a dis-appointment, instead of a happy patient that showed up for the appointment and gladly paid for the service….and, more than likely, tell a few folks!

Be seen, be heard, build  rapport (connect and engage), be congruent, become trusted……… then and only then, will they buy,  stay and  rave!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

denny hagel October 7, 2010 at 11:14 am

Dr Scott, Through sharing this experience you have demonstrated the power of being a genuine, honest, positive and caring person. The payoff could not have been greater…gaining "D's" trust is the most beautiful gift. High five to you! As one who had nightmarish experiences as a child with dentists (and still do) I totally identify with the amazing impact you have had in her life. Great Article!
Blessings~denny hagel

Carla J Gardiner October 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

Wow, Dr Scott! That is awesome and more than that I truly am drawn in to the whole experience. I want to travel to Texas for my dental appointments. You have found your calling and there is not one speck of doubt that many professionals out there can use this kind of leadership, it is sorely missing in the dental and medical offices around the country.
Thanks for bringing this kind of wonderful information to all of us…as a patient myself I greatly appreciated the story and now…I do trust you!

Linda Caswell October 7, 2010 at 11:47 am

Hey Scott,
What a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. I look forward to more of your postings.

Beau October 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  I love the story because too often people miss the point that a little investment up front in people can pay a lifetime of rewards both in fulfillment and revenue.

Victoria Gazeley October 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm

What an honour for you!  And such a brilliant example of putting your client first.  Thanks for sharing!

Susan McKenzie October 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Dr. Scott, this is great story about building trust! I've often heard that when a patient trusts their physician their rate of recovery is so much higher … and I would imagine a LOT less pain! A dentist who follows the example you shared will definitely attract many repeat patients! This is a great article! Thanks for sharing :)

Katie Hong October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for your insight.  It's so true – trust is the most important asset we have in the dental practice.  If a patient doesn't trust us we shouldn't be their dentist.

Rachel Peterson October 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Wow!  That is a special story -  those kinds of things make it all worth while :)

Dr. Scott October 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Thank you Carla ! Those are very nice words :)

Dr. Scott October 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Denny, it’s so true; gaining “D”s trust is the payoff! The feeling is that “I’ve made a difference” is much more meaningful than anything tangible…Hey, maybe we can start a service where we fly patients to Texas, put them up in a nice bed and breakfast …take care of their dentistry and fly em back home!!! hmmmmm…..

Maria October 7, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Going to the dentist is a scarry thing for all, specially for children. How wonderful when they not only do not cry for being there, but actually feel safe in your hands! It only takes 'caring'…

Rose Mis October 7, 2010 at 4:41 pm

This is such a fabulous example of true service Dr. Scott. "I trust you" … especially coming from a child is huge. Even more important is that her Mom responded in a way that truly honors the response from her child. In the long run, that small investment of time upfront will result in alot of referrals … Relationships based on trust are the fuel for real grass roots business growth. Very well done !!

Dr. Scott October 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Rose, thank you for pointing out the mom’s response (in honoring the child)! That is such an important aspect of parenting also…. Denny, what do you think? :) Thanks Rose.

Carol Douthitt October 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

The Trust Factor – Sounds like a great title for a new book.  How to market in the new economy by being genuine and gaining the trust of your clients.  Hmmm ….  Your post seems to be spawning all kinds of great ideas.  Thanks for sharing your special experience!

Nancy October 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

I used to hate dentists. HATE them! Until I found one who so inspired my trust. How did he do it? By telling me what he was good at and what he ususlly refers out, like root canals. He also was so good at explaining things to me, showing me pictures that illustrated what he was talking about. And I could tell, as anyone could, that he really liked his work. And his patients.
Be trustworthy begins with being honest. No B.S. And showing up fully, as you must, Dr. Scott. Good for you.

Rachelle October 16, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Wow! I just had a chance to read this great article. This is truly what a dentist/patient should look like!  Thanks for sharing that with us!

fenderbirds October 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm

nice article, keep the posts coming

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