"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!