If Jack and Jill like you, the most likely result is that mom and pop will like you too. This means you’ll start winning over the whole family –parents, uncles, aunts and even grandparents will probably start coming in for appointments because of the great experience the kids had.
The best part is, if one family loves you, it won’t be long before they’re chatting up the whole neighborhood about your dental practice: telling other parents at work about how happy their kids are having you as their dentist, or talking about your dental office on the sidelines of the field during their children’s soccer practice.
Once the positive word of mouth starts spreading around your community like wildfire, you’ll start to see more and more friendly faces knocking on the door of your dental office.
So how do you get your child patients to like you when your office is full of scary drills, and super sharp implements?
In this case, the witch from Hansel and Gretel had the right idea: ply them with goodies.
As a dentist, you can’t hand out the sugary stuff. That would obviously be a contradiction. However there’s a whole lot you can do to transform your office into a “kid-tastic experience.” Here are five suggestions:
1. Create a mini arcade
All you need are some video game machines in the reception area and a portable Nintendo DS (or more) to hand out during procedures. If kids are busy killing aliens, they’re less likely to notice the whining of the drill.
2. Let them saddle up
Nothing entertains kids more than a chair that goes up and down with the push of a button – especially when they’re the ones pushing the buttons! So hand over the dental chair controls once in a while. Say, “Ride ‘em, cowboy!” and watch them have some fun (instead of being scared). They’ll think you’re the coolest ever.
3. “Inflate” their fun!
It’s pretty common knowledge that balloons make kids happy – and it’s easy enough to give them what they want. Investing in a helium tank and customized balloons to hand out to your younger patient base isn’t expensive. Plus, you’ll be marketing your practice even further when people see your dental office’s balloon dancing along the street behind a happy child.
4. Let them discover some buried treasure
A treasure chest filled with toys and prizes is a surefire way to make a new young friend. You can use the chest to reward little patients for sitting still, brushing their teeth properly, for using floss or whatever other behavior you want to instill.
The prizes don’t have to cost as much as real pirate gold, either. Most kids are happy with simple things. Coloring books, rubber balls, hair clips, really cool pens that light up, toy cars, stickers and tattoos are just some of the things that kids love.
Just make sure that you let them pick their own prize – that’s a huge part of the fun!
5. Keepsakes will “keep” them coming back
Similar to the treasure chest, a keepsake will remind your mini patients of their visit. Give them a special something that you’ve branded with your logo (and your website). The best part is, if you make it something that they’ll use often for years to come, then you’ll stay top of mind for a long time. There is so much potential for brainstorming great keepsake items. These can include: lip balm, drink cups, jump ropes, combs… but the possibilities are endless! Just use your imagination – or better yet, if you have kids, nieces, nephews or friends with kids – ask them what they consider to be ultra cool.
Remember that it’s not just parents who like to chat. Kids talk on the playground too. They’re going to show the goodies you gave them to their friends, who will go home and tell their parents about how cool Jack or Jill’s dentist is.
Implement these ideas, and you’ll see how easy it is to increase your patient base with something as simple as a balloon. Plus, you’ll be known as the “fun” dentist… and there’s nothing wrong with that!