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What's "Old" is New Again



Don’t Underestimate the Value of Paper, a Pen, and the Telephone



I have a secret to share with you.


It’s really simple. In fact, to some it may be obvious. But it will have your new and existing patients “eating out of the palm of your hand.”


So lean in close – because I’m here to tell you that:


What’s old is NEW again.


It’s scary how effectively emails and texts have taken over our world and made it impersonal. But if you look at it from another perspective, this means that people appreciate a “personal” touch more than ever before.


I have to laugh at dentists who send a “Thank You” or “Happy Birthday” text to their patients.


Is it cheap? HECK YA.


Is it impersonal? A big HECK YA to that too.


Would you send your mother a text to say Happy Birthday, or Happy Mother’s Day?


If the answer is yes – I have to ask – what kind of son or daughter are you? The least you can do is pick up the phone and give (or mail) your mother a card. And the same philosophy applies to thanking, or communicating with, your patients.


The lost “art” of dental offices handwriting a greeting card or picking up the phone baffles my brain. It takes a few scant minutes each day – and the effects can last a lifetime.


For instance, take my dentist – Dr. Paul. Over 30 years ago, my mom had to have an emergency root canal. Her regular dentist wasn’t available, so she called Dr. Paul for the first time on his emergency number during “off-hours.”


Dr. Paul made arrangements to see my mom immediately and kindly performed the urgent procedure.


But after the root canal was when the magic happened. That weekend, Dr. Paul simply called my mom to ask if she was comfortable, and to make sure that she was okay.


The rest, as they say, is history. After that, when mom took us to the dentist – it wasn’t to our regular guy.


It was to Dr. Paul.


Let’s fast-forward 30 years. Dr. Paul is still my dentist, along with my mom and my brother…and it doesn’t end there…


My wife, my in-laws and both my children use Dr. Paul as their dentist.


And so you could say that the one phone call with my mom (that only took one minute of his time) has paid for itself one million times over.


Technology may have changed some of Dr. Paul’s dental tools… but it hasn’t changed Dr. Paul! My oldest daughter (Danielle) had her wisdom teeth removed by Dr. Paul, and on a Saturday we received a phone call – probably from his cottage – asking how Danielle was doing.


I’ve never asked him, but I imagine that he’s been doing this with his patients forever! Just think how many patients (and their families) have appreciated his thoughtful phone calls.


If a phone call is so effective, can you imagine the power of a hand-written greeting card? Whether it’s a “Thanks for your referral,” or a “Welcome to our practice,” or just a personal note – as long as you’re genuine, this patient relationship marketing tactic is basically a license to print money!


So the next time you’re pondering what you can do to nurture loyal relationships with your patients – remember that a simple phone call, or a handwritten note, is the best way to go.


In the middle of a cold, impersonal and increasingly digital age, old school is becoming NEW school. And when it comes to developing meaningful relationships, some methods will never go out of style.        



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