Not just appointment reminders.
In the old days (3 years ago), we called and sent postcards to patients to remind them of upcoming appointments. Although most patients made it to appointments, we found that there were days that people would, gasp, FORGET! How do you forget a day of fun like going to the dentist?! Okay, okay...I know that some people do not think of it that way.
We understand the occasional missed appointment, but then it was happening more and more. This was a problem. Open chair time is not good for a small business. So, Dr. Jones and I researched how we may be able to update our communication reminders to our patients and came across a company called Demandforce.
Not only would they email and text patients to remind them of their appointment, but we could also let patients know about promotions and get feedback in the forms of surveys and reviews.
Opening yourself to receive information like that can be scary. What do our patients really think of us?! With Demandforce, we are unable to simply delete bad reviews. All reviews will be posted (unless vulgar language is used). Then the first review and survey came in...
"Alison Jones is like family to us, even though we see her at teeth cleanings and fillings. She is so kind and easy going. When I walk in the office she is there smiling and asking about my family and life. During appointments she asks often how I am doing and will even stop a procedure and wait while I go to the bathroom. Alison Jones is just a real good person who happens to fix my teeth."
When we read this, we got those warm fuzzy feelings and were happy. This patient expressed exactly how we try to run the practice. Yes, we are a business and a dentist office, but we really do care. For real, we care. It is important to us that our patients do not feel like just a person that needs a filling, or a tooth cleaning. We love to hear what is happening in our patient's lives!
Although we signed up with Demandforce to just to remind people to come in to see us, we now have an inside look as to how patients really feel about us. Those surveys and reviews remind us to keep on our path of not doing just great dentistry, but to treat each patient as a cared-for individual.
Thank you for coming in to see us. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for taking time to let us know how we are doing.
Yes, we name our orchids
If you've seen Dr. Jones for restorative work (ie fillings, crowns, etc.) you may have noticed the orchids on the credenza. Many people comment on them and ask how long we have had them...or if they are still alive (for the bloom-less ones).
A few years ago, Dr. Jones brought in a beautiful orchid that had lovely blooms and just brightened the area. We watered it, admired it, and loved it. Then one day we came into the office and all the blooms were gone. Huh. We waited and waited and nothing happened.
Shortly after that, the orchid mysteriously disappeared. Dr. Jones brought in another, just as pretty. This time, Linda (our roving office assistant), said that she was going to make sure that this one lived. She also decided that it needed a name...Lola. We've had her about 2 years and is currently in bloom!
A few months later, a patient brought in another orchid as a thank you for all the work Dr. Jones did over the course of a year. This new orchid was named, Cynthia, after the patient. She is about a year old and is in her sad, no-bloom stage.
Our newest addition hails from Trader Joe's...a steal at $8! She is a beautiful bright green color. So she was named Marguerite...like the lime margarita color :) She is about 6 months old and only has one flower that looks like it will drop tonight.
We've learned that the orchids bloom for several weeks, lose the flowers and look pretty sad for a while. But, the blooms always come back! We all get pretty excited when a new bloom, stalk, or leaf starts sprouting.
If you are in the dental chair, waiting to get numb, look to your right and check out our pretty orchids. If you are an orchid lover and have suggestions on care, please let us know!
Weekend Dental Emergency
It is Saturday evening. You finally put the last child into bed (for the 5th time) and you sit down on the couch with your loved one to catch up on all the DVR'd shows you missed during your hectic week. You take a sip of your drink and WHOA! Tooth pain. You take another drink to be sure it wasn't a fluke and it happens, again! OW!
You are at lunch on Friday with co-workers and discussing what you will be doing over the weekend. You take a bite of your sandwich...CRUNCH! You think, "What is in my sandwich?" Further investigation leads to noticing that you just broke a tooth.
It is Sunday and the toothache that you've been putting off for 3 weeks suddenly peaks into something unbearable.
On Monday morning there are usually a few calls from patients that experienced similar situations. Some will have suffered the whole weekend waiting to call when our office is open because they do not want to interrupt Dr. Jones' weekend. We want to let our patient's know that we never want you to suffer for longer than you need to. We leave Dr. Jones' emergency contact number on our voicemail message for a reason. Often times, she can either give you some ideas to make you more comfortable until she can see you, or in more severe cases call in a prescription or even come in over the weekend. Remember, this is only for our Patients of Record...Dr. Jones has a list...she knows!
We know people like examples, so here are a few situations that we consider Emergency or Non-Emergency:
Emergency: Experiencing swelling of gum or face.
Non-Emergency: Asking if tooth whitening really works.
Emergency: Severe pain that wakes you up at night.
Non-Emergency: Questions about dental benefits or your Billing Statement.
Emergency: Trauma to gums and teeth
Non-Emergency: chit chat about weekend plans (although, we do like to talk about what happened over the weekend...just while you are in the dental chair).
What happens if you lose a crown after office hours? Call and leave us a message with your name and contact number. Our office will call you back on our next business day to schedule an appointment. Keep the crown in a safe location until you can see us. Keep the area clean by continuing to brush (gently). Having a crown come off is considered a non-emergency, unless there is pain/swelling, or the tooth is front and center and you are a Keynote Speaker.
In conclusion unless you are having pain/swelling with a tooth, please leave a message on our office voicemail and our office will call you to make an appointment. If you call Dr. Jones, she will tell you to leave a message on the voicemail...so just skip the middle-woman!
Ali Jones, D.D.S. - Dentist