When Dental Shift Happens: Are You Speaking the Right Generational Language?


When Dental Shift Happens:  Are You Speaking the Right Generational Language?

Last weekend was very emotional, finding myself watching a complete stranger lurch and stutter an old manual shift 1997 Subaru Outback out of the garage and away to its new home.  SuBe (my car) was a member of our family for almost two decades.    The ecstatic new owner admitted it had been many years since being behind the wheel of a manual transmission. Listening to the disruptive grinding of gears and a popping clutch was a loud reminder of how familiar, comfortable and confident I had become driving this car.  It would take the new owner a bit of time to achieve a comfortable, smooth shift.

A generational shift in the healthcare industry has disrupted practices out of their comfort zone.

This shift has altered the way dental practices need to operate in order to increase revenue and growth.  Practice capacity is the big issue; and due to the natural process of patient attrition, it is imperative to maintain a steady influx of new patients while continuing to appeal to the existing ones.

Examining the Generational Snapshot

Currently there are four and maybe even five generations in the work force and five generations of potential patients. The right question to consider is, “How do we best appeal to each generation”?   Patients that are “long in the tooth” are the Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers.  Generation X, Y and Z compile the middle age and younger patients.  Each category has a unique potential to contribute to practice growth IF we speak in the generational language that best appeals to them.

For example, Mrs. Hall is 65 years young and is scheduled for a consultation to discuss treatment options for replacing several missing teeth.  Your interaction with her from a verbal, non-verbal and technological standpoint will influence her decision to either accept or reject your recommended treatment.

Speaking the Right Generational Language:

Below are some examples of how a dental practice can more effectively communicate with Traditionalist and Baby Boomer patients:

  • DR’s. – Men, keep a button down collared shirt, tie and a white lab jacket handy. Women, a dress shirt and white lab jacket. Put it on before seeing a more senior patient as opposed to wearing scrubs.
  • Call each patient by an appropriate title, “Mrs. Hall”, “Dr. Jones”.
  • ALL STAFF – Wear a name tag positioned on the RIGHT lapel. This allows the patient to more easily view your name while shaking hands.
  • Tangible paper resources and models vs. technology. Traditionalists and Boomers are not as familiar / comfortable with technology as compared to the younger generations. Choose accordingly.
  • Create a packet of printed consultation discussion options and additional information.
  • Follow up with a personal phone call.

I invite you to challenge your practice to customize interaction with patients based on their generational age group to increase practice revenue and growth.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.