Dr. Maher Barsoum recently attended a question and answer seminar at the UCLA School of Dentistry to discuss an important topic with students who one day aspire to open their own practice: patient management.
“The importance of building a successful dentistry practice is through patient relationship,” said Dr. Barsoum.
Having practiced dentistry for over 30 years, Dr. Barsoum prides himself for paying personal attention to each of his clients, which has resulted in highly satisfied customers. The customer satisfaction is reflected in the 300-plus reviews that have garnered 5-star ratings from his guests.
“It boils down to trust,” said Dr. Barsoum. “To have patient trust, you have to be yourself.”
Dr. Barsoum’s advice to aspiring dentists was to perfect the technical aspects of dentistry, as being a trusted expert in your field is the first process in gaining patient trust. The second step in the process of gaining patient trust is to build relations with your customers by getting to understand their needs and concerns. The third stage in patient management is when you and your patient are completely comfortable with each other.
“If you try to push patients to do treatments in the beginning, it won’t work,” suggested Dr. Barsoum. “Providing good dental work is part of the experience, but you have to go above and beyond to gain patient trust. It is the small things that gains trust.”
Dr. Barsoum takes his time to get personable with his patients by offering advice in dental hygiene to every one of his customers. “I sit with every patient and offer instructions on flossing and dental care. I don’t do it because they ask, but I do it because I am giving a message that I care about you. It is not about business or money. I care about the customer. This is how you gain customer trust.”
When asked how Dr. Barsoum communicates with unhappy patients or difficult situations, he explained:
“The most important thing is to listen. I will do whatever the patient wants to be happy.”
Another important aspect of patient management is the dental staff, as Dr. Barsoum addressed the importance of having trust in his team. “A big part of gaining patient trust is your team. You need to surround yourself with good people that you trust and believe in what you are doing.”
What gained the trust of so many patients was Dr. Barsoum’s willingness to go above and beyond with every one of his patients. “It is patient experience that makes a difference. You cannot fake and fool people, you have to really care about them,” explained Dr. Barsoum.
“Building trust isn’t only first impressions; trust is oftentimes gained by doing something for free to show you care about the patient’s well-being. If someone comes for a check-up, take time to hear their concerns. They will appreciate it if you go the extra length to help,” said Dr. Barsoum.
Dr. Barsoum provided an anecdote of going above and beyond with a patient. “There was a review someone wrote saying that her daughter needed dental work, and she had no money. I offered to do it for free, and I was called “dentist with a heart of gold.” I figured, what do I have to lose? These small things leave an impression.”
“Be sincere, and go over and beyond. It is not an 8 to 5 job. It is a mission.”