For the last fifteen years I’ve seen the same dentist, paid more because he was out of network, and drove a little farther than I’d prefer.

Why? Because I liked him. For the five minutes that I was face to face with him on each visit, I had a wonderful experience.

This year he retired and today I had my first visit with the partner who took over the practice. He’s really nice and I totally trust him as the expert for my dental health.

However, after I finish writing this, I will begin a search for a new dentist.

Dr. New Guy is nice. He knows what he’s talking about. But here’s the problem…I have NO connection to him. I was simply handed down to him. Without a connection to him the five minutes I spent with him today was cordial, sterile, and frankly not inspiring enough for me to want to pay more and drive farther.

As I drove home today thinking about how I no longer had a reason to be a patient there, I realized my experience was a great lesson for my own business as well as others.

Staff changes happen all the time. It’s just how business works. But the way your client experiences that change will make or break whether or not they remain a client.

Here’s what I wish Dr. New Guy’s office would have done when my dentist retired and he took over. And it’s pretty simple.

  1. After receiving the letter letting me know my dentist was retiring, I wish I had received a note a few days later from Dr. New Guy letting me know he was looking forward to meeting me and being the protector of my dental health.
  2. A week after that note had been mailed I would have loved a very short and sweet email sequence helping me get to know Dr. New Guy. Does he have kids? Why did he become a dentist? What’s his coolest story about teeth?
  3. Lastly, I would have appreciated my chart being flagged as Dr. Old Guy’s patient so that on my first official visit with Dr. New Guy, he knows to properly introduce himself and welcome me into his care.

I imagine he probably did this in the beginning of the change over, but then as months go by it no longer feels necessary. Having a system that marked that I was a “new” patient to him would have allowed me to connect and build a foundation with him instead of just feeling like someone he inherited.

Staff changes are a part of business. I totally get it. But today I was reminded the importance of having a system that helps clients experience those changes in a positive and engaging way.

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