The patient experience is everything from how the staff answers the phone to how comfortable the furniture is. When you have a positive experience you are more than likely to share that experience with friends and family. It works the same with patients. With good experience comes an increase in referrals.
Positive patient experiences won't only bring in business, it will build trust in your team and increase case acceptance.
To start, communication is key to building strong relationships with patients. Each and every interaction with a patient should put their needs first. On the phone patients should be greeted with a personal greeting, patients should hear a smile through the phone. If our front office is confirming appointments, encourage staff to be polite and friendly while speaking slowly and clearly. See these phone calls as opportunities to connect with patients.
Making a point to use the patient’s name in the conversation goes a long way. It shows you care and attention to detail. Staff members should always be prepared to go above and beyond to make sure patients’ questions are heard and addressed. Complicated matters such as working with their insurance, appointment reminders, etc. No matter how insignificant it may be, if a patient voices a concern, address it with professionalism and honesty.
How office staff interact with patients is critical, but so is the visual impression of the office and team. It may seem minimal but having a dress code, uniforms, or logos for the practice can make an office look very put together. Staff should also remember to keep their work areas tidy and free from clutter. Ensure that areas where patients spend their time (waiting rooms, op rooms, or restrooms) are clean.
The atmosphere in your dental office should reflect your culture and your brand. Consider furniture and artwork that you're decorating with. They should tasteful, matching, and up to date. Consider having a spacious layout, the more spacious your waiting room is, the more relaxed your patients will be during their visit. They won't feel crammed into a small area with other people they don’t know. Be considerate of your patients' comfort, the more comfortable your patients are, the more enjoyable the experience will be for them.
The age old saying from Benjamin Franklin, "that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is finally setting in with the general population. In other words, it's easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. Nobody wants to get a filling, a crown, or a root canal, for that matter. Over time more patients are seeing the value in preventive options and being educated on how to maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. Rather than being in pain or spending time and money fixing the problem that could have been prevented. Educate your patients and offer them the best solutions to prevent these issues; show them how much their health means to you.
If you can provide happy patient experience, it will reflect in the way your patients interact with you and your team. Keeping them happy has to become a top priority if you want to build a loyal patient base while also attracting new patients. Every interaction is different, and patients experience your brand in different ways. While for some patients the best experience might be an easy resolution to an urgent issue, others may prefer a subtle acknowledgement of their continued patronage.
In the end…the comfort, care, and feelings of our patients should always be the top priority.