Visiting the dentist may not be on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. As a practice owner or office manager, this is bad news for you. While you might not be able to convince your patients that dental visits are as enjoyable as a spa treatment, there is no need for these clients to feel anything less than comfortable when they walk in your office.
Making Patients Feel Comfortable Will Help Build Relationships
Although you probably won’t find anyone with visiting the dentist on their list of top three favorite things to do, you will definitely find several dental practices that are proactively promoted as “awesome” online. Whether this feedback is in Google reviews or on Facebook, it should be the goal of every practice. So what is it that takes a dental practice from tolerable to awesome? PATIENT EXPERIENCE.
Make the Right First Impression
We have all heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make the right first impression”, and this is as true in business as it is on a personal level. The first interaction that a patient has with your practice sets the tone of their entire experience. Make sure that you are communicating the right things!
Implement these strategies and you will immediately make your patients feel more at ease when they walk in the door.
Address Patients by Name
When your patients walk in the office, and someone who knows their name immediately greets them, these patients will feel like they are in a friendly, welcoming place. This is not a significant change you have to make in your practice, but it is instead a simple way to show that your practice cares. At the same time, be careful that you do this correctly. When you address someone by name, and you get the name wrong—you will make them feel uncomfortable and perhaps even as though they should not trust your practice. This is the last thing that you want. Giving your reception team the tools necessary to learn patient names and have them at the ready is the key to success.
Be an Authority
While the office staff may not be the ones completing dental procedures, it makes your patients feel at ease if these employees have a basic understanding of what is happening in the back room. Make sure that your office staff can answer basic questions and that they are willing to find out the answers to more difficult inquiries. Being an authority on your practice as a whole is important too. Being able to share a tidbit about the dental team and their expertise is an excellent way to ease the nerves of a patient.
Simplify the Check-in Process
Having a filling drilled or getting a root canal is stressful enough. Filling out a pile of paperwork and dealing with endless questions should not add stress to the ordeal. While there will always be certain “must do’s” when it comes to checking in for an appointment, do everything you can to make the process easier for your patients. They will appreciate that you make the process of checking in faster and smoother. When they are more at ease, everything goes better, and that benefits everyone!
Keeping track of exactly who your patients are and the services they receive is a big job—especially for large practices. That is why it is important to have a quality software solution on your side.
Making Patients Feel Comfortable in the Chair
The dental chair is not a place that most people aspire to be. If you can help your patients feel comfortable in the chair, you are winning. Here are some tips that will help your patient feel more comfortable in your chair:
Explain What You Are Doing
While something may seem very common place and straight forward to you, chances are that your patient has no idea what is going on. Explaining your process and what they can expect helps to avoid surprises and helps them feel comfortable. Remember, your patient did not go to dental school or hygiene school.
Remember Their Preferences
Remembering facts and preferences about your patients will help them to feel valued. Remember what kind of music they like and, whenever possible, have that music playing when the patient is in the chair. Remember the flavor of polish they prefer. Keeping track of these things makes your patient feel important and helps them understand that you have their best interests in mind.
Communicate With Your Patient
Let your patient know that they are allowed to communicate with you. Give them ways to let you know if they are feeling too much discomfort. Ask them how they are doing when they are in a position that they can respond. Being able to communicate how they are feeling will help a patient feel validated and it can also help you make sure they are not in extreme discomfort.
If your patient has a great first experience and feels comfortable in your chair, you are right on track to have a happy patient.
Make Payment Simple
You can be knocking it out of the park in the first two areas, and still have a patient leave unhappy if you don’t get the payment process right. Make the payment process as simple as possible. Here are some tips to make the payment process simple:
Patients who are upset about their dental bill typically stem from a place of dissonance, or a difference between what they were expecting and what actually happened. Be clear about the cost of a procedure before you perform it.
Require Payment at the Time of Service
It is always easier to collect payment at the time of service than to try to chase it down afterward. Not collecting at the time of service can lead to collection letters and calls which very rarely end up with a happy patient.
Weave is the ideal way to build patient relationships as it essentially makes your phone system (and your office staff) smarter! Watch a free demo to learn more and find out how Weave can help put YOUR patients at ease each and every time they visit the office.