What Patients Want: The Secrets to Running a People Practice
Focusing on patient satisfaction allows you to deliver outstanding customer service. Even if you aren’t known for your charm, the real trick to achieving true patient satisfaction simply this: Know what your patients want. And then give it to them.
Patients Want to Feel Important
Always greet your patients by name. Include personal information in each patient’s record so you can connect with him or her on a more intimate level. This makes your patients feel as if you are not only their dentist, but also a friend. This does two things; it makes your patients feel special and increases their loyalty to you and your practice.
Patients Want to be Entertained
Patients who have to sit in your waiting room for extended periods of time are not happy when you finally bring them in for treatment. Once a patient sits down in your waiting room, the clock begins ticking. Distraction through entertainment may keep the beasts at bay.
While magazines have been a staple in entertaining patients as they wait for treatment, additional entertainment options should be considered. By keeping your patients entertained, they will not be checking their watches every 2 minutes. Additionally, when you do call them back for treatment they will be in a better mood.
Have a patient friendly television program playing. Many practices accomplish this by turning on a food channel; another great option is a travel channel. If you plan to keep the volume low, remember to enable the closed caption setting on the television. Many patients are used to the ambient noise of the television, so this helps them feel at ease.
Offering your patients free WiFi while they are in your waiting room can also help them pass the time.
A Table or Two
One of the most difficult tasks for many patients is filling out the new patient or yearly paperwork. Having to hold the clipboard and lean down to write is uncomfortable and frustrating, especially for elderly and/or disabled patients. Forget the clipboards and make it easier for them (and you because their writing will probably be more legible) by placing a small, round table or two in your waiting room.
Keep the Kids Busy
Large and easy to clean toys that can be placed in a specific area can help keep little ones entertained. Avoid toys that will be a hazard to other patients because they are placed/dropped throughout the waiting room (blocks, hot wheels, etc.). Instead, invest in activity tables and cubes, while these are a bit pricey, they are usually sturdy and last for years.
Patients Want a Personal Touch
Take the Time to Answer Questions
Even on a busy day, spend adequate time with each patient and answer questions about their teeth and/or treatment. Now that your waiting room is more entertaining and your waiting patients are happier, accomplishing this may be easier than it was before because you may not feel as hurried.
Call Your Patients
If you perform a complicated procedure on one of your patients, remember to call the next day to see how he or she is feeling. You should always make this call yourself.
Remember Important Dates
Everyone has a birthday and your married patients have an anniversary that you should recognize. All you have to do is ask for the information on your intake forms. This recognition reinforces the idea that your patients are important to you and are much more than a mere number.
An appointment reminder helps you and your patients. It gives patients the opportunity to cancel so you can offer the opening to another patient. This can also give you the opportunity to help a patient who has an emergency dental issue.
Patients Want Payment Options
According to the National Survey from the Health Policy Institute of the American Dental Association Why Adults Forego Dental Care, 40 percent of adults don’t seek dental care due to the cost. Consider offering your patients a more convenient way to pay by creating your own payment plans or offering CareCredit.
Loyal Patients = A Growing Practice
When you and your staff show your patients genuine empathy and good communication, you make it clear that your patients are not just your livelihood. This can have a profound effect on the growth of your practice. You will quickly develop a patient base that is loyal, returns for recall appointments and accepts your recommendations. Most of all, these patients will refer their family and friends to your office; hence, growing your practice.
Weave offers software that syncs seamlessly with your current dental software. The innovative software is designed to help you communicate with your patients more effectively. With Weave, you can text, call and email your patients from one centralized system. You no longer need the services of your current phone company because Weave replaces it giving you unlimited lines, unlimited local calling and unlimited long distance. Weave’s Smart Lists automatically send your patients appointment reminders and birthday greetings. Furthermore, when a patient calls in, all his or her information pops up on the computer screen so your staff can answer the phone calling the patient by name. Schedule a Weave demo!