Why is this an issue?
Don’t take this personal, but most patients don’t enjoy going to the dentist. A lot of patients have bad childhood memories, knowing that you could potentially inflict pain on them, and the visit could be expensive. The goal is to have every patient walk out of your office with a smile on his or her face wanting to spread the news about how great his or her dentist is. So how do you do this knowing the odds are stacked against you? Here are 4 ways to improve the patient experience at your practice and ensure you will continue to grow your patient base.
How to make things better for the patients:
- Impress Customers – First impressions are everything! Make sure the person sitting at the front desk gives the patients a warm smile and a sincere welcome to your practice. The front desk person should focus on the details by using the patient’s name. This gesture may seem simple, but it is actually a big deal. Studies show by using someone’s name in a sentence, you validate their worth and let them know that you care about them. Engage in a conversation with them and take notes for future visits and conversations. Asking about their family and friends will show the practice cares, which will help ease anxiety.
- Introduce Everyone – Make sure the office manager, dental hygienist, dental assistant, doctor, and anyone else who will be working with the patient introduces themselves to the patients. Again, using the patient’s name will make him or her feel like they are seeing friends, and new patients will notice and sense a warm atmosphere.
- Body Language – Pay attention to your body language when interacting with your patients. Crossed arms, indirect eye contact and turned away shoulders while they are in the treatment chair are all signs that you don’t care about engaging with them. However, direct eye contact and speaking to them directly will show your patients that you care about engaging with them. This is also a binding moment for the patient/ physician to establish a humane trust.
- Practice the K.I.S.S. Method – Remember, different people process information differently. When speaking to your patients, speak clearly when explaining procedures to them, allowing them to process the information. Sometimes it’s helpful to leave the room for a few minutes to give them time to process the information and to think of any questions or concerns they might have. Overcomplicating the explanation by rambling on and on will only cause more anxiety.
Every practice can benefit from taking a few minutes to look at their patients’ own experience. Whether you have a little or a lot to work on, it’s worth taking the time to improve the patient experience. A little effort to improving your patient satisfaction could be the key to growing and improving your practice.