How to Make Patients Feel More Welcome in Your Dental Office
In a business where referrals and word-of-mouth mean everything, going the extra mile to help patients feel at ease in your office is an investment that pays real dividends. Nobody looks forward to a visit to the dentist, but you should at least make the experience as pleasant as possible.
Detailed Parking Instructions
If your practice is in a shared medical complex, finding a parking space near your door might be difficult for a first time visitor. Whether it’s on your website, via email or over the phone, providing parking tips prevents patients from walking through the door already exasperated.
Remember Little Details
You deal with a lot of patients. We know this. But if you expect them to remember (and recommend) you then it’s reasonable for them to expect the same in return.
It’s not important to remember every last detail of every patient’s life, but making a mental note that their son plays soccer or that they’re planning a European vacation goes a long way when you ask about these topics unprompted in the future.
Encourage your front end staff to do the same!
Make it Easier for Patients to Pay Their Bill
These days it’s possible to pay for just about anything online or with your smartphone. So when a patient finds out that they’ve got to write a check or call in their credit card number they’re probably going to wonder what else in your practice is out of date!
If your patients can’t pay through your website or via a branded app, you need to get this solution set up immediately.
Consider Setting Up a Membership Discount Club
It might sound crazy at first, but think about it. How many of your patients don’t have dental insurance and are paying out of pocket for their dental care?
Don’t you think these folks would be happy to trade loyalty for discounts and other benefits?
Membership programs are on the rise in the dental industry. If you’re the only practice in your area with such a program, this can truly differentiate your office in the local market.
Free WiFi in the Waiting Room
It’s simple to do and easily pays for itself by cutting back on magazine subscriptions for the office.
Make Sure Your Scheduling Protocols are Optimized
Free WiFi or not, patients are busy and nobody likes waiting. Of course, you don’t want your chair empty during prime hours, but should you notice that wait times are getting longer and longer, don’t shrug your shoulders and do nothing about it. Analyze your scheduling system and find ways to make it better.
Treat Patients First Like Visitors and Then Like Customers
Nothing makes a patient feel like a “number” more than walking through the door and immediately having a clipboard shoved in their face.
Take a moment to point out where the coat rack, coffee station and bookshelf are—then you can get them started on their paperwork.
Pro tip: People these days are accustomed to quality coffee. Don’t disappoint.
Never tell a patient that the dentist will see them soon if it’s going to be a 20-30 minute wait—or longer. Train your staff to be honest and upfront about what a patient can expect from their time at your office that day.
Set realistic expectations that match reality and patients will appreciate your candor.