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Ideas for providing great customer service to your patients

Imagining your patients as customers is a valuable mental exercise that can help you visualize and then improve the patient experience at your practice. Here are some strategies for keeping your “customers” happy.

Cut the wait

While patients may be accustomed to spending a little time in your waiting room, streamlining your system will be noticed and appreciated.

Ideas to shorten wait times include:

  • Collect patient information virtually before they arrive
  • Improve scheduling efficiency to better allot chair time to each day’s appointments
  • Utilize mobile check-in and queueing, allowing patients to “wait” in a cafe or running errands nearby
  • Send a text message to patients before they arrive if their wait time is projected to be longer than 20 minutes
  • Tighten your no-show/late rules to keep other patients on-time

When you can’t cut the wait, be sure to minimize patient frustration by being up front about how long you anticipate their wait time to be. And while you don’t want to rely on waiting room niceties to do all the heavy lifting, free Wi-Fi access plus snacks and beverages are good to have as backup.

Be transparent

Patients might have no idea what is causing their oral health problems and may not understand what that treatment will entail, whether it will cause discomfort, and what it will cost. By improving transparency at your practice, many of these worries may simply vanish:

  • Make fees and insurance coverage information clear and accessible
  • Offer itemized cost approval before treatment acceptance
  • Give patients treatment options to give them a feeling of control over their care
  • Be honest, even when you’ve got bad news to share

Personalize patient files

Drop a quick note or two into each patient’s file to personalize future interactions and eliminate the need for generic small talk. Maybe it’s about their kid’s soccer tournament or a vacation to Italy. It’s hard to recall details from all your patients when you haven’t seen them in months but it’s easy to add a quick cheat sheet to their file.

Brainstorm ideas with your team

You and your staff know your patients best. Get your whole team involved in the brainstorming process to come up with customer experience improvements that match the unique culture of your practice and patients.