Ensuring patient satisfaction and investing their efforts into developing a more rewarding long-term relationship is a key effort for many dental providers and practices. There are several arenas in which dentists can work to increase patient satisfaction and ensure ongoing success and repeat business.
Having a booking policy that allows for the maximum number of patients to be seen without running significantly behind schedule is a must when it comes to patient retention. Have clear policies in place that delegate responsibility for showing up on time and completing paperwork in advance to the patients themselves, and in turn hold up your end of the bargain by keeping wait times in the reception area to a minimum. Offering flexible scheduling by keeping short hours on one weekend day or late one evening a week can also attract and keep busy patients who have trouble finding the time for dental care.
Sometimes schedules do fall behind, or patients must wait for an interval for medication to take effect before treatment or to wear off before returning to work or their home. Having a well-appointed office with an eye to patient comfort is a huge plus. Bottled water and other beverages, snacks, pillows and light blankets can help patients feel cared for and content while they are waiting, while an assortment of current magazines (not just dental industry publications), soft music, televisions and even wi-fi connected tablets add entertainment options to make waits feel less tedious.
Dental work can be expensive, and insurance has not kept up with the rising costs of modern dental treatments. Explaining the larger future costs of not having proper dental care and breaking down treatments into manageable bites can help patients feel that their specific situation is respected and taken into account, while encouraging them to be compliant with their dental care treatment plan. Having a variety of financial options to choose from and a fluid treatment plan that accommodates the needs of the patient can garner appreciation and respect.
There are many different types of marketing – from direct mail to brochures to even radio or television ads – but word of mouth is still the most effective. The reason for this is because potential patients are hearing not just what you offer and where you are located, but why they should choose your practice.
The “why” should be the driving force behind all of your marketing efforts. Every feature of your practice should be specifically explained in terms of how it is a plus for your patient. Have a new piece of equipment? Great – but patients won’t be that impressed by machine specs. Instead, explain how the latest technology means a less painful procedure or shorter time in the chair.
A practice that goes the extra mile for its patients will quickly gain a good reputation, and patients will be more likely to return for future treatment and checkups. Building these long term relationships is the best way to ensure the long term health of your practice.