4 ways to create the best experience for your dental patients

A friend of mine recently asked on social media, “What’s wrong with companies these days? Do they not want my business?” You may have experienced this general lack of customer service yourself. It’s frustrating when companies treat you as if they couldn’t care less. That’s what makes superior customer service so valuable ― it sets a business apart from the many competitors who are too busy, too stressed or too oblivious to provide stellar assistance to their customers.

In your dental practice, you and your team should strive to become customer service role models ― not just in the oral care profession, but in your entire community. After all, patients are judging your office not only in comparison with other dental and medical practices, but also with all the stores, restaurants and other retail businesses that they encounter.

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Why excellent customer service is essential

Does it matter if your team treats patients better than the restaurant down the street or the local salon? Yes, because people notice the difference. Extraordinary service creates enthusiastic patients, and they’re the ones who will refer their family and friends to your office. Plus, satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to the practice and pay their accounts on time.

How to create the best patient experience

To stand out in patients’ minds for excellent customer service, do everything you can to exceed their expectations.

Implement a system. If you want your team to achieve WOW customer service, you need a system in place, with scripting, to make it happen. Team members who interact with patients should rehearse scripts so that they know exactly what to say and how to convey the value of doing business with you.

Project enthusiasm. Whether answering the phone, welcoming patients at the front desk or performing prophylaxis, team members should always exude friendliness. Patients love to be treated like old friends rather than an interruption in a busy day.

Ask for opinions. There are two ways to let patients know you care what they think: inquiring in person and surveying. When patients check out, a front desk team member should ask how everything went. Also, create a short patient survey that you either hand out or send out periodically. Be sure to immediately address any complaints to show that you’re listening.

Follow up. When a patient has had extensive treatment, the doctor or a team member should place a call later in the day to ask how that person is feeling. Be prepared with answers to common questions or concerns just in case. But the real objective is to let the patient know that the practice cares.

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In today’s tough economy, many patients are looking for reasons NOT to spend money visiting the dentist. By providing superior customer service, you can give them a reason to return sooner rather than later. Remember that patients don’t have the clinical knowledge to recognize superior dentistry. All they have to go on is how you make them feel.

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