5 best ways to enhance patient experience

May 21, 2012
Issue 5

If a patient leaves your dental office annoyed, that patient likely isn't coming back. Your patients want to feel safe and comfortable throughout their stay at your practice.

If a patient leaves your dental office annoyed, that patient likely isn't coming back. Your patients want to feel safe and comfortable throughout their stay at your practice.

According to Penny Limoli, dental consultant and owner of the Reed Limoli Group, these patients may not even tell you they’re irritated with you or one of your team members; they may smile and nod until they can finally leave, all the while thinking, “man, I need to find a new dentist.”

Of course this is the last thing you want to happen at the end of an appointment. The goal is for patients to walk out of your practice ready to sing your praises to family and friends, but that isn’t going to happen if you’re annoying patients during appointments.

It's also crucial to address your staff members who are stuck in a negative mindset and neglecting to create a friendly, positive environment. Old habits can be hindering the success of your practice by turning patients away.

Related Article: The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business

Dentistry, for the most part, is a relationship business that encompasses habits. As we challenge ourselves to employ different tactics, we will be able to increase our patient’s health, treatment completion and follow up regimens. We will be surrounded by a self-confident dental team. This in turn will lead to a dental office day that is professional, respectful, fun and profitable.

Here are 5 tips to improve the attitude of your practice:

1. Hire a Friendly Office Manager

The person sitting at the front desk will give patients the first impression of your entire office. Interview as many candidates as you can and choose the one who will make every patient feel comfortable and at home the moment they step in the door.

2. Introduce Everyone

Make sure the office manager, dental hygienist, dental assistant, and anyone who will be working with the patient, introduces themselves to the patients. For returning patients, ensure every staff member greets patients by name. The patients will feel like they are seeing a friend, and new patients will notice and sense the warm atmosphere.

3. Make Gentle Contact with Patients

Give them a handshake and let that be your first contact with them, even better if they are still in the waiting room. This first friendly gesture makes them feel more at ease once you are clinically touching them in the dentist’s chair. Also, as you start examining them, be slow and confident in your movements so patients feel you are being gentle.

4. Give Patients Control

Patients many times feel like they have no control when they are with their dentist or dental hygienist. Before starting the exam, sit with your patients, without your mask and gloves, and chat with them. Ask how you can help them, if they have any dental fears, etc. Let them share any problems or issues so they can have a say in their dental work. Then explain in detail what you will be doing to help them, so they will be more understanding of the procedures you perform.

5. Details Matter

There are habits you or your staff may be doing that affect your patients negatively, such as eating food that leaves bad breath, or even standing with your arms crossed in an unfriendly manner. Even if you are the best dentist and have great personnel, these odors and appearances can give your patients distaste for being near you or your staff.

Always tell your staff and yourself to think how you would want to be treated as a patient and do the same for those who enter your hospitable office.

Source: DentalHeroes