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Friday, March 14, 2014

For Dental Providers: Five ways to delight your patients and grow yourpractice

Let’s face it: a patient’s satisfaction will have a huge impact on the overall health of your practice. Happy patients will stay loyal and will refer their friends and family. Read on to see how you can create the best experience for your patients and have them coming back for years to come!

  1. Warm welcome! Greet patients warmly when they arrive in your waiting room, and offer them water or other refreshments. Patients want to feel comfortable. Perhaps you can invest in some team name tags to encourage friendly interaction and familiarity, and consider improving the comfort level of your waiting room by providing reading material, playing soft music, and comfortable, clean furniture.

  2. We’re all busy. Acknowledge the value of patients’ time and explain any delays honestly and promptly. A 2009 study revealed that the fewer minutes a patient waits, the higher overall satisfaction they report – with patients waiting 0-5 minutes reporting a 93% satisfaction rate. Most patients wait an average of 24 minutes to see their healthcare provider, creating an uphill battle in the patient satisfaction game. Where do you stand on this significant driver of patient satisfaction, and what can you do to reduce patient wait time?

  3. Happy staff means happy patients. Regularly check in with staff regarding their own concerns, and set aside time to discuss patient feedback and the best ways to deal with unhappy patients. Patients who feel heard by their dentist’s office, even when they have a complaint, will respond more positively and are more likely to return.

  4. How are you feeling? Follow up with patients after their appointment to check in on how their experience was, how they are feeling, and to address any questions they may have about their treatment plan or medication. Thank them for visiting your office. A simple acknowledgement of their loyalty can go a long way!

  5. Living in a wired world. Stay competitive by adopting current technology to improve patients’ experience including convenient online scheduling, email communications, and text message reminders. 74% of patients cite immediate appointment availability as an important factor in their choice of a new dentist, and you can keep up to speed with these demands by offering same-day or next-day appointments online.