How to Provide World Class Customer Service to Your Patients and Prospective Patients
If you’re looking to get a competitive advantage, you’ll need to provide World-class customer service to your patients and prospective patients. In urban areas, it seems like there is a dentist at every street corner. What can you do to set yourself apart from the pack? Of course, doing great dentistry is the first step but offering a world-class patient experience is the next important step. What can you do to wow your patients and prospective patients?
It starts with the phone call.
In most cases, your first point of contact is going to be over the phone. This is going to be your first impression, so it’s important to make a good one. Before you even start answering calls, decide who is going to be the voice of your practice. Whoever is answering your phone calls needs to be excellent with people, compassionate, and a good listener.
Once you’ve decided who will be answering calls, you’ll want to make sure calls are consistent. How will they handle questions? What should they do if they don’t have an answer? What information would you like to be given over the phone? How should concerns be handled? The more you can decide upfront, the less likely you are to run into any issues.
Additional tips for the initial phone call:
- Ask your patient/prospective patient their name and address them by it several times throughout the conversation. People love hearing their own name.
- Avoid the topic of money. Instead of jumping right to pricing, ask questions about their dental hygiene. Questions like, “are you experiencing any pain?” and “How long has your tooth been bothering you?” can help you gather more information while at the same time building rapport with clients.
- Provide quick responses. Nowadays, everyone wants things done quickly. If you can’t answer a phone call right away, it’s important that you return the call in a timely manner – or you may lose a prospective patient to someone else. The quicker the response time the better, but never make patients wait more than 24 hours for a return call.
- Be friendly and compassionate. When selecting a dentist, patients want to know that you genuinely care about their health and their comfort. So listen attentively to what they tell you and be compassionate to their needs or concerns.
The First Visit
Okay, so now you’ve wowed your patients over the phone and you’ve booked them in for an appointment – that’s great! But that doesn’t mean you have a long term commitment from them. Now you have to make the rest of their experience “wow” worthy too. And that starts the second that they walk into your office. Here are some tips for “wowing” your clients the second they walk in your door:
- Greet them with friendly customer service
Your receptionist is going to be the face of your office, so you want to make sure they are going to be someone who is friendly, even on their bad days.
- Greet them by their first name
Remember, people love hearing their name. And when you can remember your patients’ names, it shows them that you genuinely care about them as individuals. If you have a hard time remembering names, attach photos to their profiles and pull them up at the scheduled appointment time.
- Make your office inviting
Did you know that over 60% of people report facing some kind of dental anxiety? As dentists, it’s our job to help ease that anxiety the second they walk through the door – and that starts with a clean, inviting office space. This means:
- A clean and clutter free desk space
- Warm and inviting colors
- Calm and soothing music
- Clean, comfortable furniture
There are lots of things you can do to make your space more inviting, but cleanliness is key. If your client walks into a dirty, cluttered office space, they’re going to walk right back out. Put yourself in the position of your client. What would you want to see if you walked into a dental office?
- Give new patients a tour
Most dentist offices don’t give tours, but tours are a great way to familiarize yourself with the patient and for the patient to familiarize themselves with your office. Most patients experience some kind of anxiety when visiting the dentist, and a tour is a great way to help ease this. By offering tours you can show your patients some of your state-of-the-art equipment and familiarize them with your sanitization procedures, both of which can make your patient more comfortable.
The most difficult part of “wowing” any patient is the actual appointment. You can impress them as much as you want during the phone call and the initial meeting, but if the appointment doesn’t go well, you will lose them. Make sure their appointment goes smoothly by:
- Ensuring they are greeted promptly
Patients expect prompt service and that means getting them to and from their chairs to their appointment room quickly. Your goal should be to make the time between entrance to the time they are seen as short as possible. If you leave someone waiting too long, frustration and anxiety can take over, and you will lose your “wow” factor.
- Care and Communication
As we’ve already established, a lot of people experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. So the most important thing you can do is be attentive to that. Before starting any procedures, be sure to give an in-depth explanation of what you will be doing and what they should expect. During the procedure, check in with them often to ensure that they are comfortable and don’t feel any pain. A dentist who is attentive to their patients concerns and anxieties will be remembered.
- Give them a cue
At the beginning of any procedure, give your patient a hand command that they can use to let you know that they are uncomfortable, fearful, or in any type of pain. This will give them confidence that they still have control and will help to reduce anxieties associated with dental procedures.
- Incorporating painless injection techniques
- Offering blankets, music, and other entertainment to make patients feel comfortable
- Follow up call after long appointments
Finally, remember that it’s little things that matter the most. Show your patients that you genuinely care for them. Greeting your patients by name, remembering small things that they told you, being attentive to their anxieties – all of these things will go a very long way in creating the “Wow” factor that every dentist is after.