To serve patients in your dental practice, it’s not enough to provide quality care, a convenient location, and affordable pricing. You also have to provide a great dental patient experience.
To compete with other offices, gain positive patient reviews, and build lasting patient loyalty, you need to offer experiences that make your clients come back to your practice and tell their friends and family to do the same.
For tips on how to create a dental patient customer experience that builds and sustains your client list, use the following best practices.
1. Guide patients to your office.
The dental patient experience starts from the minute a client walks on your property. Consider that the starting point of providing an elevated experience. Improve the welcoming process for your patients by making it easy to find your office. If you’re in a building with a lot of other offices, provide clear signage that helps guest locate your practice. Utilize digital wayfinding tools to welcome and guide patients.
2. Speed up the intake process.
When patients walk in your dental waiting room, make it easy for them to check-in with your staff and start their intake process. And, don’t make them wait. Instead of forcing clients to wait in line, utilize check-in kiosks and interactive displays that prompt clients to update their information, pay, and schedule their next appointment.
3. Make wait-times feel shorter.
One of the leading causes of a negative dental patient experience is making clients wait. A study found that 97% of healthcare patients are frustrated by long wait times at offices. While sometimes it is out of your control whether or not patients need to wait, you can control how clients feel about their wait. By placing digital signage and entertainment options in your waiting room, you can decrease perceived wait-times by up to 33%. When engaged and entertained, clients are happier and more relaxed even if the wait is the same amount of time.
4. Let patients know how long their wait will be.
Another way to make patients feel less annoyed about their wait is letting them know what to expect. When people know how long their wait is going to be, they are less frustrated by long wait-times. A study found that “80% of patients would be less frustrated if they knew how long the wait would be.” To improve dental patient experiences, let waiting clients know when to expect to be called in for their appointment. Display the list of patients and times on screens in the waiting room.
5. Display custom curated content.
Merely placing digital signage in your waiting room isn’t necessarily enough to engage patients and decrease their perceived wait-time. To successfully entertain clients and make the time pass more quickly, you need to broadcast content that connects with them. Don’t just turn on your waiting room TV. Instead, curate your content using custom videos and playlists that you know match the interests and demographics of your target customers.
6. Cut out annoying commercials from your TV displays.
Another way to make your waiting room content even better is by cutting out annoying commercials. Set up your screens with private label TV and custom programming that allows you to omit commercials. This process prevents patients from being frustrated with commercials and also helps you keep competitor ads and unsavory content out of your waiting room.
7. Provide free WiFi.
Patients typically arrive at a dental practice with their own distraction tool, their smartphone. While you don’t have to provide this type of entertainment, you can improve this experience for clients by offering free WiFi. Allow patients to connect to your free customer WiFi so they don’t have to drain their data while they wait. (You can also benefit by using WiFi marketing to connect with customers and better serve them in the future.)
8. Ease patient anxiety by creating a relaxing environment.
It’s no secret that most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist. It can even lead people to feel anxious or uneasy. To help your patients overcome these negative feelings, work to ease patient anxiety in your dental waiting room by providing a comfortable and relaxing environment. Offer cozy seating, soothing refreshments, and a calm atmosphere, and play the kind of music that improves mood and decreases anxiety.
9. Provide entertainment in the exam room.
As you look for ways to improve the dental patient experience, remember that it’s not all about the waiting room. Consider where else your patients spend time and look for ways to improve those settings as well. Pay extra attention to the exam room. Use the same distracting entertainment and soothing solutions you placed in your waiting room in the exam room to carry the positive experience throughout your entire office.
10. Help patients take better care of themselves.
A very important part of the dental patient experience happens after the patient leaves the office. It relates to how well the patient maintains their dental care. Part of your job as a dental provider is to help patients properly care for their teeth. You want to prevent them from having problems and encourage them to keep up healthy habits. One way to do that is by increasing patient engagement. By offering digital portals, resources, and reminders, you can help your patients get move involved with their health, which leads to better healthcare outcomes.
Improve the dental patient experience today.
Providing an excellent dental patient experience is extremely important to your practice. It’s the thing that helps you stand out from competitors, keeps clients coming back, and leads patients to recommend your office to their friends and family. Don’t let customer experience fall to the wayside. Give it the attention it deserves, and explore adding tools to your practice to improve patient experiences from top to bottom.
For more tips and ideas on how to improve patient experience, check out our free ebook.