One of the best ways to make your dental practice stand out is to provide a unique patient experience. Competition in dentistry is tough, and businesses that want more patients must find ways to differentiate themselves. Whether optimizing your website or streamlining the appointment process, the little things impact how patients view your practice as a whole.
Thankfully, we’re here to help. This article will discuss a few key tips you can use to elevate the patient experience and improve overall satisfaction rates.
1. Prioritize patient convenience
As modern technology leaves imprints on every industry, dental practices must find ways to implement solutions that offer convenience to their patients. Gone are the days when patients wait a couple of days before they can set their appointments, as dental scheduling software has become more prevalent.
Such software tools let you take advantage of automation to set appointments quickly and accurately. Some even let patients book or reschedule appointments themselves, thus speeding up the process.
Chatbots are also redefining the patient experience by answering their queries promptly. These AI-assisted tools provide superior customer service through accessibility and ease of use. Patients can ask questions at any time of the day, and the chatbots will provide an accurate response each time.
2. Implement multiple payment options
One barrier that hinders the patient experience is the lack of flexible payment options. Nowadays, consumers prefer digital transactions due to their speed and simplicity. If you haven’t explored credit cards, debit cards, and ACH payments, you may want to consider them now.
There are a couple of benefits to offering multiple payment options. First is that you get paid faster. You boost operational efficiency and enhance cash flow within your dental practice, thus leading to better income predictability.
Second is that you conform to evolving consumer expectations. Removing manual billing processes saves both parties time and encourages on-time payments. Lastly, you address cash flow problems by minimizing the risk of debt.
ACH payments are particularly suited for dental practices because they’re faster, more secure, and have lower processing rates than credit/debit cards. Look to implement these options to satisfy the payment needs of your patients.
3. Revitalize your office environment
When was the last time you paid attention to the overall aesthetics of your dental practice? Does it look the same as it was ten years ago? If so, we suggest invigorating your office environment to improve the patient experience.
Most dental practices use a monotone color scheme, like whites and grays, as they reflect cleanliness and purity. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play with other color schemes. For example, you can accentuate your office look with subtle blue hues that invite feelings of tranquility. Or, you can use light brown colors associated with reliability and strength.
It would help if you also upgrade the furniture inside your dental practice. Of course, the functionality should always take precedence over looks, so invest in furniture that maximizes patient comfort.
Refreshing your interior space may require a bit of money, but the investment will pay off in the long run as you retain more patients in your dental practice.
4. Speed up your website
A fast-loading website is one of the hallmarks of a reliable business, as it allows users to easily find the information they need. Patients value easy access and communication, and you can reflect that through your website’s loading speeds.
You want to pay special attention to your website’s performance on mobile devices, as consumers use smartphones to find products/services. Online tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and WebPage Test will help optimize your website by suggesting recommendations and fixes.
Test your website and see how it feels from a consumer perspective. Are you satisfied with how fast the pages load? Is the user interface intuitive and easy to navigate? If the answers are no, it’s about time you make changes to provide a positive patient experience.
5. Address the elephant in the room
Roughly 36% of patients in the U.S. experience dentophobia (fear of going to the dentist), which prohibits them from getting the dental care they need. As a dentist, it’s your job to provide quality dental care and assure your patients that dental treatments aren’t as frightening (or painful) as they seem.
There are a couple of ways to address this. One is to offer pre-treatment sessions so your patients can get acquainted with the dental chair. Take time to explain the procedure and ensure the patient understands how each dental treatment works.
Another way to address the elephant in the room is to create informative blog posts. This strategy can help ease dental anxiety as it helps patients become more knowledgeable about the necessary treatments. Make sure the articles are well-researched and cite reputable sources to gain your patient’s trust.
Lastly, you want to develop good communication with your patients and assert yourself as a true professional. It’s about obtaining trust and establishing a healthy relationship that will make a huge difference in how patients perceive you as a dental practitioner.
6. Follow up with patients after a successful visit
Patient experience and patient satisfaction go hand in hand. If a patient feels good during the treatment but is unsatisfied with the result, the whole experience diminishes quickly. Always follow up with your patients after their treatment to know whether you’ve met their expectations.
You can achieve this by sharing a post-appointment survey where patients can share information about their recent visit. Ask for feedback about their appointment and request suggestions on improving patient experience. It’s a simple yet effective strategy that boosts patient satisfaction rates and helps you develop stronger relationships with patients.
7. Cut down the wait times
We get it. You want to book as many appointments as you can to generate more revenue for your practice. But overfilling your calendar can negatively affect the patient experience, most notably the long wait times. Imagine waiting 20-30 minutes after arriving at the clinic before seeing the dentist.
There are instances where patients will have to wait for a couple of minutes, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. To manage the perception of waiting times, offer amenities like free WiFi or television so patients can pass the time without getting bored.
Improving patient experience should be a goal for every dental practice, as it affects your ability to attract and retain patients. Re-evaluate your practice and identify any changes you can make. If you’re unsure how to approach the process, you can always run a survey to get a pulse on how patients feel when they visit your clinic.
Hopefully, these tips give you the initiative to make certain improvements that lead to a better patient experience.
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