Odds are that you opened a dental office because you wanted to help other people. And now you have that opportunity through helping your patients.
How can you make their dental experience better for them?
If you have ever wondered that question, then we have some tips to be able to help both you out and your patients.
Offer The Ability To Make Appointments Online
If this past year has taught us anything, it is that everything is faster to be done online. With the occurrence of some practices branching out into Teledentistry, and others straying away from having to come into schedule your own dental appointment, or call.
With most dental practices being closed on the weekends, it is vital to the convenience of your patients to allow them to schedule online at their own convenience.
Allowing patients to set up their own appointments however far in advance works for them, allows your front desk office managers peace of mind.
It may seem overwhelming at first, because how do you keep track of patients creating their own appointments?
You can embrace the best of both worlds if you want. You can allow patients to schedule their own appointments up to three weeks in advance if that works best for your office, or, they can be seen sooner based on other cancellations if they go ahead and call.
Ultimately, some patients won’t be comfortable with always having to schedule everything online, and would prefer the more traditional option of calling the dental office or coming in in person. Using this hybrid style you would be able to accommodate both requests of these patients.
Have A TV In The Cleaning Room / Office
This does require some initial investment if you’re interested in making your patients' time while having their teeth cleaned much more comfortable.
There are some dental practices that attach TVs to swiveling arms that the patient can view at a convenient and comfortable angle when they’re laying down having their teeth cleaned.
Nothing is more uncomfortable for a patient than having to focus on the pain of getting their teeth cleaned, or trying to carry on a conversation with the dental hygienist all while not being able to speak accurately.
This may become aggravating for the patient themselves.
Having this entertainment factor for the patient, whom you could even give the remote to the TV during their stay, will allow the dental hygienist to focus on their work, and the patient to relax.
With a large portion of people disliking the dentist, out of the fear of pain, and other phobias, this is crucial for helping to relax your patients.
Explain How Your New Technology Works
Most people love seeing and understanding new technology. Luckily, at a dental office where technology is always improving itself, you have the opportunity to share that excitement.
No, we aren’t talking about a college lecture on how it works, or a certification course for them to go through, but a general explanation when it’s necessary to be used with the patient.
Explaining what the machine is doing, and how it is doing it in layman's terms, will lead to the patient having an, “Oh cool”, moment.
Of course, when deciding to proceed with this it is important to understand whether or not you feel like it is applicable with each patient.
For example, if a patient has come in and has been aggravated from the very beginning of their appointment, it might not be the best idea to explain to them how it works if you don’t think that they will care. Instead, focus on putting them at ease, and performing the best to your ability.
Is Your Office As Pain-Free As Possible?
Just as we spoke about previously, technology is always advancing. The dental industry’s technology is no different.
One of the single biggest factors that the patient judges a dental practice on is how much pain they experience during their visit. This may seem unfair due to having to perform an extensive cleaning is because of the patient's poor oral care is not the fault of the dental hygienist or dentist.
However, the patient will judge a dental practice on it nonetheless.
So if you want to retain your dental patients, is important to eliminate as much pain as possible during any of their visits. For more extreme cases where surgery is necessary, it may be wise to look into advancements in anesthesia, and anesthesia administering products.
There are practices now that use laser-based tools to help fight gum disease and assist in cleaning off teeth. With the correct training, these typically will cause less pain to the patient than standard dentistry tools. Implementing these, as well as possibly providing a television in the hygienist’s office for the patient to watch, would lead to that patient having an overall more pleasant experience.
Resulting in higher patient retention.
Is Your Staff Personable?
This may be a tough question to ask yourself, especially as a business owner that has grown close to their employees.
Is your staff truly personable and friendly?
They are going to be the first people that your patients with me, and the people that your patients will spend the most time with during their time at your office.
Are they welcoming and non-judgmental towards their patients?
Have you ever asked your patients to comment on their experience via a follow-up email, or survey hand it to them as they are leaving?
No matter how tightly-knit your dental practice is, it is always important to look for ways to improve your patients’ experience.
Although it may require some additional training for staff to help improve these interpersonal skills, it may be something worth investing in. If their lack of interpersonal skills is resulting in a loss of patients, loss of business, and ultimately loss of money, then we would highly suggest considering interpersonal skills training.
Do You Keep Your Patients Waiting Due To Being Understaffed, Or Callouts?
This is a big one. One of the biggest complaints patients across the healthcare industry have is having to wait an extended period of time, and having no idea how long that time will take despite having an appointment.
This can be longer in the dental industry if you as a business owner are making patients wait due to not having the staff to fill all of the appointments.
Luckily in this case there are many services that can help to alleviate and assist if you are short on staff and you need them quickly.
Princess Dental Staffing is one of the best options you can go with as a business owner to ensure that you are being matched up with individuals that are actively seeking to fill temp positions and permanent positions.