When it comes to searching for a dentist, patients are spoiled for choice. Being able to effortlessly scroll through Google reviews and sort practices by location can be both a blessing and a curse. Increased exposure is great, but competition can make it difficult to gain new, returning patients. Here are a few simple ways that you can improve your patient’s experience to gain new customers, and ensure that existing ones return.
It is universally recognised that when you gain a new patient, you want to hold onto them. Effective patient onboarding is critical to gaining repeat customers and positive referrals. This means supplying brochures, guides and clear, concise information on how your practice works. A ‘welcome package’ is always a good idea for new patients, outlining all of the essential information they need for booking follow-up appointments.
Including something a little special will also go a long way in showing that your practice is dedicated to excellent customer service and truly values their patients. Consider offering 10% off their next visit, or a free tube of toothpaste from a partner company. Maybe even partner with a local Hairdresser or Beautician to offer discounts for referred customers. People who take care of their hair and skin also want great looking teeth. It’s the little things that can really put a smile on their faces!
Even though we all like to think that we don’t judge a book by its cover, visuals can be very important when it comes to patient welfare. It will be difficult, but be objective and try seeing your waiting room through the eyes of a patient. Is it warm and welcoming? Clean and comfortable? If you were a patient, would it fill you with confidence for what happens on the other side? Let’s face it, many people are pretty nervous about going to the dentist, so you want them to feel at ease as soon as they step through the door.
This can be achieved by steering away from that ‘sterile’ hospital feel. Now we aren’t suggesting that you hang rugs from the walls and deck the room with stuffed toys. But having a distinctly personal feel about the place will make your patients more comfortable when waiting for their appointment. Try hanging a few pictures, painting the walls in a soothing colour, and having lounges with spongy cushions and up-to-date reading material.
Comfortable and reliable equipment
Finding the right equipment is essential not only for the safety of your patients but also their comfort. Take the dental chair, for instance. It’s an essential piece of equipment in your practice as this is where your patient will be spending the majority of their time during their visit. Needless to say, it’s pretty important that it’s comfortable to sit in. Investing in the most reliable, accredited brands in the industry will ensure that you’re only using the best possible equipment.
Furthermore, it’s important that your practice can always function despite equipment failure. Hiring equipment is a sure-fire way to ensure that if any of your tools or devices stop working, you can quickly secure back-ups while your equipment is being fixed. Re-scheduling patient appointments due to broken equipment is a certain way to lose customers. Hire your equipment so that your practice is continually running smoothly.
Follow-up calls and emails
Prompt, efficient service is the underpinning of any successful business. Courtesy reminders, follow up calls and emails notifying patients of specials or new services will show your customers that you have their best interests at heart. Be courteous, warm and quick over the phone, and don’t badger your patients every second day with spam in their mailboxes. Knowing how to balance customer service so that it’s helpful, but not irritating, is a fine art that rewards with returning patients.
Innovative and advanced technology
Dentistry is a field that is constantly evolving. When it comes to new technology, your practice needs to have its finger on the pulse of the latest innovations. Investing in the newest equipment will show your patients that yours is a practice that is not stuck in the procedures of yesteryear. Buying this equipment immediately can seem expensive, however, you don’t have to upgrade everything at once. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s also a smart idea to check out our specials and catalogue pages – we frequently have some fantastic deals on!