Building a Patient-Centric Practice
Is your practice patient-centric? You probably answered with an emphatic “Yes!” But to be truly patient-centric, dentists must go above and beyond average patient care. To be successful and build a sustainable patient base, your practice must meet or exceed some basic requirements: Your staff must be friendly and warm; your office must be comfortable and inviting; and wait times must be reasonable. Patients have too many options today to settle for anything that doesn’t meet these fundamental expectations.
But that’s only the beginning. According to Dental Economics, 85% of dental patients will leave a practice if they believe customer service is lacking. All it takes is one bad experience with someone on your staff—or even a simple miscommunication—to lose a patient for life. That’s a steep price to pay.
Be sure to follow these tips for a patient-centric dental practice:
It starts with your staff
Each patient’s experience begins and ends with your staff. In a Miles and Associates survey of more than 1,000 dental practices, these are the four highest-ranked areas of importance in making employees feel valued at work:
- praise and appreciation
- belonging to a close-knit team
- responsibility and feeling like their voice matters in the practice
- salary and benefits
It’s critical that your practice retains excellent people who provide services consistently and reliably to your patients.
Spend a few minutes getting to know your patients on a personal level before you initiate treatment. Let them get to know you, too. Keep track of their interests and the achievements they share with you. These little things can make all the difference. Not only will patients keep coming back but those patients will be even more inclined to refer their family and friends to you.
Value their time
Your time may be valuable, but if a patient feels rushed or doesn't fully understand the treatment options, he or she may never come back. Take the time to educate patients. This will enhance your case acceptance and boost your bottom line.
In addition, clinical records should be completed quickly so your front-desk personnel can get patients out of your office and back to their lives in a timely manner.
Stay connected with a newsletter
A monthly patient newsletter is the ideal way for general dentists, pediatric dentists and periodontists to connect with their patient base. Newsletters show that you care, serve as a reminder to reactivate lapsed treatments, and offer special promotions and updates about your practice. But most of all, they keep you where you need to be with your patients—top of mind!
Dental specialists should also send a newsletter to referring providers.
Ask your patients for referrals!
If your practice is patient-centric, patients will want to send you referrals. Make sure to ask. The best time to ask is when a satisfied patient has completed treatment, or when a patient compliments you or a team member.
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