Understanding your patients, including their problems and needs, is the best way to provide an excellent patient experience and having an advantage over your competitors. Ensuring a patient who arrives in pain leaves relieved and comfortable should be the goal, but so should their overall in-office experience.
To view your office through the eyes of a patient can be helpful to identify areas of improvement and ensure a patient’s overall satisfaction with your dentistry. And while you might not be aware of them, here are the most common pain points patients face at dental practices:
Dental procedures can be expensive and often patients will only consider practices that offer patient financing and/or accept their dental insurance. When setting up your office, make sure to think of this and accept a wide range of insurances. This can increase your chances of adding new patients to your practice and retaining them.
Offering special deals, e.g. cosmetic dentistry discounts or sales for short periods of time can also help address your patients’ financial concerns when they are undecided about certain procedures. And finally, having a new type of treatment like Invisalign can increase patient demand and help boost your profitability.
2. Business Processes
Sub-optimal business processes can create a pain point for your patients. To address the basics, make sure your business hours are convenient and information to your practice is easily accessible in the form of a mobile-optimized website and accurate business listings on Google and other search engines.
Efficient dental practice management also requires planning ahead to ensure everything is in order, including office supplies and refreshments are stocked up, and some sort of entertainment is offered in your waiting area, e.g. free wifi, TV, or magazine subscriptions. Consider upgrading the software you use on office computers and investing in more advanced tools that provide you with valuable reports and information.
You can also improve your diagnostics, including caries detection and oral cancer screening, helping you to diagnose more accurately and faster, which allows for more time to communicate with your patient. If tech improvements aren’t currently in your budget, make sure to start setting aside a monthly amount.
Your productivity can benefit from streamlined processes. This way you can provide an excellent in-office experience and win new patients for your practice. When dental patients have positive dentistry experiences, including reduced wait time and having their concerns/questions/needs addressed quickly and efficiently, they feel welcome and cared for.
A daily organizational meeting in the morning to go through the day’s appointments can help ensure everything goes smoothly, patients will be seated promptly, and the whole team and staff are aligned. Encouraging each department to hold regular meetings as well can help identify and address bottlenecks or inefficiencies. Dedicating a small amount of time to planning and coordination can end up saving you a lot of time throughout the day.
Your patients should never feel inconvenienced and always be under the impression that they are getting the highest level of customer service. For this, make sure to:
- Always provide timely customer service at the front desk
- Answer common patient questions on your website
- Provide easy access to crucial patient information, e.g. clinic hours, background info, dentist biographies, etc.
Additionally, analyzing front desk phone calls and updating your staff’s training regularly can assure your practice offers the best patient service.
The Bottom Line
Since your main focus may be providing excellent dental services, you might not know which of these pain points your patients are experiencing. Ask your front desk which issues your patients may have shared with them. By encouraging patients to leave feedback on review forms they fill out, you can easily identify the most common problems.
The internet also has a wealth of information you can benefit from for free. By leveraging online resources, you can gain valuable insights into common patient pain points and how to efficiently tackle them.
Once you know which improvements your practice needs, address and solve these together with your team. Don’t forget to communicate upgrades to your prospects and patients by leveraging your various marketing channels. When you show your patients that their feedback helps improve your practice, you signal that their business is important to you, and you make it clear that your dentistry offers the best patient experience.