At first to start with, let me tell the readers that the patient retention rate directly depends on how well someone can manage his/her dental clinic. Owning a dental practice is obviously not child’s play. Although you may be providing the patients with the best oral health care but you may easily forget the other important aspect of successfully running a clinic which is – an exceptional patient experience. It is a proven fact that the way a dentist manages his dental clinic leaves lasting impressions on the patients and significantly has an impact on the retention of the patients.
TIPS TO IMPROVE THE DENTIST TO PATIENT EXPERIENCE
1. WHAT MAKES YOUR PRACTICE UNIQUE?
To run a successful dental clinic, a dental practitioner should always advertise what unique services he can provide the patients with. So instead of relying on the traditional advertising channels the dentist should highlight what sets his practice apart. Uniquely customized dental postcards, brochures and social media content are a few ways of how a dentist can engage high quality patients and promote his business in the locality.
2. CREATE AN OFFICE CULTURE
After a dentist has figured out what sets his practice apart, its now time to discover his office culture. The office decorum and the office environment play a pretty important role in the office culture. The office culture is something which already exists; the dentist just needs to find it. It is present in the personality, leadership quality, values, styles, behaviors and how both the dentist as well as the staff members communicate among each other and with the patients. It is basically how a dentist runs the clinic.
To develop a good office culture, the dentist should call all the staff members for occasional meetings and should thoroughly discuss about the day to day operations as well as the long term goals of the clinic. Each employee should be working for the same objective – they will be more enthusiastic and more caring and hence the dental practice will grow.
3. EXPAND THE SERVICES PROVIDED
Various ways should be thought to expand the services provided to improve value, strengthen the competitive position and try to increase the interest of the patients. Maybe the clinic’s accessibility needs to be improved or sometimes the size of the clinic needs to be increased to expand the dental services. Sometimes new specialties should also be added to expand the services of the clinic.
4. FLEXIBLE FINANCIAL OPTIONS
A wide range of payment options should always be provided by the dentists so that the patients are more inclined to accept treatment. The convenient financial options should include debit, credit, personal cash, cheque and mobile wallets.
5. REMEMBER TO ENGAGE
For a dental practice to thrive, nothing is more important than being able to count on a set of particular patients who regularly visit the dental clinic and also would recommend the same to friends and family. This is because retaining the already existing patients is much cheaper than attracting new patients. But retaining the existing patients is not easy. It is much more than offering good service, giving them convenient timings and providing them with an easily accessible location. It’s about engaging them and reaching out to them in an emotional level. It’s also about earning their trust and creating good dentist-patients relationship that lasts.
6. IMPROVE PATIENT REFERRALS
A word of mouth referral is the best way to grow a dentist’s patient base. A trusted recommendation from a close friend, family or another doctor can easily be the only reason why patient chooses a particular dental office over thousands of others. But a dentist should always keep in mind that patients are busy with their own lives and often don’t think about growing the doctor’s practice. So they need to be encouraged to tell other people about the services that are being provided at the dental office.
7. UPGRADE THE SCHEDULING SYSTEM
A quality dental scheduling system should be used for making appointments. It creates a better patient flow, maximizes the productivity, as well as reduces stress for both the dentist as well as the patients.
8. MAKE SURE THAT THE STAFF IS TRAINED
A patient’s experience in the dental office obviously begins at their first point of contact which is most often the receptionist or any of the front desk team. Their behavior, professionalism and communication skills leave a lasting impression in the minds of the patients. It must be made sure that whoever is greeting the patient either in person or over phone should be trained for polite interaction. This increases the patient satisfaction undoubtedly.
Follow these tips and successfully run a dental practice and always remember that a dentist is for the patient, of the patient and by the patient.
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