As with all enterprises, dental clinics should strive towards patient satisfaction. Not only would satisfied patients continue doing business with you, but they’re also much more likely to recommend your dental clinic with friends and relatives, which helps promote and market your clinic through word of mouth — arguably one of the most effective means of promoting a particular brand. Whereas the opposite would also be true; dissatisfied clients would end up telling others to stay away from your dental clinic. Luckily, there are many options you can take to improve the patient experience and, subsequently, patient satisfaction.
Although you could always invest in newer tools such or offer state-of-the-art services using digital dentistry equipment such as a 3D printer for orthodontics appliances, it’s best to start with more basic and less costly decisions you can make in your dental clinic’s operations to improve your patients’ experience.
Minimizing Patient Wait Time
Patients are more likely to leave your clinic unsatisfied if they have to wait more than 20 minutes. You must manage your appointments properly by optimizing your scheduling management by having a well-trained front desk staff/secretary, scheduling software, and effective communication between patients and the clinic. It’s also good to have done some tracking to see how long specific procedures go so you’d have better estimates when scheduling and prevent the next patient from waiting too long. It’s just as important to also let waiting patients know how long they’ll be waiting — patients are less likely to feel annoyed and impatient if they know how long their wait is going to be.
Make the Wait Time Feel Shorter
However, no matter how good and well-thought-out your appointment and scheduling system is, there will always be times where a certain procedure could take longer than usual, or if your patient arrives beyond their appointed time, so the procedure starts late. Which is why it’s important to make your waiting room as comfortable and as entertaining as possible — to make patients’ waiting time feel shorter. Place some magazines, put a TV with entertaining family-friendly movies or shows, or perhaps even put board games and toys for kids to play with. Providing fast and free Wifi is also integral, should they prefer accessing the internet to distract themselves.
Make Scheduling and Payment More Convenient
One of the usual problems in scheduling is that many clinics limit their appointments to calls and personal visits. If you want more patients and improve the quality of service, provide them with other means to schedule. You can allow scheduling through your website or perhaps even your social media account — just make sure that the staff you have assigned for scheduling appointments is also the one that manages your email, website, and social media to prevent issues and conflicts in appointment schedules. It’s also important to provide as many payment options as you can, from crash to credit card, check, and online payment. Go the extra mile to improve patient satisfaction by just making the entire process easier for them.
Many dental practitioners tell their patients to call whenever they have any issues after the procedure. However, to build a better customer relationship and patient experience, you should be more proactive. Contact your patient via call, text, or email a few days after the appointment to see if everything’s alright and if they’ve noticed any discomfort or have any inquiries. This also is a good way for you to schedule or remind the patient of any follow-up procedures.
It’s important that your dental clinic continuously strives towards better quality and better patient experience. Not only would it help build your brand and customer base, but people are more likely to pay more for high-quality service. After all, no matter how much you spend on marketing and advertising for your clinic to get more patients, at the end of the day, it’s quality and patient satisfaction that will keep your clinic alive and thriving.