Working in a dental practice—no matter the role—can feel kind of like putting on a show.
On one hand, you can’t perform procedures and improve smiles unless everything is running smoothly backstage. On the other hand, you need to be smiling front-and-center and act amiably no matter how stressed you might be under the skin.
Achieving excellent customer service is no easy feat. For dental practices, it means equipping your team members with the tools and skills to give customers a five-star experience every visit. So, here are some essential methods to keep patients coming back to your practice.
Upgrade Dental Phones
First things first, make sure you're setting yourself up for success. Just because your phones “work,” doesn't mean they're giving you all the value and convenience you deserve. Your phone system should be able to connect you with your patients in a way that sets conversations up for smooth sailing.
That's why we love our partner, Mango Voice. With them, you’ll get many high-value features and integrations to bolster the patient experience. For example, live call analytics will mean no patient is forced to wait around and grow restless. Their call recordings are a staple for any good customer service dynamic. The list goes on. To put the cherry on top, you can often even save hundreds of dollars a month to switch.
… But Think Outside the “Phonebooth”
Answering calls and following up on voicemails is super important but it’s not the whole picture. Patients have busy and differing schedules just like you, and many will need to reach out with questions and comments outside of your regular business hours. Keep these customers happy (and away from neighboring practices) by devoting time to communication.
This can include providing customers with an address to email you at their convenience. An active social media presence can also make patients feel seen and heard. Also, take advantage of the direct messaging features on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to respond to prospective patients as well as reply to comments. Engage with Google Reviews that patients leave for your practice—both good and bad. Connecting with patients in a timely manner on all fronts shows your dedication to being of service to them.
Give Patients VIP Status
As dental professionals, walking into the practice each day feels like second nature. However, it’s important to remember that for some patients—including adults—a dental office is the last place they’d like to be. Even if that biannual cleaning doesn’t make them uneasy, every patient deserves to feel at home behind your practice’s doors.
You can transform your practice into a welcoming space starting with small steps. Do you or your team members enjoy coffee throughout the day? Why not offer a cup to guests as they wait. Invest in a TV for your waiting area or a supply of current magazines to counter any nerves and help the time pass.
As important as it is to stock your lobby with the right amenities, the right people tie it all together. Creating a sense of comfort and familiarity in your practice lies in how you and your team members speak to patients. Remember, even after a long day where your chairs seem to always be full, each patient is more than just a number. Make sure you’re treating your last patient of the day with just as much courtesy and kindness as your first. When you accommodate your patients like VIP guests, you’re sure to keep their business and invite even more.
Resolve Payment Issues
Good customer service includes perks in the lobby and polite team members, but the best service goes beyond this. In our profession, we perform many run-of-the-mill procedures, but sometimes, our services have the power to transform patients’ lives.
In some situations, patients need care but financial difficulties stand in the way. A sensitive approach to payment issues is essential to bridging the gap between patients and your services, as well as keeping these patients comfortable and happy.
Outsourcing insurance management is one step that may reduce complications from the get-go. Another is offering affordable alternatives. The list goes on, and it’s a topic for another day. But payment is usually the primary cause for a patient getting riled up or not pursuing treatment.
What Works for You?
Whether you're a front desk member, a hygenist, or a practice owner, you've surely learned some tips and tricks for interacting with patients. So, what works for you? Leave your methods in the comments below!
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