Marketing your dental practice is not merely a matter of what services you offer; it is also about how existing and potential patients perceive what you offer.
When you focus on this aspect, you will understand whether your practice is meeting the goals and objectives you desire. Any shortcomings will then be observed and if you find that you are missing out on growth opportunities, you have to initiate corrective action to ensure that your dental clinic meets the expectations of your patients. Generating goodwill and spreading brand awareness are crucial for any successful venture and your dental practice should not be an exception.
Here are a few strategies that, as a dentist, you can implement to increase patient experience and ensure that they have a positive impact on your practice.
Know What is Expected
Knowing what is expected of you by patients is crucial to begin with. Your priorities will be oral care of your patients but unfortunately, from their side, that might not always be on top of the list. Understanding their concerns and goals is essential for you. You have to make time over the year to discuss oral hygiene and care and smile goals with each of your patients. Only then will you be able to stitch together oral care routine for them as well as anticipate what cosmetic services they might need. Helping a patient to know what is required should form an integral part of your practice in addition to the hands-on work that you carry out.
However, you should be careful not to show that you are being too pushy and throwing a sales pitch for your services. It should be a counseling session on oral health and care.
Set a Theme
Once you have understood patients’ expectations, you have to set a theme for your clinic based on the specialization that you have opted for. Patients then will feel more at home in your clinic. An example will illustrate this point better. Suppose you are catering to cosmetic dentistry and a large percentage of patients are interested in it. The ambiance of your clinic should have a spa-like atmosphere with ample scope of pampering your patients. The emphasis will be on well-planned aesthetics instead of mere functionality with staid furniture and fittings.
On the other hand, if your practice is more of family dentistry, a fun and kid-friendly environment will help. The key is to anticipate patient expectation and plan accordingly.
Be Open About your Clinic
When people go out for dinner, it is the little experiences that count – chef visiting the table or a complimentary appetizer for instance. Word soon gets around about the service of the restaurant and it becomes a highly recommended establishment.
Your dental practice is no exception. Make further attempts to create a lasting impression. You can take first- time patients on a guided tour of the facilities to put them at ease, more so before complex procedures. Show them the dental care products that are used by you. If they are, for example, top of the line teeth whitening items from Active Smile Australia they will doubly be assured of the quality of services at your clinic. This experience will make patients less apprehensive about a dental procedure.
First Impressions Matter
Studies have shown that creating a positive first impression goes a long way toward enhancing the ultimate patient experience. Starting from the first phone call that sets up an appointment to the time patients step physically into your clinic every small thing counts. The friendliness of the reception staff and the comfort of your waiting hall will significantly help in putting them at ease. This feeling at the beginning will set the stage for how firmly they can establish a relationship with you and your team pre and post treatment. A satisfied patient is your best marketing agent, and you can be assured of referrals through word of mouth compliments. In fact, the first phone call is crucial and you should have the right people who can make use of it as a powerful marketing tool.
Have a Good Team Around You
A dentist is not a one-person army and has to depend on a team of dedicated individuals to enhance the patient experience. Build a team that can enrich patient interactions as well as improves the brand value of your clinic. The rule of thumb is that a positive employee experience is closely and intricately linked to patient experience. Create an environment that is easy for the staff to work in, right from the receptionist to your fellow dentists. Have a system of rewards in place that will actively support their inclination to give off their best.
Educate your Patients
Most people today are tech-savvy and technologically driven and hence would love to know about the high-tech equipment in your clinic. You might have all the latest intraoral cameras, digital X-rays and CEREC restorations but it all comes to naught if the patients are not conscious of it. You can make patients aware of the technology that you are using, either when they are in your clinic or through detailed posts on your website.
By this effort of educating your patients, you will be sending out a message that all the latest cosmetic and restorative dental care services provided by you are of superior quality and that they are getting the best treatments that technology has to offer. Since you have invested time and money in installing these devices, you might as well make it work for you.
Have Patient-Centric Processes
One of the primary factors that should always be on your mind is that you should provide your patients with a trouble-free experience. For this to happen, you have to streamline your patient interaction processes. Much before they visit your clinic, they should be aware of all the formalities. Do they have to bring their ID or their insurance card on their first visit? Do they have to follow any dietary or medicinal restrictions before they visit? Your backup team should be able to handle these aspects of patient care optimally.
These are some of the ways that you can follow to increase patient experience in your dental practice in Australia.