Over the last decade we have learned a lot about creating the ultimate patient experience to retain patients, moving away from the transactional approach to business, and towards a more emotional experience that allows practice staff to connect and engage with patients every step of the way.
Why it’s important to nurture your existing patients
Many dental and orthodontic practices focus their energy on lead generation and onboarding new patients. While this is great, spending time nurturing existing patients is just as important.
Patient retention may be more challenging, but it has huge rewards. After all, it’s much more expensive to onboard a new patient than it is to keep an existing one. Practice loyalty, increased word-of-mouth, positive reputation and the ability to grow a better understanding to service your patients are just some of the added benefits of perfecting the patient journey.
How to nurture existing clients
When taking a customer-centric approach, there’s one thing that should be on your mind – fine-tuning the patient journey.
Your patient’s experience with your practice is paramount and it’s essential to keep their attention throughout every interaction. To build brand loyalty your practice needs to create a positive patient experience.
4 practical tips to fine-tune the patient journey:
Make the best first impression
There are several touch points throughout the patient journey where your practice staff will interact with patients, but one of the most valuable points of interaction is at the beginning.
First impressions count and it’s essential for practices to create the best first impression, whether it’s over the phone or in person in the waiting room.
Here are a few tips on creating the best first impression.
- Ensure staff on the phone are enthusiastic, great at listening and make the caller their first priority. Move away from the traditional ‘transactional’ style approach, and instead focus on understanding the patient’s needs and listen to what they want.
- If your waiting room is where patients have their first point of contact with your practice, it’s where you have to make the best first impression. For this reason it’s important to hire an enthusiastic team who will represent your practice with professionalism, friendliness and respect.
- How your patients are welcomed will impact how they feel about their experience, so greet them by name and with enthusiasm. It’s important to create a warm, welcoming physical environment, making patient’s feel comfortable as they wait to see your dentist or orthodontist.
- Nurture new patients from the beginning by creating a welcome pack for them to get to know your practice. This could include directions, parking details, information about dental payment plans available and other information specific to your practice.
- If booking an appointment is the first point of contact a patient has with your practice, you’ll need to ensure you have an efficient appointment booking system to make the best first impression.
For more tips on how your practice can make a great first impression, see our previous blog article.
Use technology to support an individual approach
New technology is great at supporting how we interact with patients, but technology alone isn’t enough to create the ultimate patient journey. A patient journey completely reliant on technology lacks a personal approach and comes across dehumanised.
For example, an automated SMS reminder alone may not be enough, but combined with a phone call from your reception staff, where they will get a better understanding of the patient’s needs and wants, can make it feel more personal.
Always add value
As a practice owner or manager it’s important to look for ways your practice can add value. For instance, offering unique services or a dental payment plan solution that makes dental treatment more affordable.
The DentiCare Payment Plan solution has many benefits for patients, including no credit or finance checks, no interest, flexible payment options and no full, upfront payment. It’s a valuable way to add value, even after the patient has had their treatment.
Create a seamless customer experience with the right processes
There’s a fine balance between having systems in place that support staff in creating a great patient journey, and it appearing automated and robotic.
You need the right processes in place to support practice staff throughout the patient journey. These processes will guide staff and help create consistency for your patients no matter where they are in the patient journey.
Hopefully these tips will help you fine-tune the patient journey at your practice. If you’d like to know how your practice can offer the DentiCare Payment Plan solution, contact us today!