Building rapport over the phone
In most instances, the first point of contact with your patients will be over the phone. Remember, from the moment a patient calls, they begin to shape their perception of your practice, so it’s vital you make a great first impression. Even in the busiest practices, reception staff should always make the caller their first priority, because callers can tell when your attention is focused elsewhere. During the call, try and move away from the old-school transactional approach to appointment booking. Reception staff should ask questions regarding the patients needs and the problems they are experiencing. When this information is shared with the orthodontist/dentist, it will not only help with patient care, but also show the patient how well your practice communicates internally.
Offer a warm welcome to your practice
When onboarding new patients a welcome pack can go a long way in making a good first impression. A welcome pack can be digital or sent out in the mail. It could include information about your practice, payment options (including dental payment plans available), directions and parking details and information about your current COVID-19 regulations.
Connection at the front desk
Even in a world led by digital communication, there’s no substitute for good ol’ fashioned face-to-face communication.
Hiring the right reception team can make or break your first impression. Your team needs to own their roles and responsibilities, so it’s important that you hire the right people to represent your practice at the front desk. Other than over the phone, the patient experience begins at the front desk. For new clients, this first interaction on premises will shape their perception of your practice, and for existing patients, the front desk experience can let them know they are important to your business. A warm smile is the best way to greet patients, but it’s also fantastic to greet them by their name. This helps build rapport and will help put even the most nervous patient at ease and show them you truly appreciate that they chose your practice.
An efficient appointment book
The key to managing an efficient appointment book is to ensure your patients know how important their appointment is. Appointment confirmation can be made at a few key points before they are due to come into your practice.
- After booking an appointment over the phone – your receptionist can confirm the booking again at the end of the call. This will help clarify the date and time of the appointment to ensure there are no mix ups.
- An SMS or email to confirm the appointment – putting the appointment in writing can help minimise cancellations and remind patients of the date and time of their appointment.
- A phone call 2 days prior to the appointment – This is a great opportunity to confirm the appointment and ask the patients if they have any questions before they come in to see the orthodontist or dentist.
Offering an affordable payment plan solution can also increase treatment acceptance for those patients who can’t afford to pay for their next appointment upfront.
DentiCare’s payment plan solution has been specifically designed for orthodontic practices. We help you connect more patients with dental or orthodontic treatment, which allows you to spend more time on what matters most – patient care. We know that processing and managing payment plans can put extra pressure on administration staff. To remedy this, DentiCare manages all the payments, accounts, billing and will follow up all missed payments. We do the heavy lifting and you enjoy the benefits.
A solid team environment
The way your team works together can directly reflect how a patient experiences your practice. At each point in the patient journey it’s important for them to have a positive interaction and this vibe should resonate throughout your entire practice, from reception staff to the orthodontist or dentist. It only takes one team member that’s having a bad day to tarnish your patient’s experience. You can spot a happy team from a mile away, and it’s the same with a team that has underlying tension or conflict. There are many ways to build a solid team environment including training, team meetings, great communication and more. With these 5 tips it’s possible to shape your patient’s experience and ensure your practice is leaving the best first impression.