Put yourself in their shoes, I’m a new patient nervously headed to your dental office for the very first time. My palms are kinda sweaty and my mind is racing with terrible scenarios involving drills, a huge bill, and a lot of pain. Will I leave dazzled or disgusted?
If your team isn’t providing a new dental patient experience that’s truly genuine (and outstanding), there’s a good chance my anxiety and my doubts about your office are going get the best of me. Unfortunately, that means I’m gone – along with any potential revenue and referrals. And, chances are, I’m probably headed to your closest competitor.
Keep patients coming back by perfecting these 3 things for a new patient experience that always exceeds expectations. How do you, your team, and your office compare?
You know when a new patient is coming in, so ease their anxiety with a friendly greeting (always by name) and immediately make them feel at home. Make it a point to talk about your new patient appointments during your daily morning huddle so everyone knows when they’ll arrive. If a patient is waiting, (hopefully not too long) consider what they’re experiencing – the sights, the sounds, and, yes, the smells.
- Is your office dingy and dusty?
- Does the music make them want to crawl out of their skin?
- Will they still be able to smell what your receptionist had for lunch Monday on Tuesday afternoon?
Appearance really is everything – that’s why it’s #1 on this list. It’s the first impression that makes or breaks how someone rates your new dental patient experience.
Let’s face it: A new patient is judging you and they should be. They want to know they’ve made the best choice for their dental health needs (and maybe for their family too.) This is where little details and extra effort matter.
According to a recent study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, this is what patients were looking for when considering a new office:
- 22% of dental patients surveyed looked at a dentist’s competence
- 20% relied on a recommendation
- 19% focused on the quality of the available services
Patients also mentioned patience and respect as big motivators. Spend some one-on-one time getting to know them better with a conversation and quick office tour. When you come across your latest, greatest piece of technology tell them what it does (in layman’s terms) and how it can help them personally.
(P.S. – Results from another study show patients really care as much as you do about your cool technology, but you need to clearly explain its many benefits.)
Step three is about making the dental patient experience extremely easy – both externally and internally.
- Is your location easily accessible with visible signage and ample parking?
- Does your receptionist walk a new patient through exactly what they’ll need to bring with them to their appointment?
- Do you have an effective on-hold script to highlight your services and specialties if they’re left waiting?
- Do you have time-saving new patient forms on your website?
It’s also a good idea to have a quiet, private place where you and/or a friendly financial coordinator can discuss payment information. Michelle Corbo, practice analyst for the California Dental Association, also recommends having a team member reach out to a new patient prior to their first appointment to go over any questions or concerns that could add to any growing anxiety. “Ideally, the same person who the patient spoke with on the introductory call to the practice would conduct this confirmation call.”
So, does your practice have what it takes to achieve new patient perfection? Take our telling White Glove Test.
(Feel free to download and share it with your pickiest of patients – you know who they are. Their critiques are crucial to your success.)