Being remarkable is more than being noticed – to stand out you must truly make an impact on your patients. People expect quality service and treatment when they go to the dentist. Satisfied patients are just that – satisfied. They don’t rave about your practice, write online reviews or refer others.
If you want rave reviews and a lot of personal referrals, you need to create a noteworthy experience worth talking about and remembering. So how do you turn an ordinary patient experience into it something special? Do these five things today to create a lasting impression!
1. Greet your patients by name.
When you remember a person’s name, it shows that you’ve made an effort and care about them. Your patients will appreciate that they are not just another face. This will help make their appointment a personable experience.
If you are terrible at remembering names (I know I am), YAPI is here to help. Take a new patient’s photo using YAPI and it will appear by their name each time they come in as a visual reminder.
To take a photo with YAPI, simply hold your finger on the patient’s avatar. Select the “take photo” option, snap the picture and select “use photo.” To view the photo, hold your finger on the patient’s avatar again and select “reveal photo.” This photo will be automatically stored in your practice management software.
If a new patient does not yet have a photo , look at the schedule and you can usually piece together who is who. For instance, if there are two new patients on the schedule, one male and one female, you know it must be John when the male walks in.
2. Give new patients a tour of the office.
When was the last time you heard of someone getting a tour at the dentist office? Probably never. Showing new patients the ins and outs of the office will definitely set you apart. Plus, how cool would it be to check out the innovative equipment up close?
Many people are nervous when coming in for a dental appointment, especially on their first visit. Take them on a tour to get them familiar with the office and ease their nerves. Show off a little and explain the benefits of your high-tech equipment and your sterilization procedures. Introduce them to team members as you walk by.
Apply the 5 and 10 rule, a standard in the hospitality industry, to your practice:
- Within 10-feet of a guest, greet with a smile and eye contact.
- Within 5-feet of a guest, welcome with a friendly greeting.
This will not only get your patients familiar with your team and make them feel comfortable; it will create an amazing first impression and lay the foundation for a strong relationship.
YAPI’s Virtual Huddle can help you plan new patient tours at the start of the day. The huddle report will identify new patients by a crown alert next to their name. Decide who will give the tour and make a note. This way, everyone on the team will know there is a tour scheduled so that they can prepare to greet the patient by name. This will also give the team a heads up to keep the sterilization area tidy!
3. Don’t make them wait.
We know that dental offices are busy and sometimes that means patients are left waiting past their appointment time. Your patients are busy people too. If you are running late and simply acknowledge their inconvenience and apologize, many patients will understand (and relate).
Pay attention to your YAPI dashboard to help better navigate your day and see patients on time. If a patient’s avatar is blinking, you will know that it’s been a little too long of a wait and you should seat them right away. Offer a sincere apology and they will appreciate it.
Be attentive to your patients. Set expectations on when they will be seated. People tend to be more patient when they have a timeline. Otherwise, they can grow more frustrated by the minute thinking that the wait will go on forever. Be aware of their wait time and offer an apology when necessary.
You have probably experienced those patients who come in early and then sit in the reception area, continuously looking at their watch. When a patient checks into YAPI, an alert will pop up to show that they came in early. If this happens, let them know. You can say something like:
“Hi Mary, thank you for coming in a little early for your appointment. We will try to fit you in sooner so that you don’t have to wait.”
Some people might not even realize they are early. Be sure to thank them and offer a beverage or magazine to keep them occupied.
Don’t make any promises you can’t keep! Also, don’t seat a patient in the treatment room until you are ready for them. When they are taken into the room, they expect that the doctor will be in right away. The lonely wait in a dental chair with a bib on seems much longer than in a reception room with an attentive scheduling coordinator.
4. Be genuinely interested in your patients.
Strike a conversation and take an interest in your patients. Treat them like you would a friend. Use patient alerts and huddle notes to keep track of memorable information that a patient shares such as births, anniversaries, pet names, interesting facts and upcoming events or trips.
Briefly view these alerts before you greet your patients in either the huddle notes or on the dashboard. Patients will be impressed and touched that you remembered to ask about their recent trip to Italy or their daughter’s wedding. This kind of thoughtfulness is not anticipated at the dentist office. You will happily surprise a patient when you remember a detail they shared with you.
5. Make notes to remember the little things.
We can learn a lot about patients in our conversations with them. We may learn of a death or illness in the family, a cancer remission or promotion.
If they tell you about a significant event, send a handwritten card to congratulate them or to express your sorrow after they leave. It’s a good idea to keep an assortment of cards on hand for situations such as this. Sending a card is a meaningful gesture that will make a patient feel special.
Use YAPI’s “to-do” feature to keep track of upcoming events that patients tell you about and set a reminder for yourself to send a card. You can also use this feature to remind yourself to call patients back. No matter how busy you may be, always return phone calls! It might not be your top priority, but getting in touch with you might be at the top of your patient’s to-do list. Be respectful of your patients and make it a point to return every phone call that you receive.
Whether you do all of the above steps or choose your favorite tips to incorporate into your practice, know that little things go a long way in creating a remarkable practice. Give your patients the inspiration to become vocal advocates of your practice!