In business school, the mantra they pounded into my head was, “exceed your customers’ (patients’) expectations every single time.” It seems obvious and a no-brainer, but it is much easier said than done. Why? Because your patient’s expectations have drastically changed and will continue to change. Today’s dental patients are very different from patients even five or ten years ago. There are three core trends that are changing expectations of the dental patient.
- Technology and the Internet have made them more empowered, with “Dr. Google” right at their fingertips and instant access to referrals from their friends through social media.
- The dental landscape has changed and become more competitive, they now have many more options when it comes to their dental care.
- They are now paying more out-of-pocket in many instances, which means they are holding their dental provider much more accountable.
What does this all mean? It means dental practices have to work harder to meet these heightened and morphing expectations. In my experience, there are eight key things your team must do to meet and exceed their expectations every time.
- Respect their time. Never make them wait. This is more important than you may think. People are busy and aren’t willing to waste their precious time, and they will not refer you if you make them wait.
- Be on top of insurance. Know their insurance details so the team can provide an accurate estimate of their financial obligations when making their treatment choices.
- Keep an appealing, professional, and informative website.
- Treat every patient with kindness, empathy, and fairness, from the initial greeting at the front desk throughout the entire visit.
- Maintain a spotless, up-to-date office appearance.
- Invest in technology that will increase safety, comfort, and health of your patients.
- Offer choices in treatment with clear and easily understood explanations of the differences.
- Make it easy. Ensure everything about the appointment is convenient from the location and hours, to providing multiple payment options, to accepting on-line payments.
Today’s patients have a multitude of choices: from corporate dentistry, to boutique dentistry, to urgent care dentistry, to your office; all within a comfortable driving distance. How can you compete? Why will they choose your practice? They will choose and stay in your practice, as well as refer others, only if your practice exceeds their expectations. In today’s dental environment, if you are not meeting and exceeding dental patient expectations, the practice down the street probably will.Share