Let’s face it, healthcare services have some of the worst customer service out there and dental practices are no exception. The problem is that most healthcare services don’t need to have great customer service, because patients will schedule appointments regardless of how they are treated. Healthcare is not a small issue, it is an important concern that patients desperately need, and peace of mind is something most people are willing to exchange pain for. But organizations operating on the belief that their customers do not matter risk losing out on more business they could be gaining.
A dental practice(dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, etc.) that cares for its customers will always be more successful, not only because people will show up with an eager smile but also through word of mouth. Customers that are happy with their experience will talk about it to close friends and family, which ends up bringing in more customers. Is it worth it to drive a few extra miles for exceptional service, especially when it concerns your health? I think so, and so should your organization. Being a practice that genuinely cares about its customers is the best marketing technique to utilize, and it’s not the most difficult thing to do.
Here are a few ideas you can use to make your dental practice remarkable.
First and foremost, this should be your primary concern. If you want patients to care about your service, you need to care about your patients. It’s a win-win for both sides. You gain more customers through word of mouth and people leave happy knowing they were treated with kindness and respect. The first thing you can evaluate is how staff members treat patients. Do they:
- Care and respect patients?
- Talk to and engage with them?
- Do everything they can to make them feel comfortable and safe?
- Have a positive attitude that helps patients feel at ease?
The goal of the entire office should be to show support and care towards its customers, and a staff that understands what customers like and dislike will help to increase perceptions of your practice.
Eliminate Dental Fears
Probably the biggest reason why people choose not to receive dental care is because of fears. It is estimated that as much as 75% of US adults experience some degree of dental fear, ranging anywhere from mild to severe. It is also estimated that 5 to 10 percent of US adults have dental phobia, in which they avoid dental treatment at all costs. It’s a striking statistic and creates a huge gap in your dental business if you choose to avoid it.
Many people that have dental fears end up getting treatment only when there is an emergency that requires immediate attention, and will avoid dental care as much as possible. When conditions get worse, this usually requires invasive treatment that only ends up reinforcing their dental fears. What your practice can do to eliminate customers’ anxieties is create a positive experience for them. You can accomplish this by creating an environment that encourages oral health awareness, with a staff that cares for their patients and an office that makes the procedure fun. Customers that don’t have anything to fear when visiting the dentist will often come back again and again.
This is something many dental practices fail to incorporate into their business model. Social engagement can play a huge role in how your customers perceive your organization and can separate your practice from the rest. By connecting with your customers online, you effectively demonstrate that they matter even outside your office doors, and that their satisfaction and health is important. Make a Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ page, and encourage your customers to follow them online. Your updates can be simple but genuine, such as friendly reminders, useful articles that encourages oral health, and quick tips that your customers can take advantage of. For example, you can update your pages right before Halloween asking to refrain from eating too much candy, or reminding to floss daily. It’s simple things like this that shows your customers that your practice has real people working behind it that truly cares.
Go the Extra Mile
I went to get a dental checkup at a new office recently, and upon finishing my treatment I received a gift from them, which was a convenient travel pouch that came with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some dental floss. It was a small gift, but it really made my whole experience a lot better than I expected. What was otherwise an ordinary dental checkup was made ten times better with just a little thought. It doesn’t have to be free gifts, but going the extra mile can really make a difference in creating a candid reputation for your business. Customers love the feeling of receiving something extra, and whether it is exceptional customer service or sending a letter out occasionally, efforts like these are remembered the most.
Take Advantage of Feedback
What better way to improve how you do business then by asking your patients what they think. You can learn a lot about your customers this way and it’s easy to do. You can use surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires, but you can also ask customers firsthand for feedback after completing treatment. This simple act shows customers that you value their opinions and your practice can then use the feedback to better itself. Take time to regularly review feedback, identifying areas for improvement and making changes in your business.
When it comes down to it, exceptional customer service is what separates remarkable businesses from ordinary ones. Whether it is consistently checking in with your patients or putting in the extra effort to make them happy, a remarkable business constantly leaves customers satisfied with the experience from beginning to end. Your dental practice might be a healthcare service, but in the end it is still a business with customers that matter.