Recently I wrote about the importance of managing the ARRIVAL processes for the patients visiting our dental practice, and how the management of these processes, or the failure to optimally manage these processes, can have an effect on whether or not a patient continues as a patient of our practice.
As I have said, if your practice is falling down on any of the intermediary steps between what’s getting people to call your office and when they learn about what treatment they actually need to be getting done, it really doesn’t matter how great your case presentation skills are, nor how schmick your marketing is.
Looking after the needs of the arriving patient, and exceeding their expectations can be a real game breaker for your dental practice.
Here’s what you should be doing when the patient arrives at your practice:
When a patient arrives inside our practice there are certain parameters that need to be met.
The practice needs to:
- Identify the arriving patient
- Greet the arriving patient
- Let them know the time frame for their visit [is the dental provider running on time?]
- Direct them to a seat in the client lounge area
But what if we could do better?
What if our team members were:
- Trained to Beat the GreetTM?What if our staff actively tried and succeeded in greeting each arriving patient by name before the patient had time to announce who they were?
- Ready in anticipation?How many times do patients walk in to your dental practice and are made to feel as if they are an interruption to someone there’s “busy” schedule?
- To have the arriving patient’s favourite beverage READY for them on arrival?
- Letting every arriving patient know how great it was to see them, and how we had been looking forward ALL DAY to their visit?
- Thanking every arriving patient sincerely for being on time, or better still, early, for their appointment?
How’s Your Hang TimeTM?
Hang TimeTM is the time spent by the patient between their arrival to the dental practice and their transfer from the client lounge down to the treatment room.
I’d rather not call it WAITING TIME as I’d like to think of it as being peaceful and serene, like hanging up in the air on a hang glider, soaring majestically without a care.
The way that we attend to our patients during this time [or that we FAIL TO attend to them] can seriously affect their state of mind and have bearing on whether or not they accept or decline any treatment we propose.
What we want to avoid during this time is “PARKING” or neglecting or ignoring the patient to such an extent that they decide [before meeting the dentist] that our dental practice IS NOT where they will be getting their dental treatment done.
Sometimes it is the LACK OF attention to our patients or our indifference or their perception of our indifference towards them that creates these feelings and opinions.
That being said, the cost of avoiding these negligent or neglectful scenarios is far less than the ongoing effects of allowing the feelings of neglect to take root.
So what can we do during Hang TimeTM?
Our practice could:
- Have pleasant music being played at an appropriate volume
- Maybe have their favourite music playing?
- Offer a range of beverages and refreshments
- Maybe even have their beverage of choice ready for them to enjoy?
- Have suitable and appropriate [current] reading materials available
- Have clean and well-presented furnishings and fixtures.
- Have people employed in a concierge style role, visiting with patients, sitting and discussing their concerns, or even themselves.
- Discuss any recent events or occurrences particularly mentioned previously by the patient?
- Offer secure wi-fi access
- Offer them warm or cold towels, if needed, prior to their treatment
- Be mindful of the time and offer apologies and also explanations for any time delays.
- Congratulate them on being a patient of the practice for however many years?
Managing the arrival processes at your dental practice in a way that makes your practice stand out from your competitors is a sure fire way to build a bevvy of loyal customers who wouldn’t think of ever going anywhere else for their dental treatment, ever.
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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
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