These days, being a great dentist isn’t enough – patients can’t judge our margins, but they can judge how we make them feel. That’s why it’s crucial to curate a patient experience that leaves them feeling cared for, supported, and healthy.
No matter what we do, our patients are leaving with a story to tell – so we want to help craft that story. Great patient experiences don’t happen by mistake, they happen by design.
There’s a lot we can learn from business outside of dentistry that we can bring inside our practices to help create that six-star patient experience. Here are some timeless business principles that will help;
1. Understand touchpoints
Touchpoints represent any interaction a patient has with the practice, whether that be telephone call, website, patient handover. Look at the patient journey in terms of what happens before, during, and after the appointment, as well as between appointments.
Those will make up your touchpoints.
Here’s a great exercise you can do – close your eyes and imagine you’re a patient walking through your practice. What can you see? Hear? Smell? What senses are stimulated?
2. Focus on a few touchpoints
You don’t have to be an expert on every touchpoint, just do a few of them really well.
The bittersweet news is that a lot of patients have low expectations because of the other businesses they’ve interacted with.
After enduring long hold times on the call to the bank, confusing websites that send them to a million different pages trying to get simple info – customers have low expectations.
Doing a handful of things to a high quality and consistently well is already above expectations for many patients.
Consistency is key in creating a great patient experience.
We know how annoying it is when we go to our favourite coffee shop and they normally make our coffee just so, but one day there’s some new brand of milk or machine and it’s all burnt when we just wanted our old reliable.
Or how disappointing it is to go to a hairdresser who gives you a lovely scalp massage with luxurious shampoo – and the next time they don’t.
Humans are creatures of habit, and we like knowing what we’re going to receive and experience. If you can create that expectation and live up to it time and time again, you’re winning.
These sound like such simple and basic steps – and they are! Identifying your touch points and focusing on consistently performing really well on 3-5 of them will put you ahead of 95% of other dental practices out there.
No joke – it’s astonishing how many dental practices out there don’t take the time to do this, or have inconsistent patient experiences. Give this a try and drop a comment letting us know how it works for you!