We all have faced those moments, when even after giving the best of care and treatment, the patent still not seemed satisfied. Although his dental treatment prognosis was very good, you still sensed that dissatisfaction in the patients smile.
It happens with the best of us, so you need not question your clinical knowledge and skills for it.
Patients today have access to a sea of information and all that information has changed the way they see the world and you (as a doctor).
Gone are the days, when their concern was just that their painful tooth would give them sleepless nights. And they would bow down to you after you relieved them of pain.
Today, patients expect more than just the dental treatment done well, they want an experience. While good treatment does form the core of that experience, there are other factors that influence that experience.
What are those factors?
- Their first impression of your staff, when they spoke to them on phone while coordinating for the appointment. (considering that the appointment was taken on phone, for online appointments your website/page forms the first impression of you).
- How well they were guided to the location, how easy/difficult was your clinic in terms of commute
- How easy or difficult was their parking experience
- How is the exterior of your clinic (in terms of basic hygiene)
- Their first impression of the clinic ambience, meaning the cleanliness, the aesthetics and the organization of the clinic furniture and other decors.
- The first impression of your reception staff when they are greeted at the entry (or not!)
- The waiting time and them being informed of the expected wait time and the reason for it.
- How and what the clinic staff are talking about (no unprofessional talks, whether about a patient or not!!)
- Their impression of you when they enter your room (whether you acknowledge them with a smile, a greeting or not)
- The way you acknowledge their emotions and pay attention to them while they are talking
- Ask more open ended questions, instead of leading them to answers with only closed ended ones.
- The transparency in the examination room, treatment plan and pricing (giving a breakup of quoted price makes patients feel empowered)
- Thanks to Covid, we can add safety protocols and distancing measures to the list
- Treatment experience and the closure of current appointment, with clarity on what they should expect in their next visit
- Cleanliness of your clinic (and the washroom!) should probably be the first point, but I am just going by the sequence.
As petty as some of these points may look to you, trust me, they can make or break a patient experience and in turn, an opportunity for the clinic business and goodwill. Good treatment may get you money today, but good experience can get you MORE money tomorrow.