Dental practices face significant challenges in this economy. Patients have been putting off treatment and cancelling appointments, waiting to see if their financial circumstances will improve. In fact, many patients actively look for reasons not to visit the dentist.
Fortunately, every practice has the ability to achieve greater success with customer service, which keeps patients in the practice. The following customer service tips will help you and your team provide superior customer service.
1. Make patients feel welcome. Patients love to feel that someone is happy to see them. They will have a much higher regard for the front desk staff and the practice when greeted as if they are friends rather than just another patient to be seen.
Treat your patients like VIPs, and they will be more likely to keep coming back even in the toughest times. How would your team treat their favorite celebrity if that person walked through the door? That’s the kind of attention and care every patient should receive.
2. Survey patients. Surveys are excellent tools for measuring practice performance and patient perceptions. Create a short survey about the total patient experience. For the best results, team members should ask patients to complete it before leaving the practice. Place a box in the reception area where patients can deposit their survey anonymously. Review the responses and comments at morning meetings.
3. Follow up with patients. People appreciate it when they sense that others care about them. Make evening calls to your patients who have had extensive treatment to see how they are feeling. The effort will be appreciated (and probably very unexpected). This type of customer service gets patients to tell others about your dedicated, caring practice.
4. Train your team. A well-trained team can take customer service to its highest level. One of the best training techniques is scripting. Knowing what to say and how to say it greatly enhances every patient interaction. Scripting helps team members provide patients with accurate information in a way that builds value for the practice. Recognize that training will be continuous. Set time aside during staff meetings to review scripts, role-play, and evaluate patient suggestions. Remember, the right training can turn a good staff into a great team.
These four tips are an excellent starting point for encouraging your patients to stay with the practice, accept more treatment, and increase their referrals. Superior customer service can help you not only survive in this economy but also thrive.
To learn how to run a more profitable, efficient and satisfying practice, visit the Levin Group Resource Center at www.levingroup.com/gp— a free online resource with tips, videos, and other valuable information. You can also connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn strategies and share ideas.
Dr. Roger Levin is a third-generation general dentist and the chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the largest dental practice management and marketing firm in the United States. As a leading authority on dental practice management and marketing, he has developed the scientific systems-based consulting method that will increase practice production and profitability, while lowering stress. Dr. Levin has authored more than 60 books and over 3,000 articles. He presents 100 seminars worldwide each year.