Making your patients happy should be your number one priority, because without patients you wouldn't have a practice. Happy patients are loyal and they are more likely to refer your office to their family and friends. You should spend time giving your patients quality dental care and making their office experience unforgettable. These seven tips are a great start to making your patients happy and providing them with the best experience your office can offer.
1. Remember who they are
Most dental offices can get in the habit of herding patients like cattle through their appointments, and eventually that's what the patients start feeling like. Nobody wants to be "just another patient" in the lineup. We’re made to connect with each other. Take the time to write notes about your conversations and follow up with your patients next time they visit. Ask them how their family vacation was, if they survived finals week, or how they're doing at their new job.
Remembering details about your patients will make them feel special, and who doesn't like to feel special? That connection creates a feeling of loyalty. You're not just a doctor to them anymore, you're someone who cares about them. Patients who have that connection with your practice are more likely to refer their friends and family.
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2. Make it easier for patients to pay their bill
These days, convenience can make or break something. Most younger patients aren't big fans of calling or mailing in a check or credit card information. It takes too much time and is quickly becoming an outdated way of accepting payments. It's easy and convenient to pay right from a smartphone. Make it easy for your patients by allowing them to pay their bills online via your website. This will not only make them happy, it will benefit your practice because they will pay their bills faster, which will improve your cash flow.
3. Offer membership plans
Offering membership plans can be an excellent way to not only show patients you care about them, but also to make them extremely loyal to your practice. This also brings recurring revenue and stability to your practice.
I’ve interviewed several dental practices that offer membership plans and they report an overwhelming satisfaction rate among their patients. All you need to start a membership plan for your practice is to know your numbers and how much you make per procedure, and have membership software to help you automate payments and organize plans and members.
4. Hold a Patient Appreciation Week
Who doesn't like to feel important and appreciated? Having a Patient Appreciation Week is a great way to show that your practice cares about your patients. Holidays are a great time to hold this week. Maybe you can choose a Valentine's Day Theme. Hang up a sign that says “We LOVE our patients!” and then put a smile on each of their faces by giving them a flower, chocolate, or balloon. Some doctors even rent out a movie theater or a water park and then provide tickets to their patients. This is a great way for patients and their families to get out and enjoy a fun day with your staff. They'll feel like they belong to the greatest practice around. After something like this most patients tell their family and friends about what you did, and these people will want to get in on the fun, too.
5. Hold a contest on social media
Contests make things fun! They are a great way to not only make patients happy and excited about your office, but they will get patients talking about your office in a positive way and word-of-mouth marketing is always a plus! Your patients can be entered into a raffle to win a prize (movie passes, gift cards, etc.) if they give a positive review on your practice pages. This can help you get noticed by everyone on your patients’ networks, which can get you referrals.
6. Follow-up call from the doctor
If the doctor can take the time to personally call patients to see how they’re recovering, the patients will be blown away! Getting a call from the front office or an assistant is a nice gesture, but it can sometimes make patients feel like they’re just a name on a long list of routine calls. Calling your patients personally will make them feel like you, the doctor, actually care about them and that you’re there when they need you. Your patients will know that you go above and beyond for them.
7. Offer free WiFi
Offering free WiFi is a great service for your patients. Let's face it, for lots of people sitting in the dental chair can be nervewracking. You can make people feel more comfortable by allowing them to hop on your WiFi so they can browse through their phones they wait. They might even want to drown out the sound of the drill and listen to Pandora. Others take time out of their busy workday to visit you and want to work while they wait in your office.
Editor's note: Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly