Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 05 Transactional 1

Transactional vs. experiential dental patients

May 8, 2017
Dentists might be confused about the recent use of the terms "transactional" and "experiential." Dentists should strive to be experiential with their patients, and here's why.

Dentists might be confused about the recent use of the terms "transactional" and "experiential." Dentists should strive to be experiential with their patients, and here's why.

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There have been many recent presentations and conversations regarding the “transactional” patient visit versus the “experiential” patient visit. Along with this is the sometimes confusing overlap of the two descriptive words. It seems obvious that when a patient visits the office a transaction will occur, but under what circumstances will this inevitable transaction transpire? The overall experience for patients will impact their willingness to return, as well as their willingness to refer others to the dental practice. To help clarify the distinction, let’s take a look at the actual meanings of the two different but related words.

Transactional can be described as the act of transacting, a communication involving two or more people that affects all those involved with a record of the business that is being conducted. The overall focus is on a single point of sale, with the emphasis on maximizing the efficiency and volume of the event rather than developing a long-term relationship with the buyer.

In contrast, the experiential patient visit is tied to the process of learning and developing the appropriate connections and skills through a shared experience. This involves a “real-life” piece that is critical and valuable to the recipient. The experiential event might include learning gained from a network of leaders sharing best practices, or individuals being coached by a person who has faced similar challenges. These key elements fit nicely within an exceptional patient experience.

This is all tied to the occurrence of the actual experiential event with the patient. We must also keep in mind that no matter at what level the transaction occurs, the patient will still have an “experience” tied to that transaction. Our goal is to elevate the experience such that the patient will reflect positively on the memory and echo those sentiments to future listeners.

What are the key elements and differences in behavior tied to the two words?

• A single point of sale
• No focus on the long-term relationship
• Clearing necessary obstacles for an immediate transaction

• Strategy for a long-term patient relationship
• Results in multiple individual points of sale while not devaluing the relationship
• Improved by reference to prior, similar patient situations and insight provided from leaders sharing best practice behaviors
• Clearing obstacles to achieve a long-term relationship

Without a doubt, the difference between the two words is evident, and yet the confusing overlap is apparent. Our goal with each and every patient is an exceptional relationship whenever possible. This will increase the promotion of a positive experience that the patient can share with friends and associates to encourage referrals, while also building the critical opportunity to create a lifelong patient.

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Charles Rodgers, DDS, is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and a multiple-office owner dentist supported by Pacific Dental Services (PDS). He currently serves as vice president of clinical quality for PDS, chair of clinical quality for the PDS Institute, and oversees clinical guidance as chair for the PDS National Dental Advisory Board.