When it comes to attracting new patients, a doctor’s expertise is certainly a factor. And, perhaps equally important is a convenient office location with free parking. The ease of booking an appointment is yet another point to consider. Even offering extended office hours, such as appointments until 7:00 pm on Thursday nights, or early Saturday mornings, can also make your dental office more “user-friendly.”
But, when it comes to attracting new families and increasing revenue, the patient experience is key – perhaps above every other piece of the puzzle. So, how does your dental practice stack up?
Consider this firsthand experience to see how one practice achieves their goals of attracting new patients and increasing revenue. It’s easier than you might think.
Hundreds of five-star reviews
When it came time for my daughter to get braces, our dental hygienist recommended an orthodontist. “There are lots of good orthodontists in the area,” our hygienist told us, “but, I really like this one. You’ll have a good experience there.”
All things considered, including the doctor’s professional background (which is highly rated), what stood out to our dental hygienist the most – enough for her professional recommendation – was the patient experience. And, she wasn’t wrong. This orthodontist office has nearly 400 five-star online reviews, many of which express happiness over an “awesome experience!”
According to recent research, a whopping 86% of patients choose a new dentist based on online reviews!
From the moment we scheduled the first consultation (pre-COVID, when we could actually sit in an office waiting room) we liked the practice. Although they don’t offer online scheduling requests – which would make things more convenient – a live person does answer the phone each time I call.
The average time to book an appointment over the phone is eight minutes. That’s time you could be spending focusing on patients in the office.
A patient-focused experience
Catering mostly to teenagers, the office is totally focused on their primary age group. When we arrived for the appointment, my daughter’s name was in colorful letters on a neon sign, welcoming her to the practice. Very personal.
A friendly patient concierge greeted us and gave us an office tour. There is a game room for kids to hang out while they wait; a coffee bar stocked with hot chocolate, coffee, and tea; and music playing over the speakers that was lively, but not obnoxious. The staff was welcoming and cheerful, and each person we met expressed their pleasure in having my daughter join the practice family.
Even the staff’s uniforms have sparkly letters spelling out their names on the front and a big smiley face on the back. It was clearly a fun place to be while we waited for the not-so-fun procedure of getting brackets and wires attached to my daughter’s teeth!
When we went back to the dental chair, there was a space for me to sit across from my daughter so I could see what was happening, and ask questions. In the middle of her treatment, another teenager got up from his chair and the staff began clapping and cheering loudly, gave him a gift bag, and announced to everyone else in the large, open room, “Hey everybody! Alex got his braces off today!! Let’s congratulate him on his amazing smile!”
Proactive patient recare
After our appointment, the orthodontic assistant walked us to the front desk so we could schedule my daughter’s next checkup. We made an early morning appointment that didn’t interfere with her school day, and the receptionist confirmed my cell phone number so she could send text reminders to my phone. After all, the next checkup was six weeks away and I was sure the tiny appointment card would get lost at the bottom of my purse.
More than 60% of patients would prefer to book online and to receive text reminders for upcoming appointments.
From there, the patient concierge offered us both homemade chocolate chip cookies to take with us. “Eat it now,” she told my daughter, “before your mouth is too sore. The chewing will actually help ease your discomfort.”
It was truly a patient-centered, personalized experience from the moment we walked in the door until the moment we left. And, we told everyone about it.
Whether or not your dental practice offers the amenities that make patients feel less like they’re in a waiting room and more like they’re in a living room, could be a big difference in whether or not they tell their friends about your practice. Maybe you don’t need a game room or a coffee bar, but perhaps you do need a friendly patient concierge to welcome new patients and show them around.
You can also start by revamping your website and offering the convenience of online scheduling. That way, those in your community looking for a new dentist are more likely to choose you, since they can make an online request at their convenience – even after hours.
Giving your patients what they want can be as easy as offering online scheduling, automated appointment reminders, and a true patient-focused experience. A few small changes can lead to a whole lot of five-star reviews and referrals to keep your practice busy and revenue coming in.
To learn more about automating office tasks so you can spend more time focusing on your patients, check out this guide: