It’s no surprise that people don’t necessarily enjoy a trip to the dentist, but for practice owners, there are many opportunities to help turn an average dental visit into a more positive experience for patients.
Today’s patients are seeking more than just routine dentistry, and for them, a visit to your practice does not start and end with just a quality treatment. There is a lot more going on in their minds, and how they interact and perceive every component of your practice constitutes the patient experience.
So, is your dental practice missing opportunities to enhance this?
Taking a proactive approach to creating positive interactions and touch points will dictate whether or not patients walk away from a service satisfied with their needs fulfilled, and the likelihood of them recommending your practice to their friends and family. And for you as the dental practice owner, nothing is more important than being able to count on a set of loyal patients who regularly visit and generate a positive referral.
It is through a series of touchpoints, interactions and environmental cues that will help to create that point of difference for your practice and impact the entire tone of the patient’s visit.
The Waiting Room
A patient just checked into your practice and sits down on a cold, hard chair. They are a little stressed and nervous already, and then need to spend the next half an hour waiting in an uncomfortable and uninviting space. A scenario that can sound all too familiar with the outdated dental visit.
Although wait times can be difficult to avoid, a modernized waiting room can offer a better experience for patients. One of the most important things you can do to help promote a pleasant and welcoming environment is to set up this space to be as comfortable and inviting as possible.
To bring energy and effort into enhancing this important area, cues such as comfortable chairs, plants, interesting books and magazines, TV screens, child and work friendly spaces and complimentary refreshments all go a long way in contributing to an atmosphere of comfort.
For new patients especially, they have no way to evaluate the level of services you provide, so will instead take into account these tangible elements that are subject to judgment.
Are your patients receiving the ultimate customer service experience? Patient-Provider communication can easily turn the average dental treatment into a more enjoyable encounter.
Engaging patients and reaching out to them on an emotional level will go a long way in ensuring successful patient interactions. Your staff’s attitude, communication skills, and professionalism also play a significant role in creating the ultimate new dental patient experience.
The “traditional” dental surgery design can be associated with a sterile, sleek and impersonal environment; white walls, beige counters, fluorescent lighting can create barriers and are likely to create a negative impact on the patient behavior.
From the moment a patient enters your practice, you have the opportunity to influence through important tangible elements. Incorporating smart interior choices throughout all spaces will make your dental practice less clinical, and more homely. Maximizing natural light and combining soothing colors, personal touches and high-end finishes– such as artwork, greenery, and child-friendly elements are all excellent ways to enhance your patients’ experience, whilst building a better and more beautiful dental environment. The use of specific colors especially can reduce anxiety, create the feeling of more space, and contribute to the psychological and behavioral effects of your patients. These elements should all be considered as a whole, in relation to the architecture and layout of each space.
The Technology and Equipment
The old stereotype of a trip to the dentist involving drills, multiple visits and pain are now becoming a thing of the past thanks to advances in dental technology. Laser dentistry, CAD/CAM, and digital X-Rays are just some of the modern technologies that can provide superior experiences and better patient care.
Striking the right balance of state-of-the-art technology within your practice however does not have to be big or expensive, but it will show that you care about the patient while they are there. Offering complimentary WiFi, installing touch screens in waiting rooms, in-chair entertainment, iPads for new patient paperwork are all ways that provide an opportunity to create an interactive experience for your patients.
In a competitive landscape, dentists should also be prioritizing technological investments in equipment to enhance the overall customer experience. Considering the fact that the majority of the patient’s appointment time is spent sitting in a dental chair- the right chair especially possesses important components of patient comfort whilst providing a sleek aesthetic
If you are opening up a new practice, relocating, or just want to update your current space, our team are here to help you deliver a better experience for each and every patient – as we continue our journey to change the public perception of dentistry.