Money. The word itself evokes many different emotions. Lack, abundance, fear and joy come to mind. We work hard for our money. How do we decide where to spend it? Some decisions are quick…“I deserve this and I want it.” Others are analyzed again and again before the purchase is made.
Where does spending money on dental health fit into this dynamic?
When I started in dentistry nearly 29 years ago, a patient’s dental benefits often paid 100% of their basic services. Times have changed and that is no longer the case. Patients are now in a position where paying out of pocket for dental services is the norm. I believe that dentists aren’t competing against one another…they’re actually competing against the seemingly endless places for patients to spend their hard-earned money.
How can we help our patients make a decision that is in the best interest of their dental health?
Certainly, providing the information they need to make an informed decision is near the top of the list. However, we believe that information alone isn’t enough. It must begin with creating a comfortable environment that breeds trust.
In working with many dental practices over the years, I’ve seen the impact that exquisite service can have on the health of their patients and the health of their bottom line.
Our Dental Consultant’s Rules for Delivering Exquisite Service
I. The Administrative Team
● Smile and make eye contact.
● Greet every person that walks through the door.
● Use the patient’s preferred name when speaking with them.
● Keep paperwork in manageable piles that can be quickly placed aside so the patient feels they have our undivided attention.
● When answering the phone thank the caller, introduce the office, introduce yourself and offer assistance. “Thank you for calling Smile Dental, this is Judy. How may I help you?”
● When ending a call ask the caller if there is anything else you can help them with and thank them for calling. “Mr. Smith is there anything else I can help you with today? Thank you for calling Smile Dental, have a great day.”
● Follow-Up with the patient regularly: after treatment, after a problem, regarding their unscheduled treatment, etc.
II. The Clinical Team (Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists and Dentists)
● Read the patient’s body language. Anticipate any fear or concerns that the patient may have.
● During the exam find out as much as you can about your patient and their specific health goals.
● Ask the patient if there is anything that you can do to make them as comfortable as possible.
● Use empathy. Demonstrate to patients that you understand how they feel.
● Use the patient’s name when handing off the patient to the dentist.
● Inform the patient in easy to understand vocabulary. “Hi Dr. Dental, John and I have talked about the tooth on the top left that we treated in November. It feels great and he is ready to proceed with the top right crown, which you had said was the next priority.”
● When discussing treatment with the patient make eye contact, and whenever possible use photos of their own teeth to show the patient what you are talking about.
● Upon completion of treatment, it’s important that the dentist gives a review of what treatment was done and what’s next before leaving the operatory. The assistant can then offer to further explain or clarify the dentist’s summary.
● Walk the patient to the desk, use their preferred name, make eye contact and do a complete hands-off with the admin team.
Patients should expect that the dental treatment they receive is the best that it can be.
What separates one dental team from the rest is the level of service.
Do you question the level of service you and your team provide to your patients?
Our team of Dental Consultants, at Tayden Consulting Inc., specialize in providing,
hands-on, on-site coaching on how to create the optimal customer experience
for your patients.
Contact us today for a free consultation! We look forward to meeting you.