Technology joins the Customer Service Team
Going to the Dentist, for some can be less than comfortable. So it’s important to make dentist visits as easy as possible. Once your patients have arrived, you want them to receive excellent care and leave satisfied with their experience.. The most important part of your patients’ satisfaction is, of course, the quality of care. The customer service surrounding that quality care can also keep your patients with you for a lifetime.
Why Patient Satisfaction Matters
There’s a general rule of thumb that it costs more to attract new customers than to retain existing customers. Patient satisfaction is the key, to patient retention and practice profitability.
We can’t provide tips for improving someone’s dental health, that’s not our forte. We CAN, however, share a few tips about how to use technology to make dentist visits as easy as possible – and to keep your patients coming back. Many of these tips are enabled by features in dental practice management software. Don’t be afraid to use information technology to help you support your patients.
You can’t help your patients (or stay in business) without getting them in the door. Are you taking advantage of scheduling software? Managing lists can help you keep track of patients on wait lists who can be called to fill scheduling gaps, making the most of your office hours and employees’ working hours.
Though I’m sure you give each patient an appointment card for their next appointment, if most of your patients are like me, they often lose that card before they can add the appointment to their calendar. But have you considered taking advantage of the ability to send text alerts a week before a scheduled appointment. The text alerts allow the patient to confirm the appointment or set up another time. If you have a patient’s email address, you can even send an invitation and automatically add the appointment to their calendar. These efforts reduce the number of no-shows and allow you to run a more efficient schedule.
Phone System Integration
By integrating your phone system with your practice management software, you can have ready access to patient information when speaking to a patient on the phone. With patient information displayed on your computer screen, you can note additional family members and remind the patient of upcoming appointments or treatments for them too. This again, adds to the personal touch of your customer service while creating additional appointment opportunities if other family members need additional services not already scheduled.
Patient Notes In One Place
Having one location for all of a patient’s notes – treatment plans, insurance coverage, and medical history – helps you deliver superior, personal service faster than flipping through a manila folder. Having a patient’s pharmacy on file and calling perscriptions in for your patient reduces their wait to have a prescription filled and improves their overall satisfaction.
Reception staff should review the appointment schedule for the day so that they can greet patients by name. Notes about a patient’s likes/dislikes can be noted in their record to ask about children, pets, or other special interests. Personal conversations may also help a patient feel more relaxed when they arrive for an appointment.
Be Happy and Smile
This last one isn’t a technical tip, but, as a patient is a factor I know influences my happiness with my healthcare providers. When going to any doctor, patients want sunshine and friendliness; not worry and pessimism. All staff in your office should SMILE, be friendly, and answer patient questions with warmth and friendliness. This is a basic aspect of customer service for any business – don’t overlook how important being cheerful and welcoming can be too your practice. It’s also not much fun to work in a negative or unfriendly environment. Happy, helpful employees tend to reduce stress and increase staff morale, which reduces turnover – a nice side benefit.