Let’s say you hire us at SmartBox or are excellent at implementing these tips from our blog.. So you have 100 new people per month wanting appointments. What then?
The marketing side of the business is done. Patients are in your chair. From there, it is up to you.
A big part of getting those people from one-time patients to regular patients who stay, pay and refer is customer service. With fear of stepping on the toes of our friends at Summit Practice Solutions, who are really excellent at helping practices develop this side of the house, here is some customer service information.
Forrester Research came out with some interesting data not long ago about what customers expect from businesses.
Here are six customer expectations and how you can meet them:
- Treat me as an individual.
This means know my name, my situation, and my concerns, wants, etc. If you look at Mary Smith as only your 2 p.m. appointment, and your receptionist treats her only as the 2 p.m. appointment, and the hygienist regards her only as the 2 p.m. appointment, chances are Mary Smith will not make many more 2 p.m. appointments!
- Make it fun.
Wow, this is a doozy. Given that most people have at least some fear of the dentist, this is a challenge. But you can have a fun environment. Make sure you and your staff are upbeat and positive. Your practice should be bright and cheerful. While a PROCEDURE may not be fun, coming to see you can be.
- Make it easy to do what I need to do.
The most obvious answer here is to allow patients to research information on your website about THEIR dental problems and allow them to set up an appointment from your website. Extended appointment hours also help meet this expectation. Making it easy for patients plays into the next two customer service expectations.
- “Let me help myself.”
- “Be open 24/7.”
So if patients can schedule an appointment from your website, you are doing both. If patients can research Invisalign, sedation dentistry or porcelain veneers on your website, you are doing both.
- Be consistent across channels.
That means they want to be able to call with a problem one day and email about it a week later and not have to explain the situation all over again. They want to ask a question on the website and get a text message reply if that is what they ask for.
Is this a lot to ask of you and your staff?
Sure it is. But unless you want to continually churn through patients and have to keep pouring in money to attract new ones, you need to do what you can to retain your existing patients. If in doubt, refer to expectation #1.
There’s a reason why the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is still around. Keep your existing patients by meeting their customer service expectations.