I’ve noted before that while equipment, training, and experience are obviously important, they’re not the most important things when it comes to patients selecting a dentist.
Instead, patients want to feel cared for and cared about. Put another way, they want to feel valued.
If you think about the psychological aspects of visiting the dentist, that makes a lot of sense. Much of medical practice, including dentistry, is both intrusive and invasive. You’re going to have your hands in your patients’ mouths, and there’s a certain degree of discomfort with having someone invade their personal space. You’ve undoubtedly seen that time and again; the procedure is minor and painless, but the patient is squirming in the chair and can’t wait to leave. They’re just not comfortable having someone that close to them.
Add in the fear of pain and discomfort, and it’s clear that there’s a lot more involved than technique. So, helping patients feel comfortable, relaxed, welcomed, and cared for are key to a good patient experience.
Everyone and everything in your practice has to work toward that end; the decor, the physical arrangement of the treatment rooms, the patient’s privacy while in the chair, the attitude of the staff and the dentist and even the smells that may be present all have to work together to communicate a single message: You’re important to us, and we’ll take good care of you.
Feeling cared about stems from the communication between the patient and your staff. When the receptionist, the dental assistant, and even the dentist obviously take the time to listen patients rather than rushing them into the chair and out the door, patients feel cared about. From a time management standpoint, this makes no sense; from the repeat business and increased referral aspects, this is a vital practice growth tool.
Can you imagine a patient saying to a friend, “Well, the crown is okay, but I didn’t like the way I felt when I was there”? That’s the kiss of death for dental practices.
As you probably know by now, I grew up in a dental practice; my dad’s a very successful dentist, and I spent years learning the business. And what I’ve seen from other dentists all too often is that they forget that they’re in the people business. They lose sight of the entire person and focus on just the clinical aspects of treating them.
That’s bad for business; after all, isn’t that how you feel when you have to see a physician? Like you’re basically a commodity, something to be examined, diagnosed, prescribed, and gotten rid of so they can see the next patient?
If you don’t like being treated that way, why would your patients?
Make your patients feel cared for, cared about and important, and watch repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals help grow your practice.
And, these very pleased patients are an excellent source of testimonial videos to help attract more and better patients.
Focus on the patient first, and everyone wins.