Your diligent, motivated patients have returned to the office, patients who have had problems have returned and you have begun to start seeing new patients again. How do you set yourself apart from the other practices in your area? The promotion you offer your new patients (whether it falls in or out of RCDSO guidelines) won’t be the determining factor as to whether or not they decide to make your practice their dental home. The only determining factor is that the patient feels that they have received Five Star VIP service from their first email/phone encounter to every touch point in your practice.
I am going to provide you with some of the touch points with patients and how you can ensure that those points all achieve all the marks in Five Star VIP Service.
- If the initial contact is through your website and the patient has messaged you then your response should be within twenty minutes if it is during regular business hours and if it is after regular business hours then a message can be set up that someone will connect with by 9am the following morning. Patients today expect responses very quickly. Amazon has trained the world that our response needs to be swift or the patients will be looking elsewhere.
- If a patient calls your office as their first contact with you, then you want to ensure that this is their last phone call as there have likely been others. Many offices have new patient “scripts” and very often team members get caught up in the scripts and don’t listen to the patient’s actual question. The first question to the patient can always be “how can we help you today”, answer their question directly and then ask if they need more information. Collect their personal information, schedule their appointment, provide them with any office specific details and finish up with, “Thank you for calling today, you made the right choice in choosing Dr. ______ for your dental care.”
- At your daily planning meeting have all information already given by the patient to the entire team, so that if a patient mentioned they are nervous, felt “upsold” at their last practice or hasn’t been to a dentist in five years then everybody is aware. It also allows the patient to not have to repeat “their story” several times through their appointment. The patient will feel that they were “heard” from the very first encounter.
- When a new patient is due in the office, one administrator should be aware of their approximate arrival time, know their first name and welcome them accordingly. There is nothing like a friendly face when you are starting in a new practice. Also, this administrator will guide the patient through the first part of their appointment, any forms that are needed or any information to be collected.
- With complete PPE it is more important than ever to connect with your patients (new and old) to create loyalty and trust. Start your relationship with your patients while they are sitting up, pull your chair towards their knees so that they can comfortably look at you without twisting their neck. Incorporate personal “social” information when you talk with them and not just medical and dental information. Let them know that you care more about them as well as their dental health. The few minutes you spend on your initial encounter is an investment in your future with this patient.
- Ensure that the communication with your team is concise and consistent throughout the patient visit. Next visit expectations need to be clearly communicated during their treatment plan presentation. Treatment plans should not be overwhelming, they need to be honest and realistic, they can be broken into short-term needs and long-term needs.
- A follow up call/personalized email with the patient the next day, is always a good idea. It is best if it can come from the administrator who initially greeted them and was their guide through the first part of their appointment. The two questions to ask during this communication is “how was your experience in our office and did we meet your expectations?”
These are just a few of the ways you can provide a patient with a Five Star VIP experience. The most important point is that every patient at every appointment should be having the same experience, very often we put the effort into a new patient visit and forget that patients want to feel that way whether it is their first visit or their eightieth visit. If you want to ensure that your team and your systems are delivering Five Star VIP service at every appointment, then feel free to connect with me.