If there’s one question you should constantly be asking yourself as a practice owner, it’s this one – ‘how do I set myself apart from the other practices in my area?’
Maybe your first thought is to design or update another promotion. Promotions really are great, but they’re not the answer for new patients trying to decide if they should make your practice their dental home.
There is only one determining factor that stands out, tested and true. It’s called Five Star VIP service, and the patient needs to feel it from the first email/phone encounter to every touchpoint in your practice.
Let’s look at some of the more integral touch points, and how you can be sure to hit the mark with each one when it comes to delivering Five Star VIP Service:
- If the potential patient makes their first contact by leaving a message on your website, your response should be within 20 minutes during regular business hours. For messages left after regular business hours, set up an automatic reply that someone will get in touch with them by 9 am the following morning. Yes, 9 am. This is a world where people expect rapid responses, and that goes for potential patients. Just think of Amazon – it’s trained the world that response must be swift, or the seeker will instantly move along.
- If a patient reaches out by first calling your office, make it their last call. Assume that they have a list and have called or intend to call others. And don’t resort to the script! Many team members get caught up in the ‘new patient scripts’, and don’t listen to the patient’s actual questions. Do this instead. Ask the first question which is, “how can we help you today?” Address their inquiry directly, and then ask if they need more information. Then, collect their personal information, schedule their appointment, provide them with any office-specific details, and finally finish up with, “Thank you for calling today, you made the right choice in choosing Dr. ________ for your dental care.”
- Bring all the patient information to your daily planning meeting. If the patient has mentioned they’re nervous, felt “upsold” at their last practice, hasn’t been to a dentist in five years, etc., the entire team is made aware. It’s frustrating for patients, and unfair to expect them to constantly repeat their stories through every step of their appointment. Make sure they feel heard from their very first encounter!
- There is nothing like a friendly face for a patient who is starting a new practice. Have one administrator anticipate their arrival time, know their first name and welcome them. The same administrator should guide the patient through the first part of their appointment, the forms needed and the information to be collected.
- With complete PPE it’s more important than ever to connect with your patients (new and old) to create loyalty and trust. Don’t make them work for it. Meet your patients while they’re sitting up and pull your chair towards their knees so that they can comfortably look at you without twisting their necks. Incorporate personal “social” information when you talk with them, not just medical and dental information. Let them know that you care about them, as well as their dental health. Remember, the few minutes you spend on your initial encounter is an investment in your future with this patient.
- 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 and can be broken into short-term and long-term needs. Ensure that the communication with your team is concise and consistent throughout the patient visit.
- A follow-up call/personalized email with the patient the next day is always a great idea. Ideally, it should come from the administrator who first greeted and guided them through the first part of their appointment. Ask these two questions: “How was your experience in our office, and did we meet your expectations?”
These are only a few ways you can provide a patient with a Five Star VIP experience, but they’re key. Of course, the most important point is that every patient at every appointment should be having the same experience. Too often, we put more effort into a new patient visit, forgetting that all patients want and expect the same service, even if it’s their 80th visit!
Be sure. Connect with me if you want to assess whether your team and systems are delivering the Five Star VIP service that will keep patients happy to call your practice their dental home.