dental news for dentists from the best minds in dentistry today header image 2

How to Create Patient Loyalty through The Customer Experience

October 30th, 2007 · No Comments

The way to differentiate your practice and set it apart from all others is through the customer experience, according to Teri Yanovitch, author of "Creating Patient Loyalty," an article featured in this month’s Dentaltown. She notes four key considerations to help you create an experience that will draw patients back to your practice again and again.

1) Walk a mile in their shoes…

"An engaged, caring staff raises the patient’s confidence that the dentist is looking out for the patient’s best interest," says Teri. She encourages dentists to focus on the emotions and needs of the patient in an effort to create an emotional bond. When a patient becomes irritated with your office policies, Teri warns, "Remember, it is not the patient’s job to see through our lens, it’s the dentist’s and staff’s job to see through the patient’s lens and understand the patient’s emotions."

2) Create a complete environment…

Consider all of your patient’s senses when creating an environment that seems welcoming, clean, and safe. A new patient will notice the sights, smells, sounds, and attitudes your practice projects – even details that you have become accustomed to overlooking. From an overfilled trashcan to a messy brochure display to a harried greeting by a busy team member, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. "Take the time to walk through your practice, starting with the parking lot, looking through the lens of the patient, and see shat your environment is speaking to you," Teri recommends.

3) What’s your "wow" factor…

In her article, Teri describes how the Disney organization understands "wow" factor. When one team member does something that wows a patron, the entire organization is told about it so that they can share that wow with other patrons. In the dental practice, some wow factors include calling a patient by name before he or she signs in, asking about an update on a family matter that he or she shared with you at the last visit, apologizing when you run late, and making a post-visit phone call to show that you care.

4) Make doing business with your office convenient…

Sometimes, while our processes are easy for us, they cause inconvenience or frustration to patients. Teri’s examples include a high school football player who doesn’t want to miss school or practice for a hygiene visit (scheduling issue) – and a patient who has to stand in line twice trying to check out so that he can return to his day (procedural issue). "Listen to what are the top frustrations patients complain about. Listen to what are the top frustrations your staff have in serving patients effectively," Teri suggests. Then, create a happy medium that works for your business, but pleases your patients.

What is your customer experience? If you look at your practice with the eyes of a new patient, you may be surprised to find areas in which you could improve. Get your team on the bandwagon, then take on a challenge to improve  patient loyalty by improving the customer experience in your practice.

Tags: Uncategorized