Updated: Sep 13, 2021
This is the first part of your secret recipe that will make patients talk about your dental practice in ways that attracts more patients. Furthermore it will increase your case acceptance rate and improve customer satisfaction.
You may be thinking, “Why should I change the way my new patients are received in the practice? Why should there be a standard protocol dictating how the entire team works with this process? ”.
In my opinion you have to, because it has been proven time and time again that this one difference can increase your practice production by 20-50%, improve the practice brand and attract more patients without you having to spend several thousand dollars on external marketing.
The method has been tested effective in several practices, in several different countries over a 20-year period. Basically, the method is the same. However, there are small modifications that have been made over the years. The model I am presenting here is the latest updated version. I will not go into details about why the method is so effective, as this will be too comprehensive. I just want to inform you that each step has been carefully thought out based on scientific behavioral research. The order of the individual elements of the patient experience is critical to obtaining the optimal patient experience. I know it takes a lot of training of the team to achieve an efficient and superior procedure, like the one I describe below. But believe me, it's worth all the resources. After reading about the process, feel free to contact me if you need any advice on how to implement the model in your practice.
The tour of the office - In most dental offices, a medical history form is sent to the patients, or handed out upon arrival in the practice, as a piece of paper that must be filled out by the patient before anything else happens. This does not leave the patient with the world's most amazing experience. On the contrary, it is a factory-like standard method to receive patients that doesn't add any value. At most, the method makes patients feel like an indifferent, standardized number in an industrial production. When I introduce the office tour, do NOT mistake it for a VIP backstage tour that shows off every little detail of the practice. There are many places in a dental office that are not appropriate for patients to experience. What we want to achieve with the office tour are 2 things.
It allows the practice to give the new patient a great experience.
This gives the practice the opportunity to inform about everything that the practice offers its patients, without acting as a sneaky sales promotion.
Practical guide of the tour The receptionist or the person responsible for new patients, walks around the reception desk and approaches the new patient the moment the patient comes through the door. She extends her hand and gives a firm warm handshake as she says: “Hi my name is….I'm your personal assistant here at the practice. You must be… It was me you were talking with on the phone when you called us and got an appointment. I'm happy to meet you in real life - welcome. Before you sit here in the lounge, I would like to show you around the practice so you know what it looks like and give you the opportunity to orient yourself while you are here.
I know this might sound a little strange to you, but we would like you to think of the place here as your “home for the well-being of the mouth” It really means that we want you to feel as comfortable as possible while you are here…. Come, let me show you around. ” The patient and the receptionist walk a few steps past the counter and stop at a nicely framed photo hanging on the wall. The picture shows a family photo of the dentist, with his spouse and children. “Patient name…. We have an amazing dentist here in the office. (mentions the name of the dentist while pointing to the picture). This is doctor... who has been married to… for 12 years. Together they have 2 girls ” The patient and the receptionist walk 2 meters further down the hall and look into the consultation room. On one wall several course certificates have been postet in nice frames (wall of fame). The receptionist tells the patient: “Patient name… One of the things I think you will like here is that our dentist is passionate about ideal oral health. This means that she is extremely concerned about the patients oral health. She constantly works on helping our patients keep their teeth in an ideal shape of health. This means the need for dental treatment will be kept at a minimum.
Because the dentist cares so much about our patients' health, she has taken extensive post-graduate training and education, to always be up to date on the latest knowledge in general health as well as dental health. Some of the course certificates are the ones you see there on the wall. I would like to designate 2 certificates that I think you should see. The one at the top left shows that the dentist has taken an extensive education in treatment with dental implants. This means that patients missing a single or multiple teeth can get help to regain their teeth in a fashion that makes them fell like their own teeth and give a comfortable and confident smile. The second certificate I want to show is the top right one. It shows we are certified to be able to offer IV sedation. Sedation means that we can make every visit to the dentist as comfortable for our patients that they sleep during treatment and cannot remember that they have been treated afterwards.” The receptionist and the patient walk 2 meters further down the hall. "Here are 4 individual photos of our team members. This is the fantastic team at “Lovely smile practice” these are the most wonderful people that I get the opportunity to go to work with every day. You will probably greet them during your future visits with us. Today you will see our dental nurse Lisa. It's Lisa you see in the picture right here ”(Points at the photo).
The receptionist turns half a turn and opens a door. She holds out her hand in an inviting gesture as she says, “This is our guest bathroom. As you can see, there are toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss from various manufacturers. If you have the desire or need to freshen up before or after a visit with us, you are always welcome to use the products that we make available here for free.
The receptionist faces the completely dust-free shelves 1 meter next to the entrance to the toilet. On the shelves are all the products the practice sells. She says: “This is the area where we exhibit all the products our team recommends. We sell various brands of electric toothbrushes, special oral hygiene products, etc. Many of our patients have told us that they like to leave the practice with all the products they need so that they can take ideal care of their oral hygiene, until their next visit. Without having to concentrate on what other stores carry the various products. By the way, we will sell them to you for our purchase price (depending on your practice philosophy). As an example we sell this philips diamond clean electric toothbrush for x dollars where it usually costs x dollars at the local pharmacy. In addition, you can see some whitening products. We want to be able to present the best products to those patients who want the most beautiful white smile. ” One step further down the hall, the receptionist points into the room with a conebeam scanner. “Patient name… You will find that we, here at “Lovely smile practice” have implemented all the latest technology. Especially in the case of technology that allows us to see or detect conditions at the earliest possible time. With our 3D robot technology, we can make many treatments more accurate, more comfortable and less time consuming. “
The receptionist points down at the end of the hallway and says, “Patient name…. at the end of the aisle we have our examination and prevention department. We have an amazing hygienist. What I think you will like about Lisa is that she is thorough and gentle at the same time. I mentioned to you that you will be seeing Lisa today. As one of the last things during your consultation with Lisa, she will recommend you how often we should see you. I would really recommend you to follow Lisa's recommendations. Because if we see you in a regular interval, we achieve 2 things:
1. We keep you as healthy as possible and…
2. We reduce your future dental costs.
The receptionist and the patient goes a few further steps down the aisle and stops at one (of several) beautiful “after-photos” taken of one of the patients the practice has performed a major dental treatment on. The receptionist points to the picture and says: “Patient name… Although we are perceived as a regular dental practice, our dentists have extensive training and experience in performing advanced treatments such as: Implant treatments, invisible braces and cosmetic treatments. All the pictures you see here in our back room are pictures of patients we have helped to get the smile they have been dreaming about.
This was the whole trip… patient. name… I'm glad you came to us. Let's go back to our consultation room”. Purpose of the tour The patient should feel welcome.
The patient must feel that he or she has chosen the right dental office.
The patient receives information about everything the practice can add of value to patients. Without the dentist standing and having to sell something or brag about his own competencies.
Next week, I describe how another 7 elements of the patient experience contribute to making your patients superfans of your dental practice.