For many, going to the dentist isn’t the most pleasant experience. The mere thought of laying down with one’s mouth open for an extended period while someone pokes around with sharp tools often deters people from coming in for their regular checkups. As such, it’s important to try to improve the patient experience as much as possible to ensure they keep their appointments and get the treatment they need. Improving your patient experience has many other additional benefits, such as improving customer loyalty, increasing the number of patient referrals, and facilitating growth. While it may be difficult to have a great time at the dental office, these effective ways to improve dental patient experience can help make their appointment as pleasant as possible.
Streamline the intake process
Wasted time is one of the biggest contributing factors to a poor dental patient experience. Most patients do not find the idea of dedicating hours of their free time hanging out in a dental office to be very thrilling. They want to get in and out as quickly as possible. One way to ensure patients spend their time as efficiently as possible is to streamline their intake process. After walking into your office, patients should be able to easily check-in and immediately start their intake process. This way they can productively utilize the time they spend waiting for the dentist to update their information, schedule future appointments, and pay.
Create an entertaining waiting environment
A patient’s experience can become tarnished before they even set foot in the examination room if the waiting process is inefficient. Because long wait times are often unavoidable in a dental office, it is important to do whoever you can make that time pass as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to improve your customers’ waiting experience is by providing them with ample entertainment. Make sure to stock your waiting room with magazines, children’s toys, and games depending on your primary patient base. In addition, you could also consider adding a television or charging station for electronic devices to further entertain them during their waiting experience.
Provide free Wi-Fi
Many people look to their smart devices when faced with a situation that involves waiting. Such devices offer endless forms of entertainment that can keep your patients distracted during their wait. However, if your office doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, patients may not be able to use their devices or may have to sacrifice a large chunk of their data. Both options are sure to leave them feeling annoyed and frustrated. Therefore, it is a good idea to offer free Wi-Fi in your office or have the Wi-Fi information displayed somewhere noticeable.
Provide amenities that improve comfort
When it comes to improving your patient experience, comfort should be one of your top priorities. If your patient is uncomfortable during their visit, it is likely to drag on and on. While a slight amount of discomfort is unavoidable when poking around in someone’s mouth, there are many amenities you can offer to help decrease irritation. For example, offering Chapstick to patients to avoid dry, cracking lips or shaded sunglasses to protect their eyes from harsh lights can go a long way for reducing discomfort. Because many patients find visiting the dentist to be a stressful experience, you could also consider diffusing some soothing essential oils in your office to help calm their anxieties. Neck pillows, eye pillows, and hot towels are additional amenities that you can offer to go the extra mile when it comes to improving patient comfort and overall experience.
Provide entertainment in the examination room
Many dental offices put a lot of energy into making their waiting rooms as enjoyable and entertaining as possible. However, they often neglect to do the same for their examination rooms. Staring at the same motivational poster on the ceiling while getting your teeth cleaned can get old fast. To help a patient’s appointment go by as quickly as possible, consider providing some form of entertainment in the examination room, such as dental operatory televisions or music. Such entertainment will help distract patients and make their appointment go by faster.
Invest in high-quality tools and equipment
Time and comfort each play a monumental role when it comes to providing an optimal patient experience. A great way to satisfy both needs is by investing in updated dental tools and equipment. Having high-quality tools can have a huge impact on your patient’s overall experience. While your current equipment may work well enough, it could be preventing you from providing the most efficient and comfortable patient experience. Newer and more advanced equipment will allow you to decrease your patient’s time in the chair while maintaining a quality level of service. Your patients will surely appreciate the time you saved them and will be more likely to report that they had an enjoyable experience at your practice.
Send out feedback surveys after appointments
Nobody provides better advice on how you can improve your patient experience than your patients themselves. One of the best ways to improve your patient experience is to simply ask your patients how you could improve. An easy way to get their feedback is by sending them a review survey after their visit. If they had a poor experience, being able to provide feedback will make them feel heard while also providing you with applicable information on how you can improve your practice. Once you receive such information, don’t just let it collect dust in your mailbox. Try to implement changes in your office that will help improve their experience in the future.
Hopefully, these ways to improve your dental patient experience ensure that your patients always leave with a shiny smile on their faces.
Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions is a leader in dental practice transition planning, sales and valuations, dental practice financing, and buyer representation. If you are in the process of selling or purchasing a dental practice, we have the skills, experience, and expertise to facilitate a smooth transition for all parties involved. For more information regarding our services, contact us today.