It’s no secret that the patient experience is what helps practices differentiate themselves. Done well, an effective patient journey turns your patients into champions, which brag about you online, refer new patients, and give you the feedback you need to keep being awesome. In some cases, champions can be the centerpiece of your entire growth strategy.
As we thought about the patient experience, we wondered what some of the greatest minds in the dental space had to say about it. We asked them: Why is patient experience crucial? What can you do to make it better? Most importantly, what role does it play in a practice’s ability to grow? Here’s what three top minds had to say:
“Bonding” With Patients
Dr. Paul Goodman, Founder of Dental Nachos
“Often, people don’t like the dentist. What we dentists do can be annoying and expensive. Getting dental care is about as fun as getting a new furnace. What bonds dentists and their teams is a shared love of helping patients do what they love to do—chew and eat! Creating a fantastic experience for a dental patient takes a coordinated effort that will help you grow your practice in amazing ways. When it comes to bonding (pun intended) with patients, it’s ultra-important they feel good about you as a dental team; it’s about them knowing your people care about them. Dental school tends to focus on technique but being successful in a private practice requires being "top nacho" in multiple "toppings" such as practice management, patient communication and clinical dentistry.”
Thinking About Patient Perception
Kiera Dent, Founder of Dental A-Team
“Patient experience is the reputation of a practice! So, I ask the question: how do you want to be perceived? Disorganized and frantic? Or would you rather be seen as put together, friendly experts—the office of excellence? Now, how do your patients actually perceive you? What we want to be known as versus what we are actually seen as can be two very different things, and this can make or break your practice. Aligning your team and ensuring that patient perception matches your perception can drive a practice to success. Is everyone on your team aiming in the same direction? Do you role play how you, the doctor, wants new patient and recurring patient experience? Does your team know how important this is? Sometimes simply aligning, role playing, and creating an expectation can be all it takes. Your reputation is what gets passed on to friends, families, coworkers, etc. So, I invite you to ask these questions: what do patients really say? Is that what I actually want them to say? If not, change today to become who and what you know you can be.”
Mastering Patient Experience
Dan Johnson, Marketing Director, Acre Wood Dental
"I am a firm believer that we’re in the people business and not the dental business. It’s crucial for us to make sure that we’re treating people as people and not as patients. When we instill this in our teams, they will treat our patients as family. This is a critical piece of our patients’ experience in our office. When we do this, our patients feel the genuine care that we provide and as with anything that is great, they want to share that experience with friends and family. This is essential to any practice growth model. With great patient experience, practices will grow organically through their current patients. One of the greatest compliments we can have is when one of our existing patients trusts us enough to send one of their family or friends to us."
Patient experience is about anticipating and exceeding the needs of your patients. When you can do that, you can bolster your reputation and use the power of word of mouth and online reviews to help your practice rocket to success.
Are you looking for ways to grow your practice using the patients you already have? Check out our infographic Turning Patient Experience Into Practice Growth for more info.