Priscilla Liu (July 15, 2015)
Having a customer-centric approach is essential for the healthcare industry. In order to achieve this, a strategy should be developed which goes beyond simply ensuring that your staff builds strong relationships with patients. For those working in the dental industry it is important to make sure that your clinic offers additional value to your patients by creating a comfortable experience for them from the moment they call you to schedule an appointment till the point when they complete their visit. It is all about showing your patients that you care and this has to be done at every point of their contact with your clinic. Every possible effort should be made to provide exceptional customer care to patients. Here are some tips that will help you do that.
Your first opportunity to deliver excellent customer service begins when clients call and arrange appointments. Make sure that your receptionist manages the process in a competent manner. Does he/she greet customers warmly? Are clients only asked to give their basic details or does your receptionist actually take the time and effort to learn more about them, especially if they are calling for the first time?
Also, customers may ask for information before making an appointment. Check to see if your front desk is prepared to answer their questions. For example, clients might want to know about the services that you offer, your fees etc. Ensure that they are provided with the maximum relevant information. Consider a scenario in which a customer asks about the price of a tooth filling. Instead of jumping straight to the cost, your front desk employee should first inform him/her that the cost varies depending on the size of the cavity. It gives the client the impression that your clinic is attentive to individual customer requirements and they would be then happy to make appointments at your dental clinic. Moreover, try to fix appointment timings in accordance with patients’ preferences. Allow them to visit you at their ease and convenience.
Customers pay a great deal of money to get the best dental treatment. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the things that matter to them. Keep your clients’ records safe and do not share their details with any third party. Your customers trust you with their information and it is your responsibility to keep it between them and your dental team. Expect patients to discuss dental care plans and treatment options with you. Engage in active listening and give them room to speak to you about whatever it is that they might have on their minds. Maintain eye contact with them at all times and respond proactively. These gestures show your sincere interest in what customers have to say and it also gives customers the impression that you are ready to put their needs ahead of everything else.
Most people are afraid of going to dentists and it can be challenging to overcome their fear. Always talk to your patients to make them feel better before doing anything. Imagine a situation where you are dealing with a crying child who will not sit still for the treatment. Start by getting him/her to confide in you. Say something like ‘Do not be afraid. I will take care of whatever is bothering you and you will have perfect teeth in no time’. Similarly, other patients, regardless of how they may test your patience, come to your clinic for a reason and they deserve your utmost attention.
Customers may also have low self-esteem about their teeth problems and they might be unhappy about how it affects their physical appearance. Try to find out if they have shared these concerns with their families and friends. If not, assure them that there is no reason to be discouraged and do everything you can to help them if they discuss such experiences with you. Never miss out on an opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with them by showing that you understand them.
Give customers your best smile when they enter your clinic. Keep magazines in your lobby so that customers waiting for their turns can pass the time by reading. Make sure that your front desk employee ushers them to your room when it is time to serve them. Ask your patients about their families, lifestyles, careers, hobbies etc. before proceeding with the treatment. It reduces stress and puts them in a better mood. Offer them napkins, blankets and neck pillows for maximum comfort. Use modern dental equipment to obtain more accurate and efficient diagnosis of customers’ dental problems and to provide painless treatment. Educate patients about their food and drink intake after treatment and give them advice on how they can maintain good dental care habits. Thank them warmly before they leave and follow up by contacting them every once in a while to inquire about their health and dental well-being.
Going out of your way to do something extra for your patients can make the difference in how highly they think of your dental clinic. The key is to always do something special for your customers that will differentiate you from your competitors. For example, offer them a beverage while they are waiting, send them custom greeting cards or text messages for special occasions such as New Year, anniversaries, birthdays etc. Provide regular customers with free teeth scaling services etc. Request patients to fill customer satisfaction surveys and ask for suggestions on how you can make your services more worthwhile for them. These little gestures go a long way in helping you earn customer loyalty and getting repeat business.
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