It is now the beginning of 2020 and everything you intended to do at the end of the year might have been implemented or might’ve been pushed aside for bigger and better ideas. For our company, every year we like to put out a “Letter from the CEO” which contains a message of how much we’ve grown and all the tools we can provide to help dental clients also grow. If you’re interested in learning more, click here to read the letter in its entirety.
In the letter, our CEO Alex talks about how we can help to make Canadian dental offices run more efficiently and smoothly while increasing profit. He focuses solely on the customer. While reading, I realized something: a customer-focused approach does not just apply to companies like ours. To start the year off right, it might be time for your office to implement the same principle, if you haven’t done so already.
What is the customer-centric approach?
A customer-centric approach is an approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer by maximizing service and building relationships.¹
This is basically our business model, but for the sake of the dental industry, I will call it something else — The Patient-Centric Approach. Have you adopted this approach or is there still work to do? Ask yourself the following questions about your dental practice:
- Is your focus solely on the patient?
- Do you provide a positive experience from the moment they walk in until they leave?
- Are you giving your patients all the resources they need to contact you?
- Are they provided proper patient education?
- Do you have the tools necessary to make this a long-term goal in your office with your entire team on board?
Providing a positive patient experience is crucial to a clinic adopting a patient-centric approach. Below, I cover the three areas required to do just that: attitude, education, tools.
Whether by changing the design and reading material in your waiting room, always greeting with a smile, or choosing the right kind of tools and software to help your patients connect easier and faster with you and those in your office, keep in mind that everything must be chosen with your patients in mind.
When your focus is patient-centric, the attitude of everyone in your office should foster a positive atmosphere. All it takes is a bright inviting waiting room and a smile to make your patients feel like you are putting their needs first over your bottom line.
We’ve all been patients and we all know what it feels like when our dental health care professional is not focusing on us but on the money we bring in by being there. This is why it is important to focus your attitude towards caring for the patient in a way that makes them feel safe and well taken care of.
Negativity breeds negativity so if there are issues with team members butting heads or visibly high-stress situations going on, this can affect how patients feel and whether or not they will return. Remember that everyone needs to be on board with your decision to choose the patient-centric approach.
A patient-centric approach also means helping to educate your patients in every way possible, whether by reading materials, such as brochures and magazines made available in the waiting room, outside communication, such as a blog or Facebook posts, or just being prepared as a dental health professional to answer the tough questions patients might have involving their health
Every moment is a learning opportunity. If you know something I don’t about how to better my routine, let me know. If you don’t make the next appointment in the chair, I recommend it as not just a customer-centric method but also as a way to increase profits. You have a better chance of booking an appointment right there in the chair than you do just sending the patient to the reception.
If you have a website, a blog, or social media OR you have it all, use these platforms to educate your patients. Focus each blog post, social media post, and communication via website or email specifically to their needs and keep them coming back to learn more.
In the annual Letter from our CEO, Alex offers new ways to increase production, but these solutions will also solidify your commitment to making your office a patient-centric one:²
- Attract New Patients through Social Media with the help of Gustin Quon Marketing — we offer our clients an opportunity to work with Gustin Quon marketing to review websites, social media platforms and other areas you might or might not be utilizing to attract and keep new patients.
- Integration to VoIP Phone System — This software integrates with an internet phone system and provides your front staff with all the relevant information about the patients calling in. This removes the need to remember patient information or dig up tasks from multiple placeholders, saving your staff time and increasing the level of service provided to your patients.
- MaxiReminder (Reminder and Recall System) — This system helps you connect with your patients sooner and your patients to connect with you.
Assess the tools in your office and see how many cater to new and existing patients. Ask yourself if your patients have multiple ways of contacting you, if, for them, it’s easy and up to date.
Adopting a Patient-Centric approach will help you better connect with and understand your patients. You will be more in touch with their health needs and their preferences, which will, in turn, give your patients a reason to come back.
But a patient-centric approach requires patience and commitment. So when you are about to make a decision regarding your practice and your team, make sure to ask if that decision will have a positive effect on your patients as well.