It shouldn't come as a surprise that the most critical part of your practice's success comes from your patients' satisfaction. Once you start building strong relationships with your patients, the rest will fall into place. It's also essential to highlight that both healthy relationships and patient satisfaction are built on a common foundation: trust. Just as trust is equally important in our personal relationships, it's important with your patients, and it is ultimately the reason they keep coming back to you every time.
This question may be popping into your mind at the moment: "Where do I start?" Well, here are some key points to keep in mind across every interaction you have with one of your patients:
- Start before they sign new patient forms – in the world we live in, every bit of information is at our fingertips. People are so careful that they will often spend some time researching surgeons, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, and making sure they make the best decision for themselves or a loved one. This is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of social media, your website, and other SEO tactics to put yourself in front of potential patients.
It's essential to use social media to your advantage – by posting educational content that shows potential patients that not only are you competent and capable, but passionate about your field. These are the channels to take full advantage of when it comes to before and after photos, videos, how-tos, and more. On the flip side of this, when people see your work and abilities, it helps them decide (hopefully that's you!) quicker. Your website is a good place to house blog posts written by you that is relevant to current and potential patients. Creating an aesthetically pleasing website helps your online reputation, as this is one of the first things many people will look at.
- Effective communication in and out of the office – Since COVID-19 precautions have become part of our everyday life, it's easy to become unclear of what your practice is doing. Before when your patients arrive for the appointment, be sure to communicate specifics before they arrive. Should they stay in their car for temperature checks? Are they being called into the office one at a time? Do they need to come in and answer some questions before their appointment begins? These small yet necessary questions should be communicated to patients beforehand, either by phone, email, or direct mail. It's important to communicate with your patients exactly what's going on during the appointment, whether good or bad. If there is nothing immediately wrong, it's still helpful (and it makes them feel good!) to explicitly tell them, "Good job! Keep doing what you're doing!" During the appointment, it's imperative to keep in mind unspoken communication: your body language. Maintain eye contact, smile when appropriate, and so on, shows your patients you're being open and trying to stay as transparent as possible.
- Utilize, and be responsible for online reviews – Much of your practice's business will be generated by word-of-mouth and online reviews. Encourage patients to leave reviews on the popular review sites and use these channels responsibly to engage with reviews, both positive and negative. Your responses should be respectful, professional, and, most of all, understanding. When you maintain composure when responding to negative reviews, you're showing others that you welcome feedback and are willing to fix the situation. By doing this, you are adding to your integrity and trustworthiness. In some cases, a direct message may be necessary. And of course, don't forget to respond to positive ones and thanking them for trusting you!
From the points mentioned, it's easy to see that your practice is always on a journey, and your main goal is to lead others to you. Your practice is an extension of you and everything that you know and are, so why not do the most so that your practice is viewed in the most positive ways possible?