PennWell Dental Community
Dental practitioners need to be more effective in communicating with their patients. Your communication skills as a dentist plays a vital role in your practice’s success. Dental practitioners are evaluated by how well they communicate with their patients, whether it’s everyday conversations or utilizing software to explain dental procedures.
Years of dental practice experience has taught us how to effectively communicate with our patients within the walls of our dental office and examination rooms. But, how can we communicate effectively with our patients outside of our dental office? It is important for dental practitioners to keep in touch with our patients after they leave our dental office.
Get Online Where the People Are
The world of communication has changed with the birth of the cyberspace. People are now starting to communicate with various social media vehicles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. We have a fascinating world where our patients are more visible than in past years -- and that means we need to be where our patients are if we want to be visible in their world.
On the flip side, though, we don’t want to flood our patients with too much information. What we should do is enough communication with our patients to make them feel that we are interested with them. You don’t need to even continually talk about how great your practice is and the services you provide, but also provide news and information that’s of interest..
It can be said that the confirmation process is the most disliked protocol by any dental team. It is through the appointment reminders and phone calls that we are able to organize the schedule of incoming patients. However, it is necessary because people get busy and forget and a forgotten appointment means missed income for the practice.
Some patients still prefer the phone call, but many practices are starting to transition to sending SMS messages and emails to confirm appointments. There are several advantages to this. First, many email programs will automatically insert the accepted appointment, such as “appointment with my dentist in tulare ca Dr. James DDS into the patient’s calendar who will then receive automated reminders leading up to the appointment. So, it’s advantageous, actually, to send this confirmation notice out as soon as the appointment is booked and then follow-up with another email reminder close to the appointment. Second, you will be surprised that numerous patients will check their email and SMS and confirm their scheduled appointments.
If this is how the majority of our patients are communicating with each other, then we need to make sure we can communicate with them in their preferred method. This also means that you need to ask your patients which type of communication they prefer.
Online payment systems
Many companies, businesses and service providers now allow patients and clients to pay their bills online. This makes it possible for a patient or client to make payment when it’s convenient for them. It is not unusual for some patients to pay their bills past midnight. Electronic billing and payment methods have significantly affected our way of life and spending habits.
Create a link on your website that will bring your patients to an online payment portal to make their transactions. Make sure that this online payment portal is secured and encrypted. Through this portal, your patients can see their account and make their payments electronically. By giving your patients access to their account anytime, patients will feel that you understand their busy schedules.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
In the past, it seemed that only bigger businesses can afford to conduct customer satisfaction surveys, which is most unlikely for smaller businesses like a dental office. There are now easy online platforms that allow any size company to conduct customer satisfaction surveys in a most cost effective way. Through the customer satisfaction survey, we can find out where we need to improve, what we need to keep doing, and what we need to stop doing. The best way to do this is to send a confidential survey link via email. Make sure the instructions clearly state the deadline for completing the survey, and offer some kind of reward for submitting the completed survey to show appreciation for their time.