Improving Patient Satisfaction And Experience: The Ultimate Guide

Improving Patient Satisfaction And Experience The Ultimate Guide

If you want to run a successful dental practice, you must do your best to retain your patients and attract new ones.

Improving Patient Satisfaction And Experience The Ultimate Guide

A lot of practices make the mistake of focusing too much on marketing to new patients without bothering to keep the patients they have satisfied. 

So, you must ensure that every patient has a great experience at your practice and leaves every appointment and consultation happy and satisfied with the quality and care provided. 

But how? 

Most dental practices find patient satisfaction one of the most challenging and frustrating areas to cover, so we have made the ultimate guide to help dental practitioners everywhere.

Just check out the below advice so you can hit your goals and keep your patients happy! 

Why Patient Satisfaction And Experience Are So Important

Today, our dental patients are customers with the power to test and review your practice services and treatments.

It is now more important than ever to provide a high-quality patient experience to yield higher patient satisfaction rates. 

But why? What’s the point? 

Did you know that one bad patient experience is likely to reach a total of sixteen individuals?

That means every time you provide a patient with a negative experience that severely impacts their satisfaction; they are likely to share it with sixteen potential patients and influence their decision to turn away from your practice.

This can have a serious negative impact on your business’s success.

On the other hand, high patient satisfaction and frequent, regular positive patient experiences can result in a lot of praise and great feedback for your practice.

Your happy patients will recommend your practice to their friends and family, discuss it online, and even leave positive reviews for others to see. This can then have a serious positive impact on your practice’s success. 

So, good or bad, your patient’s experience will always influence your practice’s success which means you need to improve it to keep your practice up and to run. 

Patient satisfaction and experience go beyond treatments.

Although effective treatments are a step toward improved patient satisfaction and experience, there are other areas you need to consider.

From customer service to waiting times to the booking system for appointments, many different factors can influence your patient’s experience. 

If you want to find ways to improve your patient’s experience at your practice and then, by proxy, their satisfaction with your services and treatments, check out the advice below!

We will cover many different areas that can either impress your patients or damage your reputation in their eyes. 

How To Improve Patient Experience And Satisfaction

So, now you know just how important it is to improve your patient’s experience and satisfaction levels, let’s look at how you can do that.

There are many different areas and methods to try, so look at all the options below! 

Simplify Processes And Systems

There are a lot of different processes and systems that your patients will come into contact with while engaging with your practice.

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From booking their appointments online to paying for their treatment, there are lots of complex processes that can have a huge impact on their satisfaction. 

This means you should aim to make these processes as simple and easy as possible.

After all, no one wants to wait forever to pay their bill or go through a series of complicated questions before booking an appointment or consultation with one of your practitioners. 

To achieve this, ensure all your staff are well trained to provide a seamless experience when accepting payments or booking appointments.

With lots of practice, they will be able to speed up the process so patients can quickly complete the tasks they want.

Also, by streamlining the online booking process to just a few simple steps, patients can even book their appointments within a few minutes completely independently and at any time of day. 

All of these improvements to the way your systems and processes are run can have a huge impact on your patient’s satisfaction and allow them to leave your practice feeling proactive! 

Improve Communications With Your Patients

Communication is key when dealing with your patients and not just in the treatment rooms! 

Every staff member needs to appropriately listen to your patient’s needs and queries from when they call up your practice to the follow-up call after their treatment.

This includes your reception staff, dental practitioners, and anyone who contacts your patients. 

Service with a smile is always recommended as it helps improve the overall welcoming spirit of your practice, plus it helps patients feel like they are not being a burden by seeking treatment.

Listening to complaints and solving any issues promptly is also key to show to patients how much your practice cares about their experience. 

There are many different ways your staff can improve how they communicate with patients.

Another popular rule is never to say no, and if your staff is asked a question they don’t know the answer to, they should tell the patient they will find out the answer! 

Eye contact, replying to queries with relevant information, being sympathetic when issues arise, and reassuring and comforting any fears help improve your staff’s communication skills.

This will lead to patients feeling more welcomed by your staff, speed up resolving issues and complaints, and overall improve the quality of care you provide to your patients and, as a result, their experience at your practice.

Cut Down On Wait Times

Long waiting periods are a huge complaint many medical and dental practices face. Patients hate waiting, especially when in pain, plus it can damage the overall professional image of your dental practice.

Most importantly, it can seriously affect the quality of service you provide to your patients, thus lowering their satisfaction by damaging their experience. 

To avoid long waiting periods, you must streamline your business further.

From booking appointments to making sure dentists are proactive during their appointments, encouraging some hustle will help cut down waiting times between each appointment.

Rushing should be avoided, as this can make patients feel like they are not being properly respected and listened to. Find a nice medium between progressive appointments that helps your patients feel cared about. 

You should also have a system that allows for emergency appointments while booking annual checkups months in advance so every one of your patients can keep on track regarding their dental health.

This means that everyone will be able to be seen promptly when they need it the most, meaning no delays and no apologies needed! 

Even answering the phone within two rings means patients aren’t left waiting on the other end.

The longer the phone rings, the more likely a patient will hang up and go elsewhere for their treatment, so make sure someone can quickly answer patient queries and respond to both calls and emails within an appropriate time. 

Improve Patient-Practice Relationships

It’s important to build a relationship between your practice and your patients.

This may sound impossible, but using multiple methods such as an impersonal social media account, friendly staff who enquire about your clients’ general health and wellbeing, and reaching out for feedback all help make each patient feel special and important. 

Some practices even send out birthday cards or ‘thank you cards to long-time loyal patients (and a little gift of a discount or free check-up won’t hurt either!).

This can help patients feel respected, cherished, and thought about. 

It also gives your practice a caring attitude and reputation, which is vital for improving your customer experience. 

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Your staff should be trained to come across as caring as possible with a friendly smile and welcoming greeting to every client who walks through the door.

Be responsive to every query, whether a comment on a social media post, a contact email requesting information, or even a negative review on the practice’s website!

By responding and aiming to resolve complaints, you can show your patients that you care about their opinions and experiences and take on their feedback. 

One of the best ways to show patients you care is to follow up on their appointments with a check-up call that asks how they are doing.

This will help the dentists see how effective their treatments are and allow patients to speak up about things they are not satisfied with and thus, you can act swiftly to apologize and resolve this! 

So, show patients you care and put effort into building a personal bond with each customer. This will inspire loyalty and make them less likely to leave your practice for another. 

Ensure Patient Confidentiality 

One of the biggest concerns many people have these days is data privacy and patient confidentiality.

Too many businesses have been caught selling personal information for their gain, and many receptionists are overheard sharing conversations about other patients. So confidentiality is something you will want to promise your patients. 

First, talk to your staff and undergo training to make them more aware of their surroundings when discussing private topics.

They should not be able to access private files and data, and any information stored online or in databases needs the best security you can afford. 

You can make patient confidentiality a unique selling proposition and install soundproof walls so patients can talk confidently without fear of being overheard – the options are endless. 

Keep Up Your Appearances

Image is everything regarding brand, but it can also impact your patients’ experience. 

For example, the cleanliness of your practice will reflect your business’s image, and as no one wants to sit around a dirty practice, patients will be disgusted to walk into a dusty practice.

So, ensuring hygiene and cleanliness standards are followed and having staff hired to keep the practice clean can help improve patient satisfaction. After all, they will see just how seriously to take your patient’s safety and comfort! 

This also extends to uniforms. Your staff can look much more professional if you set a dress code that reflects your brand.

You don’t have to micromanage every aspect of their appearance but enforcing rules that include sensible shoes or a colour scheme that matches the colours of your logo and brand will help create a unified, professional image for your patients. 

So, think about the cleanliness and decor of your practice. 

Accommodate For Different Needs

Not all patients are the same, meaning some will have more specialized needs than others. 

This is not limited to treatments alone. Others may have mobility issues that require space and ramps for wheelchairs, and others will have guide dogs or support animals that they need to keep at their sides at all times with limited distractions.

So, take this into account when booking appointments and organizing the layout of your practice. 

Alternatively, some patients may have mental illnesses or issues that prevent them from communicating easily or are easily overstimulated by busy environments.

Organizing quiet hours or special times dedicated to treating those with special needs can help make your practice accommodating and accessible to all. 

Even your practice’s working hours will affect who can and cannot visit your practice. Most people work 9 to 5, while children will only be able to visit after school hours or on weekends.

Making your practice more accessible for those who work at unusual times means that they might be able only to attend your practice because yours is the only one open! 

You can even organize a 24-hour contact line where your patients can receive advice or book their appointments at any time of the day. 

Final Thoughts

So, improving your patients satisfaction all comes down to improving the quality of their experiences at your practice. 

You can boost your practice’s reputation and success by following the above guidelines by providing effective treatment, comfortable environments, and welcoming staff and customer service. Good luck!