The American Dental Association (ADA) published a study in 2015, stating that 22% of the individuals are scared to visit a dentist. Have you thought about why that is?
One of the most common reasons for people’s fear of dental treatments is the kind of experience they get at a practice. The sights, smells, and sounds of a dental clinic aren’t pleasing, to say the least, and this keeps people away from committing to treatment.
As a dentist, how can you change this experience for your patients so that they stay committed to better oral and dental care? Well, this mini-guide will provide you with some different ways you can improve your patient’s experience.
Designing the Dental Spa-like Experience
The act of pampering patients to improve their experience at a dental practice is commonly referred to as providing a “dental spa experience.”
If you research the dental spa concept, you’ll find a wide spectrum of options. Some clinics offer massages, some day-care options, and some even include an entire art-gallery inside their clinic. The options can be overwhelming. With a plethora of options possible, how do you design a spa-like experience for your patients?
Since you are trying to improve your patient’s experience, how about you ask them? Whenever patients visit you for treatment, ask them how you can improve their experience. Also, ask them what is the most painful part of their experience, as eliminating them is also important. If your PMS supports it, you can also send out surveys and feedback requests, which will give you insights into what your patients think.
You could also use your imagination to think of the perfect experience, similar to what you see in the attached video. There, it was the doctor’s idea to include dental chairs with a built-in massager and also attach speakers for music, as he thought this would create a better experience for his patients.
But, the chair is not the only touch-point that your patients have with your practice. To improve their experience, you have to improve their experience at every touchpoint, starting with how they find you.
How do your patients discover you? Through your website, social media, or a website like Yelp? Make sure that you are active, courteous, and responsive on each, as these are the first impression that the patient will have.
Next, think about the entire patient’s journey and ways to improve it. Can your patients book an appointment via text or through your website, or do they have to call your clinic?
Once they are at your clinic, are the waiting area seats comfortable? Does your receptionist greet your patients with a smile? Research has shown that hot beverages help build better interpersonal relationships and provides a great impression; have you thought about using them?
Next, think about your clinic’s aesthetics. You might have learned to ignore it, but the smells, sounds, lighting, and even the color of the walls impact how your patients perceive your practice. Bright white lights may be discomforting, while warm yellow lights are usually pleasing to the eyes. If your patients have long wait times, it would also be a great idea to include some entertainment options to keep them engaged.
Next comes the experience of being in the chair, which can frighten most people. Think of all the things you can do to make the experience of your patients better. As you saw in the video, the doctor used the combination of music and a soothing massage to effectively distract the patient and help them forget that they were undergoing dental treatment. Dig deep and figure out how you can do something similar for your patients.
The experience of your patient does not end at the chair. Your patients may feel pain, numbness, or bad taste after their treatment, which isn’t a great experience. A small gesture as simple as offering a pain-relief medication, or a glass of juice will help elevate your patient’s experience multi-fold.
Designing a spa-like experience for your patients means providing them with an environment in which they feel relaxed, and that environment will vary depending on your patients’ preferences.
The dental spa experience can be anything — there are no rules. To design the perfect experience for your patients, you need to have a deep understanding of their needs, provide them with services that will improve their experience, while fitting it together in your business model.
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