Technology is changing the medical industry landscape—including dentistry. A few years ago, it was easy to make patients happy by just treating them well. But, now patients not only expect excellent treatments, they expect greater connectivity, convenience, and more one on one time with their doctors.
But, even all these factors can prove insufficient if you don’t have a great relationship with your patients. Today, building great relationships with your patients isn’t optional; it’s a requirement if you want to sustain your practice.
How to Develop Great Relationships with your Patients?
The basis for building a relationship is communication. Instead of communicating face to face, most of your potential patients will discover you through your website, your social media, or other websites and messaging platforms. Do these platforms represent you and your practice accurately and honestly?
Look at all your communication channels—your website, social media, online profiles, etc. from a potential patient’s perspective. Do you look trustworthy and approachable? Do you come off as a clinical expert? Is there enough social proof for potential patients to decide to contact you? All these factors, and more will decide if a potential patient converts into an actual patient.
Obviously, you can’t treat your patients over the phone or through your website. Eventually, they will have to meet you at your practice. When they do, it presents a great opportunity to start building a long-term relationship. Keep the following tips in mind to create a great first impression.
- Make sure to greet the patient personally, and by their first name—even if they have a hygiene appointment
- Be an attentive listener first, solve their problems later
- Watch out for any signs of the patient being uncomfortable and proactively address their concerns
- Make sure to explain the treatment procedure in a simple language before the treatment. Do this for every appointment
- Don’t bring up finances as the first thing, solve their problems first
- When you’re handing off the patient to another operator, introduce them personally to the patient first
- You won’t be the only person who interacts with the patient; make sure your staff understands the value of a relationship and has the training and skills to create a great impression
The last few minutes of the patient’s consultation are just as important as the first. Here are some additional tips to utilize that time to reinforce your relationship with your patient.
- Give them your undivided attention and listen to their feedback.
- Spend some time to explain the post-treatment care they need to take to maintain good oral health.
- After the appointment concludes, personally escort the patient to the reception area.
- Encourage them to ask questions about their treatment or post-treatment care.
End of consultation is also a great time to encourage the patient to book their follow-up appointment—whether it be for an incomplete treatment, a regular follow-up, or hygiene appointment. This simple step can improve your patient recall drastically. Click there to learn more about improving your patient recall strategy.
Following Up Effectively
It is important to keep actively communicating with your patient after their visit, even if they don’t have an active appointment scheduled. You can call them, send them personalized postcards, text them, or email them. If you have their birthdays, their anniversaries, or other important dates on file, make sure to especially communicate and congratulate them on these dates.
Of course, it is not possible to remember, or even follow up with thousands, or even hundreds of patients manually. You have to use technology to do that at scale. Here, the power of a great patient management system comes into play. If you use a powerful PMS like tab32, then you will be able to automate a lot of communication tasks easily.
For example, you don’t have to keep track of the patients that don’t follow through with their appointments, tab32 can do that automatically and send them reminders based on rules that you set.
Also, different demographics respond better to different modes of communication—millennials prefer texts, while baby boomers respond better to phone calls. With tab32, you can set up follow-up reminders on multiple channels for the best results.
If you want to operate a successful dental practice, then developing relationships with your patients is key. Without relationships, your patients won’t be loyal, and certainly not become advocates of your practice—even if you’re great at what you do. That’s why it is wise to learn how to build excellent, fulfilling relationships with your patients; and following our tips will certainly help.
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