What are your dental prospects looking for?
The bottom line is that all of them are looking for someone to solve their dental problems. But there are two distinct groups within your prospects – those who are primarily price- and insurance-driven, and those who aren’t.
That second group has the patients you need to grow your practice and succeed.
There are many people in the U.S. population with the discretionary income to choose a dentist based on their expectations of a superior outcome, which includes a superior patient experience.
That’s a crucial distinction in these days of declining insurance reimbursements and increased competition from corporate dentistry. Corporate dentistry is, at its heart, impersonal. It’s common for patients who return to the same corporate practice to be seen by different dentists and hygienists. For the price-driven, this isn’t a big deal; they assume that dentists are competent and that one is as good as another.
The segment of the population that values a superior experience is looking for a dentist and dental practice that they trust and relate to. When you establish yourself as the trusted dental expert who can solve their problems, and your practice as the preferred choice for a superior patient experience, those “better” patients will respond.
What Makes a Superior Experience?
People with a large amount of discretionary income seldom stay at budget hotels. They’re interested in a certain amount of comfort, agreeable surroundings, and superior amenities and service.
Those people are looking for the same things in your practice. Service begins with their initial contact with your marketing. If they leave a comment on your website or social media, they expect a reply. Otherwise, they expect and appreciate responsive, concerned yet professional service while booking the initial appointment.
Your next opportunity to meet their expectations is when they drive up to your practice. Having a hyper-modern building usually isn’t necessary, but your setting should appear reasonably modern and meticulously maintained. The same holds for your reception area/waiting room. Comfortable furniture is a must. Amenities such as a complimentary beverage bar, agreeable music, carefully-tended potted plants, and guest wi-fi access count.
Your operatories must be spotless and offer something to distract nervous patients. Windows with nature views are good, as are headphones to allow them to listen to music or in-room television. From a comfort standpoint, warm blankets for the easily chilled and refreshing face towels should be offered.
Above all, the attitude of you and your staff will determine your patient’s experience. Expertise is expected; what your better patients want is the sense that they’ll be cared for and taken care of no matter what. Taking all the time necessary to answer patients’ questions, and to detail – to the extent that they want – how you’ll meet their dental needs and take care of them will help meet those expectations.
Your better patients, the ones who aren’t primarily price-driven, are the key to growing your practice, increasing your receipts, and driving your success. Provide these patient with superior experiences, and you’ll thrive in spite of the challenge of corporate dentistry.