Second Story Blog

How to Cater to the New Patient

No matter the industry, people today expect more from their customer experience than ever before. In the dental industry, like others, a good patient experience isn’t enough — patients want to feel like their provider truly values their business. In other words, they want to be treated like a VIP.

How do you show new patients your commitment to them so they keep coming back? To make sure they don’t even consider a competitor, try these pointers.

Inform patients. Prior to visiting your office, patients may look on your website to learn what to expect, so consider including a video in the new patient section that highlights what to expect when visiting. Choose to feature a staff member to help patients put a face to a name even before they arrive.

Give personal attention. When greeting them in the office, use the first name of patients, and offer to give them a tour so they can get better acquainted with your building and staff. Patients will recognize the extra time you take to show them around to ensure they feel comfortable and informed. Tell them you’re there to help without being too forward or pushy.

Treat patients like real people. That is, after all, what they are. Consider sending a personal email or handwritten card on their birthday, or send them a relevant promotional item to share in their celebration. It will show them you care about them as a person and not just a source of business.

Communicate. Are you welcoming a new dentist to the office, or is there a new check-in process? Communicate any updates to patients by sending them an email or letter in the mail, and also by keeping your website current. Sharing information with patients so they’re not surprised by changes will build their trust in your practice.

Thank them. It’s hard to do this too much: Thank your patients for coming in to receive care, even if it’s multiple times throughout the visit. Just make sure it’s authentic, as people can tell when you aren’t being genuine. During the holidays, try offering them a small gift card to convey how much they mean to you.

Listen to feedback. Getting feedback is crucial to improving the patient experience. Have patients fill out a short comment card before they leave to be placed in a basket by the door. Keeping it anonymous will help patients feel they can be honest and that their opinion matters.

Treat staff members well. You can tell a lot about a business by how they treat those who work there. Inspire staff loyalty by thanking them often, treating them with kindness and respect, and acknowledging their hard work in front of others. The more you do, the more they’ll talk about how wonderful it is to be associated with you.

Stay presentable. Does your practice’s sign out front look attractive? Could you stand to add some plants or flowers near the front door? Being presentable will help people feel at home, and it will show that you’ve thought about their entire experience, from the moment they pull into the parking lot until the moment they walk out the door.

The most important thing is to be genuine while treating your patients — especially new patients — with the utmost care and respect. They’ll be sure to notice.