Back To School With Your Patient Experience

Our back to school topic this week is a BIG one.  While they are all vitally important and you can’t have one without the other, this one is an absolute difference maker.

We’re talking about going back to school with your Patient Experience.

Now, it’s important that you understand your patient experience (and your expectations for your practice more broadly), are vastly different from that of the ‘run of the mill’ average dental practice. 
Thus, then we talk about ‘back to school’ and remembering the basics for your patient experience, we are talking about high-level, secondary education – not elementary school.

But first, why does going back to school with your Experience matter so much?  That’s because everything is a product of your experience.

The degree you are able to help your patients all relates back to your ability to deliver an exceptional experience that builds trust in trust and creates a desire for dentistry.  Your practice culture, your profitability, your schedule structure, your treatment planning, everything comes back to your patient experience and what it is and what it isn’t.

That includes the very systems you have in place to hold yourselves accountable.  It needs to be consistent and congruent every time no matter who is doing it.

A simple back to school exercise to do as a team is writing out step by step in detail everything that happens with each type of patient.  That includes a new patient, a hygiene patient, a patient doing a portion of their treatment plan, an emergency patient, or a specialty procedure.

If there isn’t clarity on the protocols, how can you have a consistently high quality and effective experience?  That should be the standard: a comprehensive experience every single time with every patient.

Since this is a Monday Morning Huddle and not a deep dive, let’s review the basics…

How is your phone call moving patients forward on their journey, making them better patients, giving you information to enhance their experience, and most of all make it more personal?

What happens between the phone call and the front door?  Is your welcome process dialed in and effectively preparing patients for their visit?  Who is responsible for improving it?

What happens from the front door to the exam room?  How are they greeted?  Are you doing a tour and if so, how can it be enhanced?  Are patients waiting alone, what is made available for them to read or watch?

Do you have a culture where everyone at any moment in time who encounters a patient even if just passing in the hallway acknowledges them with an uplifting exchange?

Does your experience come to life for your patients?  Do you have material that represents your vision, mission, philosophy, and goals for your patients all over your office that move patients forward?

As an aside, next week, we will be hitting this topic more in-depth as we go back to school on patients’ health.

How do you communicate between team members and use the Triangles of Trust?  How do you present treatment, collect payment up front, and schedule the next appointments?

It doesn’t stop there.  It continues once they walk out the door.  What follow-up is done with each patient?  How is pending or unscheduled treatment ultimately confirmed to start the process all over again?

The reality is there are certainly gaps in your patient experience or at least opportunities to make enhancements.  It is easy to fall into transactional visits instead of focusing on relationship visits.

You can ask yourself what is the purpose of our experience and what can we do to take it to a higher level of experiential dentistry with your patients.

Think about the little nuances that matter, the smile, the tone, the pace, the questions, and the dialogue you create with your patients.

I always like to say the goal is to make sure dentistry is something that happens with people not to people… how does your experience accomplish that goal? 

As with all back to school sessions, you have to make the grade to pass.

Have each individual team member grade their own portion of the patient experience and then outline ways they can increase the effectiveness and make it more about relationships with patients.

In the end, this is about making sure you are bringing to life your passion for helping people improve their health.  Create your study plan to ensure your experience is operating at an A+ level with every patient every time.