Patient experience continues to be the top success driver for healthcare providers. Whether the experience is online, offline, or in-person, each patient communication channel plays a part in the overall patient experience. Successful experiences are essential to establishing a foundation for keeping patients engaged and improving patient retention. One way to improve patient communication is to use technology.
Schedule Appointments Online
Life has changed, and few patients are going to stop by the office to make an appointment. If your dental office has long wait times for answering calls, patients and potential patients will become frustrated and hang up. Offering patients the option of scheduling an appointment online makes sense.
People have become more comfortable with technology. They use the internet for everything from buying groceries to scheduling appointments. Giving patients the option to schedule appointments when it’s convenient for them eliminates frustrations and improves the patient experience. It’s much easier to coordinate family schedules when everyone is present, which doesn’t happen during regular dental office hours.
Think of online scheduling as having 24/7/365 office hours. No wait times. No trips to the office. Just improved patient communication.
Send Appointment Reminders
Routine dental cleaning and checkups are part of any treatment plan. How many people will remember an appointment that occurs every six months? Even if they enter the appointment into their phone, that doesn’t mean it will be there in six months. Technology isn’t perfect. Phones break. Data is lost. Patients may even enter the appointment incorrectly.
Providing appointment reminders improves customer service by ensuring that patients are aware of an upcoming appointment. Giving patients enough notice-so they can adjust their schedules if they did forget-reduces the odds of a cancellation or a no-show.
With the right technology, your office can automate the process of patient communication, freeing office staff to do other tasks. How much time do employees spend making calls or sending emails to remind patients of an upcoming appointment? Couldn’t their time be spent providing better customer service?
Communicate Treatment Plans
Engaged patients are healthy patients. Letting patients see their treatment plans from anywhere at any time increases the chances that they will follow through. For example, providing videos that show how to floss properly enables patients to follow a treatment plan for gum health. For dental procedures, online instructions for at-home care can help patients address any concerns they have.
Use your website as a resource for patient communication. If they injure a tooth, provide guidance for after-hour care. If a crown comes off, explain how to temporarily reset it until they can get to the office. Posting valuable information about dental care keeps patients engaged and offers a positive patient experience. Using technology can help provide more exceptional customer service.
Improve Customer Service
Extend your practice’s customer service beyond the office. Let patients know that you appreciate their business. Send follow-up emails to patients that had a difficult procedure performed. Include their treatment plan as a courtesy.
Draft a thank-you note to send to patients after routine checkups and cleanings. Use the opportunity to reinforce good dental hygiene and to ask for feedback on their experience.
The more interaction your practice has with patients the stronger the engagement. Every patient contact does not have to be in person. As technology has become a part of everyday life, people no longer see electronic communication as impersonal. Finding ways to engage with your patients strengthens your relationship and may lead to referrals or positive feedback.
Get Feedback From Your Clients
Ask for feedback. Receiving patient reviews is an essential part of growing any dental practice. Recent surveys found that:
- Almost 80% of patients use online reviews when selecting a healthcare provider
- Over 60% check ten or more reviews
- 30% of patients will avoid a poorly-rated provider
Unfortunately, unhappy patients are more likely to complain than happy patients are to share their experiences. That doesn’t mean they won’t share them, they may just need to be encouraged.
Use technology to encourage feedback by sending an email asking for a review, or to rate a recent visit. Create a space on your website for patients to leave comments about their experiences. Again, happy patients may need a little push before they will share their experiences.
Looking to Improve Your Patient Communication?
Technology is the best way to improve client communication without adding stress to an already overwhelmed staff. Leveraging your website and social media presence can improve patient engagement outside your dental office. Using automated technology to send reminders can reduce the number of no-shows. Transmitting treatment plans for difficult procedures can ensure positive outcomes.
Emails are a great way to say “thank you” or show your appreciation. These emails can be automated and personalized with the right technology. These added communication channels also do not have to consume staff time as technology can be leveraged to do the work for you.
Erickson Dental Technologies has the expertise to help your dental practice find the best tools for communicating with your clients. Whether it is adding functionality to a website or generating automated emails, our knowledgeable staff can help you find the best technical solution for your needs.
Contact us if you are looking for ways to improve your patient communication.