The dental community is generally an under appreciated one, especially because many patients aren’t excited to see you. Hey, we know dental health is important, but for many they just aren’t thrilled. Whether it’s because you’re often the bearer of pain and bad news or because they’ve had previous bad experiences, some people just aren’t excited to see your smiling faces.
It all comes down to not feeling welcomed into your office. We may love teeth, but the thought of the dentist can often send patients into a frenzy of why they shouldn’t come in. Instead of giving them reasons to avoid our wonderful selves, let’s create an environment they’ll love.
How You Can Make Your Patients Excited to See You?
Your Staff Is Too Businesslike
We get it it, offices can be chaos, especially when you're running behind and insurance companies are being their usual irritating selves. But the ultimate focus should be on the patients, because they’re the lifeblood of your practice.Is there a receptionist that’s the first to see patients walk in? Empower them to greet patients, offer them something to drink (er, water…), and ask about their day. If they sense the patient is classified as “only here because mom told them they would die from the toothache”, receptionists can communicate with the hygienist.
This means the whole team can make a concerted effort to create a friendly environment and minimize the focus on completing the appointment and moving onto the next. While it may be impossible to completely distract them from the weird scratching on their teeth, it’s always worth the effort.
Your Office Is Too Sterile
Okay, yes, this is a medical office and it’s supposed to be sterile. But you can still make it feel welcoming! While some dental offices may have a few creaky chairs and outdated magazines with gum in the pages, we think you’re better than that.
Fresh flowers, recent magazines or books, calming decor, and the aforementioned friendly receptionist can create a cohesive, welcoming, and “homey” environment for these patients. Invest in some comfy couches, chairs that don’t creak, and maybe some magazines that aren’t People or US Weekly. (No judgement, just… well okay, yes, we kind of are.)
But you should probably ignore our judgements because these fluffy magazine may still be a valuable resource. What distracts people from the impending doom of a root canal like the Kardashian’s latest stunt?
You’re Rushing Your Appointments
Some patients may have a lot of questions or need more time because of nerves. Try to be as accommodating as possible with these patients, whether it’s helping them get settled or answering their million questions. (Yes, flossing is important. Yes, cavities are a thing.)
No matter how much you want to get to that next round of golf, take the time to talk and listen to your patients. We know that you’re killing your golf swing and there’s no way you’re going to lose and have to buy a round of drinks, but that extra five minutes won’t hurt you. If anything, the suspense on the part of your waiting golf partners is totally worth it. We know you’ll win.
Some patients may be predisposed to avoiding you at all costs. While there may not be much you can do about that, you can make it more likely for them to see you. Their lack of excitement is probably not a reflection on your practice, rather the industry as a whole. By creating a welcoming environment and minimizing the business aspect of their visit you can create an environment where they’re at least a little bit excited to see you.