Ever since I was little I have been a regular patient at the same dental practice, visiting the same office, in the same building, visiting the same dentist. Obviously, I have no complaints over my dentist. In fact, each time I have visited has been a great experience.
Too often have patients walked into an office and are greeted with a smiling face, attached to a phone, and a finger suggesting “hold on just a minute”. At that point the patient hears, “Yes, we will see you next Thursday, bye!” The receptionist looks up with a smile and offers a simple greeting, checks in a patient, and before the patient even sits down or glances at a magazine, the receptionist picks up the phone again.
That’s not the case at my dentist, and that’s why I cannot even imagine walking into a different practice. The receptionist has time away from scheduling the thousands of overdue patients on file. The practice has someone that specifically does that or has outsourced it. Now, from the moment I walk in the door, I feel welcome. Instead of being greeted be a “just a minute” finger, I am welcomed by a friendly face. As I check in for my appointment, I am indulged in a pleasant conversation. If waiting is required, it’s not a pain. I feel welcome.
Dental practices serve entire families; they are the “family dentist”. Dentists are not gas stations that attract people with their low prices. Patients choose the best dentist for their family. A trip to the dentist does not begin as the patient reclines and says “ah”, it begins the moment they walk in the door.
To ensure patients are getting that family dentist experience each time they visit, the first step through the door is critical. Phones use should be kept to a minimum. Reception needs to receive patrons. Practices should employ a dedicated phone operator to schedule overdue patients, or outsource it to companies like CallForce. The thousands of patients on the call list are precious, but so are those that walk in through the door. Both require great attention, for the best experience.