If you’re not the owner of the dental practice where you work, you may think that you can’t make changes or do not have the power to make improvements to help the average patient’s experience. However, there are things you can do to help patients have a good experience within the office when they come in to visit. As someone who deals with patients each day, you are uniquely positioned to hear their concerns and bring them to the practice manager or dentist to affect change.
Listen to the Patient’s Symptoms
Many patients are unsure what symptoms are indicative of a serious problem and which can be solved through simple dental care. They view you as an expert who can provide them with insight and guidance. Instead of rushing through the pre-exam questions, take the time to listen to the concerns they have and the issues they are presenting. Taking the time to listen before offering them suggestions and solutions will help patients to feel that you truly care and want to help. This lays the foundation for a good relationship and happy experience for the patient. It can also provide valuable insight to the dentist who provides the care. Remembering these symptoms may help the dentist to get to the bottom of the issue.
Increase Patient Comfort in Small Ways
Small adjustments to the office environment can make a big difference within the dental office. Although you may not own the office or have the power to make changes on your own, you can note the parts of the office that are less than comfortable or that cause patients to complaint for discussion with the practice manager or dentist. While every change cannot be made at the same time, these things can be addressed bit by bit until all of the changes have taken effect. Some small changes that may be easy to make include:
- Temperature inside the dental office
- Extended hours of operation on certain days
- Entertainment options in the waiting area
- Children’s entertainment options
- Refreshments selection
Keep Things Moving at a Regular Pace, Even When You’re Behind Schedule
Patients hate waiting, and having them sit around and wait to be seen is an easy way to get off on the wrong foot in any dental appointment. If you know that patients are waiting on you, there may not be anything you can do to decrease the wait. But you can visit them in the waiting area and let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them, apologize for the wait and see if there is anything you can get them while they wait. Almost everyone is late from time to time and the patient is likely to be understanding as long as you keep them informed.
There are many ways that you can help each patient to have a great experience. Keeping a positive attitude is the best way to ensure every patient you see has a great experience.