A good relationship with patients is without a doubt one of the most important elements of having a successful practice. Having clinical skills and up-to-date equipment will not mean anything if patients will not set foot in your practice.
Establishing this good relationship with your patients is a daily thing. With that in mind, we dive into a few factors that will help you not only establish a good rapport but keep a long-lasting relationship with your patients.
Listen, establish, and respect the patients’ needs
Rapport is learned with time and practice. The first step is listening. An estimated 30 to 40 million Americans do not visit the dentist due to fear and anxiety. With these figures in mind take the time to listen to any concerns a patient might have. making a patient overcome anxiety can be done in many ways
- Try by all means to make the patient more comfortable, this could be through improving the atmosphere of the office or your conduct with them.
- Offer distractions while in the dental chair.
- Shorten the time they spend in your waiting room.
Assure them that they are not only in a dental office but also in the hands of a caring friend because ultimately building a relationship is the goal.
Educate the Patient
Anxiety is usually born of fear. Patients have a false image of a dental appointment being characterized by excruciating pain and nothing else. Shedding a little light on this will go a long way. To a patient who is well versed with coming to the dentist, a direct approach is welcome but to a patient who is clearly agitated, you might need to rewrite the way you speak and interact.
The more you educate your patients, even before they schedule an appointment with you. The less likely they are to be afraid. As a general rule, people gravitate to where they feel safest. So the more patients know about how well you handle them the more likely they are to come to you and your practice.
Front Desk Technology
A good rapport goes beyond the dentistry aspect itself. A patient doesn’t want to feel inconvenienced by your practice. Efficiency goes a long way. Give patients the option of doing everything from online appointment requests to paying outstanding bills and accessing their oral health histories at a click.
Patients usually had a lot of questions at any given time. Have your front desk automated so as to cater to their concerns. Such efficiency translates to a satisfied patient who will definitely be a good recommendation point for you.
Have an active Website
Your practice website is the first thing your patients are going to interact with. A well-crafted and updated website does wonders when making an impression for your patients. Keep your website as informative and engaging as you can and showcase the brand, personality, and culture of a dental practice, helping patients feel at home before they ever step foot into the office.
Garnish your website with photos of the staff along with personal, heartfelt bios. Make the dental team more accessible and the dentist less intimidating. You can also post blogs and videos. These can be great terrific boosters.
Your practice has to be relatable to build a good rapport. Increasing your social media presence does this in spades. Facebook, Instagram, tweeter, and LinkedIn are a sure way of staying connected to your patients. With a well-crafted plan of action, social media doesn’t only build rapport but will also increase your patient flow.
Close to 84 % of patients trust online reviews. These have almost taken the place of personal recommendations. For clarity, health care comes third after restaurants and hotels as the most-searched-for type of business for online reviews. As many patients leave positive reviews of your practice your rapport is building itself in a positive direction.
While it’s one thing to make payments convenient, the cost of the treatment can be another barrier to patients seeking your expertise. Offering payment options that go beyond traditional methods will help your image and overall rankings. Having such options in place shows a level of commitment to helping patients that goes beyond making a profit.
Methods you can put in place right now:
1. Use names
Using a patient’s name ( if they are not particular) seems like a negligible thing but using titles like ‘sir’ and ‘ ma’am’ make you seem generic and detached. Having someone hear their name makes them more comfortable and makes you “feel” authentic to them.
2. Try to stay upbeat
You might be going through a bad day but the patient has it worse. Try being as positive as you can when interacting with patients. This helps make them more comfortable and open.
3. Explain what you’re doing
Even if your patient ‘knows the drip’ it is always a good thing to tell them what you are doing before you do it. Besides calming a patient down this helps avoid any mishaps from a startled patient.
4. Show Empathy
Deliver more personalized patient care. Communicate and act on your understanding of your patient.
5. Keep Your Word
Honesty is the best way to build a good rapport with your patients. If you say you are going to do something, DO IT! If anything changes and you can’t deliver then quickly communicate with your patient. Never make a promise that you won’t deliver this not only builds a good rapport but it also builds trust.
A good reputation can never be emphasized enough. To have a well-running practice you need to make sure you have patients that can vouch for you and make you a recommendation of choice to all they know.
SupportDDS is a leading Texas-based in-sourcing company that provides virtual assistants and administrative support for dental practices. Moreover, we provide both short and long term virtual outsourcing services customized to suit your business process needs.