“What can we do to better serve our patients?”
That’s the question we’re constantly asking ourselves in our practice. As we continue to search for new and better ways to improve the overall experience for our patients and their parents, we’ve found that there are numerous opportunities to make a positive impact beyond the point of service. In fact, there’s a lot that can be done over the phone!
Bring a human touch to your automated notifications. Many practices use automated notification systems to remind patients of their appointments. And if you’re not a practice that currently does that, there are many reasons why you should. While the cost and staff time benefits of this technology are significant, going the extra step to ensure you’re delivering quality notifications is a great way to improve the patient experience. More specifically, if you’re using a system to deliver automated voice messages, find a solution that doesn’t sound robotic. Having those calls delivered in a natural-sounding voice makes it easier for patients to understand what’s being said in the message, and frankly, it just makes a better impression.
Small gestures can have big impact. Want to know an extra patient touch point that’s helped us build loyalty? Birthday greetings. A simple phone call or email (which they can view with their mobile device) to our patients to wish them a happy birthday has been worth the time we invest in the activity — especially since we automate it! We frequently receive thanks from patients and their parents for those birthday greetings. Some kids even play the phone calls for their grandparents and friends. It has become an easy way for us to create a “wow” moment for our patients outside of the office.
Go early and often with appointment reminders. One aspect of our appointment communication strategy that’s made a positive impact on our patients is having an emailed or text reminder six days ahead of the appointment date. We still follow that up with an automated phone call the day before the appointment, but I think the biggest benefit comes from that earlier notification. Why? It allows our team to reschedule the patient if needed, and then we can fill that original appointment slot with another patient. Patients and parents have expressed their appreciation for the earlier reminders because it allows them ample time to make any necessary arrangements so they can attend their appointment.
We are always looking for opportunities to create a stronger bond with our patients, and it’s amazing that we continue to find ways to do it outside of our practice’s walls!
For the last 11 years, Dr. Lui Redigonda has been creating beautiful smiles and improving self-esteem for his patients in Stratford and Exeter, Ontario. He is the President of the Ontario Association of Orthodontists and Adjunct Clinical Professor at Western University Graduate Orthodontic Program. Dr. Redigonda was an Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in 2014. Outside of the office, his passion includes family, sports (Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, Chargers), teaching, traveling, magic and reading a great crime novel. http://www.stratfordorthodontics.ca/