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Should patients be treated more like consumers?

Examining the way you approach the dentist-patient relationship can help you achieve a better patient experience.  Whether they’re ordering a pizza or shopping for clothing, consumers in every sector have come to expect a very high level of service – and this is increasingly true for patients of dental surgeries too.

However, healthcare in general is a bit late to the customer-centric approach. Patients practically expect to be told to wait two weeks for a doctor’s appointment, and even simple tasks like organising a repeat prescription can be fraught with difficulty. But just because a patient expects to have less-than-stellar service doesn’t mean a dental surgery shouldn’t try to provide a seamless experience.

In fact, the healthcare sector is the perfect place for customer-centric innovation, and dental surgeries can get ahead of their competition by treating their patients more like consumers. Here are three tips for achieving this:

1. Drive engagement

Getting people involved in their own dental health can improve their smiles and increase business at your surgery. Hamish Grierson, co-founder and CEO of Thriva, a company that offers finger-prick blood test kits, told Marketing Week that the founding principle behind his company is the desire to stop people living in ignorance about what is going on inside their bodies.

“It’s all about giving people control and empowering them, ultimately to ensure they make good on the truism that prevention is better than cure,” he said.

2. Use accessible marketing materials

From informational leaflets to your website, making all of your customer communication friendly and accessible is key. Mr Grierson describes the perfect marketing materials as “friction-free”, in that they reflect consumer needs and provide instant gratification.

“When you think about any engagement when it comes to health, for the most part, it is the antithesis of that. One of the goals for our company is to hold on to the very highest accessibility and friction-free standards you have come to expect from any product developed today,” he explained.

Thriva’s website, for example, uses fun and colourful graphics. It’s hyper-intuitive and uses simple language that everyone can understand, without talking down to anyone.

3. Ensure everyone on your team is well trained

Every member of the team at your dental surgery is responsible for providing the highest level of service to your patients – including the reception team, the nurses and dentists.

To ensure every patient who visits your practice has the best experience possible, regular training is a must. If you’d like to find out more about how Designer Dental can help improve the customer service at your dental surgery, and ensure patients are treated more like a discerning consumer, please get in touch.

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