The power of PX: Why Patient Experience Matters
It’s true that patients can be tricky at times but without them, where would your business be? The simple fact is that patients are consumers, and they move with the times, but this can leave businesses needing to constantly adapt and change in order to meet customer expectations and stay ahead of the game.
Without question, technology has completely altered the consumer landscape, a fact exacerbated by the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. Customers have moved away from the high street to the comfort of their sofas and the convenience of mobile devices, with no prospect of returning any time soon.
Dentistry needs to react fast to these social changes and clinicians need to understand not only what their patients need, but what they want. This can be difficult for a sector unused to patients leaving practices and searching for dental care elsewhere, but it’s happening right now.
Just do an online search for ‘dentist near me’ and see the competition revealed in the search results. Make no mistake, this is how patients are searching for and finding practices in the digital era. Why would they walk around town searching out a dentist, when all the information they need is on a screen right in front of them?
Step into your patients’ shoes for a moment and think about how you can capture their interest and think about the simple steps you can take to improve, utilising technology that’s already available.
Make it easy
A well-designed practice website is all very well, but think for a moment what its real purpose is? Then consider whether your patients can book an appointment online with you there and then - regardless of whether it’s 11.30pm or 6.00am? Every prospect who visits your site is a potential new patient and if they can’t book there and then their interest can be lost….for ever. Booking online also means one less phone call to deal with in the practice, meaning hard-pressed receptionists have more time for the patients who are actually in the practice.
Likewise - form filling and self-check-in. Staff and patients no longer need to use clip boards and pens. Remote form filling is not only accepted by patients, our recent survey found they prefer it, with just over half (51.2%) happily filling in forms electronically at home1. And once patients have experienced this streamlined, contactless method, they don’t want to go back.
Become a smooth operator
Let’s face it; few, if any, patients relish a trip to the dentist, and most want to be in and out in as short a time as possible, making the patient experience even more important. Particularly since the pandemic, people have become naturally wary of sitting in busy waiting rooms or making face-to-face contact. Contactless payment makes check-out faster, and flexible payment options mean you can compete against high street and online retailers for your patients’ disposable income, especially when it comes to elective services such as whitening or cosmetic treatments.
Delivering a positive patient experience is vital for the 20% of UK adults who suffer from some form of dental phobia2, so creating a streamlined, stress-free experience is essential, particularly in an optional, invasive healthcare service.
Patient recommendation has always been, and remains, an important aspect of attracting new patients, but this has now been supercharged by social media and online reviews, making existing patients a powerful and influential referral source. And of course, happy and satisfied patients, who enjoy a great experience are more likely to say so in 5-star reviews – if you ask them.
The PX power of technology
Patient experience matters. The prosperity of practices and the future of the nation’s oral health depends on patients attending for treatment, But, what’s important for dentists to appreciate, is not only what patients ‘need’, from a clinical point of view, but also what they ‘want’ in terms of their experience whilst engaging with practice.
The technology to help transform the patient experience (PX) is ready, and along with expert advice can revolutionise the way practices interact with patients on every level, to turn the perception of dentistry on its head.
Check out our Best Practice Checklist and find out how and why employing automated PX technology is improving practice efficiency and providing a seamless patient experience in our new White Paper - ‘The power of PX - the rise of experience culture in UK dentistry’ - available to read and download here.
1 Software of Excellence. The Great Dental Survey. December 2020.