Have you ever been stuck in the boat of trying to figure out where your practice went wrong when patients don’t return?
It happens in just about every dental practice, whether new or established, and is not necessarily a reflection of your dental skills. A vast majority of patients fail to return for visits due to non-clinical issues. We’ll discuss this along with 5 tips to keep patients coming back.
Why Patients don’t Return
There could be a plethora of reasons patients don’t come back for their next visit. We’ll pinpoint some of the top reasons below:
- Feeling treated like a number instead of a person
- Incompetent office staff, too many errors
- Lack of remote self-service options
- Tedious paperwork and long wait times
- Slow insurance verification, with unexpected bills
If we place ourselves in the patients’ shoes, we can understand the frustrations of the above-mentioned concerns. Finding solutions that will put an end to these issues is paramount for a successful patient experience.
5 Ways To Keep Patients Coming Back
Patient experience speaks volumes about the practice's communication, quality of services, and understanding of what patients are looking for. Let’s go over 5 key factors that will help your practice prevent any more lost customers.
1. Put an end to Paper Forms
Expecting patients to complete stacks of paper forms when they arrive is communicating that your office is out of tune with what patients are looking for in the intake process. In this era of advanced technology, dental software provides online forms that can be completed from home.
This in-demand feature has won over patients in regards to convenience, saving time, and showing patients how much your office values convenience.
Paperless forms create a smoother flow of operations for your front office staff, eliminating the need for clipboards, printing, scanning, and human errors that come along with entering data from the forms manually into the system.
Streamlining with dental software’s digital forms allows for direct integration of completed forms into your dental practice management software (Open Dental, Dentrix, Eaglesoft, and Dolphin), and cuts down an estimated 35% of documentation time, which means less time on administrative work, and more time attending to the needs of patients.
2. Self-Serve with Online Appointment Scheduling
Being placed on hold, or having to play phone tag to book an appointment puts patients off. With so many dental practices offering self-serve options of 24/7 online patient scheduling, it would be a no-brainer to offer that convenience to patients as well.
Not a single phone call would be needed, and patients can access your online scheduling platform from their smartphone or any device, on their own time.
You’ll find your patient base growing rapidly as patients feel empowered when they can take care of booking when it suits them, instead of only when the front office is available. Upgrade your dental practice with online scheduling for better patient growth.
3. Open Communication Channel
A major complaint from patients about their experience with some dental practices is a lack of open, and easy communication. This is a sad reality that many practices might be oblivious to. The problem with relying solely on traditional phone call communication is the common issues of inconvenience, long wait times, playing phone tag, and not being up to par with cutting edge technology.
Bringing instant 2-way SMS into your practice as a mode of patient-office connection meets patients where they’re already at in terms of smartphone technology and their routine way of correspondence. 2-Way SMS gives patients and staff the platform for staying on the same page in regards to:
- Rescheduling of appointments
- Important visit information
- Medication and post-visit communication
- Educational Material
- And much more
Keep your patients and staff connected with instant SMS messaging.
4. Competent Dental Staff
At times it can be hard to know if your staff are performing as expected. There’s always the possibility that an unfit employee could be driving away clients. Staff competency starts with proper training and knowledge about how to resolve common matters that will arise.
If patients are indicating dissatisfaction with a staff member, and you’ve done everything from your end to ensure they’ve received adequate training and resources to serve patients with the best quality of care, it may be time to revisit the issue of competency. Hiring the very best for your dental practice is vital for preventing loss of patients.
5. Faster Insurance Verification
A huge time consumer that irritates both patients and front office staff is insurance eligibility verification . Ambiguity and surprise billing are results of inaccurate transmission of insurance coverage to patients.
Automated, fast insurance verification has been developed to provide eligibility reports within seconds, along with better reliability to avoid claim delays, denials, or unexpected patient billing.
It serves as the perfect solution to alleviate patients and practices from the bitterness that comes with manual insurance verification. Automated insurance verification optimizes efficiency, productivity, and trust for better patient loyalty.
It’s important to evaluate and pinpoint the shortfalls in your practice that may be the cause of patient dissatisfaction. Generally, annoying documentation procedures, slow insurance verification, staff incompetence, and inadequate communication, are some possible reasons patients might lack interest in returning.
To keep your patient coming back, work on improving your areas of weakness. System automation of processes with dental software has become the most successful method for thousands of dental practices across the US.
Find out how mConsent software can help your dental practice better retain patients by streamlining your operations.