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When choosing a dentist, patients are picky about customer service – and rightly so. A visit to the dentist is often an anxious or nerve-wracking experience, which can be improved immensely by kind, courteous and professional staff. Make sure your dental practice customer service hits the mark, and you’ll retain a loyal core of regular patients who appreciate the way they are treated in your care.

Value the personal touch

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference. Everyone likes to know that they are being treated as an individual, so train staff at your dental practice to always greet clients by name, and to use names when discussing the patient within their earshot. Remember that everyone is different, so make a point of asking patients whether they prefer to be addressed using their first name or more informally as Mr or Mrs Surname. Using someone’s name when talking on the phone can also lead to a more positive customer service experience.

Understand anxiety

Dental phobia is a real and common phenomenon, so it’s important that all staff are trained to treat anxious patients with care and sensitivity. This isn’t an optional extra but a dental practice customer service essential; if patients aren’t comfortable in your practice, they’ll go elsewhere. If you have young patients, strive to make their early experience of the dentist a positive one, so that they will grow up comfortable visiting the dentist.

Communication is key

One of the main areas to prioritise in dental practice customer service is clear communication. Whether you are informing a patient of the next available appointment or explaining a complex treatment plan, it’s vital to speak clearly and with courtesy, treating others as you would like to be treated yourself. Avoid talking down to patients (if they ask if a treatment will be painful, be honest) and give them choices where possible, even if you have your own ideas about the best course of action. Make time to answer any questions they may have.

Point the way

Personal interactions aren’t the only way to provide first class customer service in your dental practice. It goes without saying that staff should be friendly, helpful and courteous – but you can also make your customers feel welcome, informed and valued through your dental practice interior design. Ensure that clear signage is in place, both inside and outside the building, so that patients know where they’re going, and provide facilities that meet their needs, such as comfortable seating and water.

Stay in touch

Great dental practice customer service doesn’t begin and end at the surgery door. In between appointments, clients will appreciate occasional communications if these are relevant and helpful. Implementing an appointment reminder system, whether this is by telephone, text message or mail, is a genuinely helpful service that patients will appreciate. You could also consider an occasional newsletter offering information and tips on dental health, or be present on social media channels so that you are visibly available to answer enquiries whenever they come up.

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