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Replacing the patient journey

Patients need an experience rather than a journey, explains Laura Horton

The patient journey is dead. Dentistry has modernised, nowadays patients are visiting the practice not because they necessarily need treatment, but because they want it. To signify this new type of long-term relationship, I encourage dentists to view their patients as clients. And no client wants a boring ‘A to B’ journey. From the moment they enquire or book an appointment to post-treatment follow-ups, your patients need to have a seamless, professional and enjoyable experience. The client experience has replaced the patient journey.

Everything counts

As part of the client experience, everything counts, from an approachable and friendly team right through to the refreshments available and the background music. It’s equally important that you build relationships with clients and take the time to get to know them, ensuring they always feel at ease. It’s all about playing the end game, which is ensuring your clients positively rant and rave to their friends and family about your practice, resulting in increased referrals. You need to keep this goal in mind at all times. To successfully ensure a positive client experience, you need to put strong systems in place. For example, ensure your exam and treatment presentations revolve around your client’s best interests. With the strong email culture we live in, it’s often tempting for dental practices to email clients their treatment plans, but this is a big no-no. Instead, invite clients back for what I like to call an ‘options meeting’. Not only does this help with informed decisions, it also adds to the whole experience. At this meeting, it’s important that dentists do not speak in jargon, you want your clients to leave educated and excited, not confused! 'I will be discussing this and much more during my presentation, ‘The complete “how to” of the ultimate client experience’, taking place at Dentistry Live! on Friday 7 June 2013, 4pm-5.30pm. In this interactive session, I will teach you how to implement a foolproof client experience, which can be put into practice immediately. It is ideal for teams who want to take patient care, and business and revenue goals to a new level.

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