Logically, the key to improving patient satisfaction is to have the “magic ratio” of positive interactions between your team and patients. Communication should be thoughtful and purposeful. Here are a few ways to hit the magic ratio and positively enhance patient satisfaction and retention:
- Pull, don’t push. Your team’s role is to be an advisor not a salesperson. Case presentations should focus on the patient and their needs and wants, not you and your treatment. Patients want to be empowered and informed, not sold. Avoid using phrases like “Here’s what you must do”, or “You need to do this.” Instead use phrases like “You may want to consider, our recommendation for your particular case is or “This is what many of our patients choose to do.”
- Engage them. Always keep the patient involved in the conversation. Don’t talk “at” them, discuss care with them. Focus on asking open-ended questions probing for understanding and their emotional needs. Create a dialogue, not a monologue.
- Pre-frame. Ask permission for every step you take. Always explain how they will benefit from what you are showing them and recommending to them. “Mrs. Smith, I would like to show you a computer presentation that will give you a complete understanding of what gum disease is all about and how it can impact your ability to keep your teeth for life. Is that something you would like to see?”
- Be concise. Don’t waste your patient’s time. People want to be empowered and informed not overwhelmed. Give them some information and ask if they’d like more. Use visuals aids instead of words. Remember, the more you talk, the more they will doubt.
- Give options. People like options. They want to feel they have control – especially when it comes to their mouth and money. Always present your best recommendations but also give patients alternative ways they can reach the same goal. And, when it comes to cost give patients options that do not stress their family budget including cash, credit cards and financing with a healthcare credit card like HealthSmart.