When do patients begin forming impressions about your dental practice? When making their first appointment online or by phone?
How about their final impressions of their overall dental experience? Are those solidified during the last appointment of a treatment plan? Or when the patient learns whether insurance will cover their treatment?
According to the three new dentists who founded Dentologie, a fast-growing Chicago practice, patients’ impressions are a result of interactions that happen long before a patient begins treatment and well after care has been provided. In fact, they say that impressions can begin as soon as a patient looks in the bathroom mirror and notices that his or her teeth just aren’t as white as they used to be, or when a dental commercial evokes a memory of their last appointment.
“Considering how patient/dental office impressions are ingrained into everyday life with interactions before, during and after a dental visit is critical to building a practice,” said Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin. He and his Dentologie cofounders, Dr. Oussama Founas and Dr. Hany Kurdi, strive to evaluate all such interactions. They include touch points like what a patient is thinking about the dental floss he or she received at their last appointment when using it before bed or her reaction to an email from the dental office she opens while at work. What are patients thinking when reflecting on the appearance of their smiles or when talking about dentist recommendations with acquaintances or friends? All are interactions the Dentologie team aims to improve for their patients.
As scientists, they know only too well that accurately measuring successes and failures is essential to assessing patient satisfaction. They saw an experience map published online by Starbucks and agreed it was just the kind of tool they could develop for their practice to enhance every aspect of patient experience. Dentologie dentists and all members of the dental team focus on making interactions in each column positive for patients.
“We play devil’s advocate,” said Dr. Founas. “What would we want out of each and every interaction. For example, we go online and make fake appointments to see how the scheduling is working. If we’re not happy with it, we know the patients won’t be either.”
Dr. Kurdi said they take the position that there can always be a better way to do something, and the map helps them consider specific areas in which to do that. “We’re constantly re-evaluating every process so patients don’t have to do it,” he said. “That means checking our pride at the door.”
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Dental Practice Success. It was written by Arlene Furlong, consulting editor of Dental Practice Success and a Chicago-based freelance journalist specializing in practice and research news for dental and medical professionals. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.