Practicing amid COVID-19 is complicated, but the key to reactivating patient relationships is simple: practice to patient communication. Practices have been making changes in operations since March. Team members within the practice know and understand why, but do patients? Assuming they do is a mistake. Here are four easy steps to take that will reassure patients of a visit to the dentist.
Take advantage of technology. Wordy emails could be easily lost within an inbox. Instead, virtually walk patients through the new dentistry experience. Create videos that cover every step of the process, from waiting in cars instead of the reception area to a ‘show and tell’ of new PPE. Involve the team. Make it as friendly as possible. When patients understand what to expect ahead of time, they will feel more comfortable scheduling an appointment. Consistently sharing short videos about different aspects of the new normal on social media pages will show how your practice is improving and adhering to all guidelines.
Websites should be kept up to date with the processes within the practice. Upon visiting the site, patients should immediately get an understanding of new policies and routines. Upload the walk-through videos onto your practice’s website along with step-by-step written explanations of what patients should anticipate. It may seem repetitive, but clarity and over-communication during COVID-19 is the key to calming patient nerves.
As always, but especially now, respecting the decisions of your patient is critical. If a patient does not wish to make an appointment in the near future, try to find a later time to reschedule when it feels to them like it will be more comfortable for them. Phone conversations with anxious patients about their concerns in coming into the office could actually expose a fault within your office plan that you now can fix before it becomes an issue with other patients.
At the end of a visit, email a survey that patients can use to send anonymous feedback about the visit. Be open to criticism and modifications; improvements within the office should not be stagnant. Instead, change regularly as necessary to accommodate regulations and patient worries. Making minor adjustments as necessary is less stressful than letting them pile up. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and taking the steps outlined here can make every mile a lot less fatiguing.