4 Ways to Provide Patient Hospitality in Your Dental Office
When I hear the word hospitality, I think of the service industry such as hotels, tourism, salons, etc. Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
I also think of the hospitality in my own dental practice and what a difference it’s made with our patients and how we treat them when we have them in our office.
Have you ever thought about what hospitality looks like in your dental practice for your patients and your team?
Here are four key points to hospitality in your dental practice.
#1 Have a welcoming and inviting entrance
Do you have a front office team member “dental concierge” that welcomes the patients by calling them by their name as they enter the practice and check them in?
Every practice software has the option to have a patient picture displayed. I highly recommend this!
We all know the Cheers theme song, “People want to go where people know their name.”
It makes patients feel important, and they light up when you greet them by their name before we ask them.
You’ll want this person to be someone that is outgoing, personable, welcoming, loves to smile, and has great eye contact.
This happens to be our first impression for each patient during their dental visits with us. I always say this sets the tone for the day in our office, one patient at a time. If patients are checked in and ready for their appointment on time, it always helps the flow of the day for the entire practice.
#2 Clinical team and the patient
When the clinical team approaches the waiting room to receive their patient, they should be confident, call their patient by their name, and introduce themselves to their patient.
Use great eye contact to make that connection.
It’s always great to use sayings, such as:
- “So great to see you.”
- “We’re glad you’re here.”
Taking those few brief moments to interact on a personal level with their patient makes the patients feel welcome and comfortable in our dental practice.
#3 Patient experience and soft touches
To enhance the patient experience in your dental practice here are a few soft touches to incorporate during your patient’s dental visit:
- Offer warm blankets. We all know that our dental practices are usually very cold.
- Offer neck and back pillows for comfort when laying back in the dental chair.
- Provide UV protective glasses for your patient.
- Provide music for your patient to listen to during the procedure. They have disposable headphones available.
- Offer smoothies for patients for procedures longer than 3 hours. As Dr. Mark Hyman would say, “It’s smoothie time.”
- Provide patients with an individual wrapped warm lavender towel at the end of their dental appointment.
- Have small, bottled waters available for patients and serve with a small cocktail napkin. I love this idea!
- Have gift cards to your local smoothie place for your scaling and root planning patients. In return, you’re supporting a local business as well.
The above list is a great start to enhancing your patients’ dental experience and showing true hospitality in your dental practice. They may seem small, but to a patient, these are huge, and this may be what sets you apart in your patients’ eyes.
#4 Hospitality within the dental team
It’s just as important for the dental team to show the same hospitality toward one another as we do toward our patients.
It’s very easy for team members to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and not realize our impact on one another.
If the vibe we’re sending to our fellow team members is negative, this will only affect overall office morale and individual performance.
If we’re showing great hospitality to our patients, don’t we owe it ourselves to show the same great hospitality to one another?
Imagine what your day would look and feel like if the team showed great hospitality toward one another as they do toward their patients?
I encourage you to review what your hospitality looks like within your dental practice for your patients and your team. It’s truly what sets us apart in our patients’ eyes because we’re not only in the dental business, we’re in people business as well.
Meet the Author
Teresa has worked in dentistry for over 30 years, and it continues to be her “lifelong passion.” She currently works in a 4-dentist and 9-hygienist office in Amelia Island, Florida. After her first experience at an AADOM conference in 2011, she helped to develop what is now the AADOM Northeast Florida Chapter… This text opens a new tab to the chapter’s website….
She has twice received the AADOM Office Manager of Distinction award prior to being named the 2021 Practice Administrator of the Year.