How to Improve your Dental Office Communications
A positive dentist-patient experience begins with effective internal communication in your dental practice. The better your team members interact with each other, share information, and stay on top of tasks, the more likely your patients will enjoy a quality dental service.
As such, it is important to work towards improving your dental office communications.
Dental office communications involve the processes and practices that allow team members in a dental practice to work effectively together. Also known as internal communication, dental office communication is all about keeping your employees connected and informed so they can remain aligned to your business and dental marketing goals.
Why is Dental Office Communications Important?
There are many reasons and factors that emphasize the importance of having effective dental office communication. From productivity to positive patient experience, the benefits of keeping your team aligned and engaged are, in many ways, straightforward and easy-to-decipher.
But there are some less obvious benefits that you need to pay attention to. Some of these subtle benefits include lower costs due to less patient attrition and improved patient retention, and the opportunities that come with gathering positive patient feedback, reviews, and referrals.
When your team communicates and works well together, they can engage with patients better and improve the quality of their experience with your dental practice. Over time, this will lead to fewer patients leaving your dental practice. This resulting patient retention will save you money that would otherwise be spent trying to acquire more patients.
More so, since you’re retaining more patients and winning their trust, you’ll be able to identify more high-value patients who can share their online reviews about your dental practice. These patients will also be eager to refer their families and friends to your practice.
If you’ll like to gather more online reviews and referrals for your dental practice from your patients, you should consider using Connect the Doc to automate the process of asking, gathering, and monitoring your patient reviews and referrals.
How Poor Dental Office Communication Hinders Productivity
To accurately describe the many ways poor internal communication impacts your dental practice’s productivity and outputs, we need to illustrate the kinds of communication that take place in a typical practice.
- Between Staff and Patient: This communication occurs between any team member and a patient. It typically involves assisting patients with queries or ensuring they receive and are satisfied with their dental procedures. Team members should be to provide patients with reliable information when needed.
- Between Administrative and Clinical Staff: This includes interactions between the front-desk staff or scheduling coordinator and the dental practitioners. These two groups of people must update each other about any changes in schedules, patient information, or other office-related details. By doing so, they can save each other from unnecessary stress and avoid confusion in the future.
- Between Clinical Staff: In dental practices with multiple dentists, clear communication between dentists is essential. Dentists should always be on the same page. This will improve the way the dental practice is managed and give room for the clinical staff to support each other’s growth.
Given the kinds of communication in a dental office, you can see how miscommunication between clinical staff can affect the administrative staff’s work and patient’s experience.
If the dentists working in a practice aren’t aligned on their management policies, the front desk might be confused about addressing or dealing with certain patient queries. Such situations limit the administrative staff’s performance and could drive patients away. Overall, this will reduce the number of appointments booked, treatments offered, and revenue made.
You can see how dental office communication isn’t one-directional or limited to only administrative team members. Instead, it occurs at different stages of the patient’s dental experience and with different team members.
Tips to Improve Dental Office Communications
Now that you understand the potential pitfalls associated with poor dental office communications, let’s discuss some of the ways you can improve your internal communication.
Here are six tips to improve your dental office communication:
- Set Clear Goals for Your Dental Office Communication Strategy
To steer their team in the right direction, leaders need to know where they are going. Goalsetting is the foundation of every successful dental office communication. And if you’ve been running your dental practice long enough, you likely already have marketing and business goals for your practice. If you don’t have clear goals, this is your opportunity to set them.
Take time to think about how you want your dental office communication to impact your patients’ experiences. What outcomes would you like to see? Determine the best metrics (e.g., patient retention rate, number of new patient referrals) that you can use to assess the quality of your team’s communication.
- Schedule Morning Meetings
You’re likely already conducting regular team meetings at your dental practice. However, suppose your internal communication is poor. In that case, you may need to consider conducting them more frequently or start thinking about using workplace communication tools that allow your team members to share messages with each other and the group easily.
Most importantly, if you’re scheduling team meetings, hold them in the morning. Morning meetings are great for getting everyone on the same page so they can plan their work day accordingly. Be respectful of your team’s time and capacity, so keep your meetings brief and action-oriented. Consider creating an agenda so everyone can know what to expect at each meeting.
- Create SOPs for Your Dental Practice
SOP is short for the standard of procedures. And chances are there are several procedures and processes that need to be followed diligently to keep your dental practice functioning and patients happy. Be sure to document each of these processes and share them with your team.
Your SOPs should be easy to read, understand and follow through. Ensure the steps in each process are correctly outlined and, for visual context, attach images wherever needed. Always refer your team back to your SOPs, so they are reminded of what needs to be done and how.
- Store Documents in Secure Cloud-based Storage
Speaking of sharing documents, you should ensure all work-related information is stored in a safe storage space. You can use cloud-based workplace storage providers such as Google Workplace to store your documents, files, forms, and other information that your team members will need to do their job effectively.
Create a clear, simple naming structure for your stored documents so that your team members can easily find the documents they need when they need them. If there are documents that should only be accessible to select team members, you should make sure you adjust the privacy settings for such documents.
- Gather Feedback from Your Team
As you implement your dental office communication strategy, you should ask your team members for their honest feedback. It is vital that everyone working in your dental practice feels seen and heard. Ask for feedback as frequently as each quarter and encourage team members to include their ideas of how your dental procedure can continue to improve and grow.
Don’t just collect feedback from your team; act on them. Deal with any pending issues or blockers that are affecting collaboration or growth within your team. Consider implementing dental workflow automation tools, like Connect the Doc, that can enable team members to improve their work. Most importantly, you should focus on creating a space that fosters your team members’ productivity and wellbeing.
- Organize Team-Building Activities
As you think about ways to improve your team’s collaboration and productivity, you should consider organizing team-building activities. These activities are a great way to motivate your staff, encourage them to get creative, improve their morale, mental health, and overall satisfaction with your dental practice.
Most importantly, these activities will boost your dental office communication. If you’re thinking about dental team-building ideas, you can check out Square Practice’s list of activities to engage your team.
Give Your Dental Team The Attention They Deserve
Many times, dentists wonder why their dental marketing strategies do not seem to work as well as they ought to. In many cases, the problem has nothing to do with the strategy and more to do with the individuals implementing them. Your team can only implement strategies and policies if these strategies have been clearly explained and communicated to them.
Don’t neglect your team in your push to reach your business and marketing goals. Your dental team plays a role in maintaining or improving the quality and delivery of your dental practice’s services. Be sure to check in with them, assess the quality of their work and communication, and seek to make necessary improvements.
Poor dental office communication can have serious adverse effects on your dental practice’s productivity and growth. Use the tips we’ve discussed to improve your dental team’s internal communication. If you still need help with your dental marketing strategies, contact a Connect the Doc marketing specialist to support your dental practice’s growth.