People expect great experiences from brands. They don’t always get them in dentistry.
While as dentists we would love to delight our patients with experiences that help them recognize the true value dentistry can provide in their lives, the reality is that many patients think of dental care as uncomfortable, painful and a necessary evil.
The way patients perceive the value of dentistry is one of the many key topics that Christian Coachman talks about at DSD Residency 1 courses.
To start changing the way our patients see us, he recommends mastering the 7 moments in the patient journey AND the 3 stages of the buyer’s journey.
"The reality is that many patients think of dental care as uncomfortable, painful and a necessary evil."
DSD Residency Tip #8: understand the patient journey moments
What is the DSD patient journey?
Christian presents the 7 key moments that every patient goes through in a modern, comprehensive dental clinic. For each stage, there are defined strategies that can help you to improve your team’s performance and your patients’ experience:
Moment 1: Pre-appointment experience
This includes everything we can do to improve our patient acquisition and bring more people through our doors. From digital marketing to word of mouth, this moment is all about how we can supercharge the process of convincing people why they should come to us.
Moment 2: Non-clinical experience
Moment two is all about improving the non-clinical experience patients have in our clinic. This is to do with everything from communication with our reception staff, to their experience in our waiting room, to the overall ambience in the clinic and our hospitality strategy. Taking inspiration from the luxury hotel industry and consumer technology brands, our aim is to elevate dentistry to a more luxury experience for patients.
Moment 3: First appointment experience
The first appointment is the moment of data acquisition, the clinical exam and patient documentation. It’s about improving the whole interaction that we have with our patient at the beginning to not only acquire the information that we need, but also understand them psychologically and clinically.
Moment 4: Inter-appointment experience
After acquiring high-quality information from our patient, we then need to understand all the strategies that will allow us to do the best we can with that information and process it in the best way possible, culminating in the treatment plan.
Moment 5: Second appointment experience
This is when we present our plan to our patient. It is the culmination of the previous moments; a powerful patient-centered presentation that leaves no room for doubt about this treatment plan being the best course of action. If we do moments one to five very well, the consequence will be case acceptance.
Moment 6: Treatment experience
This is the actual treatment; for us, dentistry only happens at moment six. At moment six, we need to rethink everything that we can do to be a better clinician: to be more efficient clinically, to streamline our processes, and to improve not only the clinical outcome but also the experience of the patient as they go through the clinical treatment.
Moment 7: Post-treatment experience
The final moment in the patient journey is maintenance. This is all about what we can do to improve the quality of our clinical maintenance and our maintenance of our relationship with the patient once the treatment is over.
The Buyer’s Journey
The second part of understanding how to improve our patients’ journey involves considering a different perspective of this same journey. This is related to marketing and the decision-making process a consumer goes through every time they make a decision to purchase something - whether that’s a car, a vacation, a service, or a treatment.
What are the three stages of the buyer’s journey?
Awareness stage: the buyer becomes aware of a problem they are experiencing.
At the awareness stage, the buyer is experiencing a problem and their goal is to solve it. They may be searching for information to help them understand what their problem is and give a name to it.
E.g. Why are my dentures moving?
Consideration stage: the buyer understands their problem and looks for options to solve it.
At the consideration stage, the buyer now understands what their problem is and is committed to researching and understanding the approaches and/or methods that can help them to solve it.
E.g. What is a more sturdy way to replace missing teeth?
Decision stage: the buyer chooses the right solution for their problem.
At the decision stage, the buyer has decided on the strategy, method or approach that can help them solve their problem. Now they want to research the providers who can offer them this solution and ultimately make their purchase decision.
E.g. Who can provide me with the best dental implants? How much will they cost?
Christian Coachman believes that by combining these two ways of understanding our patient’s journey, we can take the first step towards building strategies that can improve and grow our dental clinic.
"By combining these two ways of understanding our patient´s journey, we can take the first step towards building strategies that can improve and grow our dental clinic."
Start providing a seamless patient journey with DSD Residency
At DSD Residency 1 courses, dentists from around the world learn about a comprehensive dental office model that is good for dentistry as well as dental business.
Understanding the patient journey - and how you can improve patient experience and team performance at every moment - is one of the tips that Christian Coachman teaches to help dentists succeed with comprehensive dentistry.
If you would like to learn more about how to apply this in your own clinic, there are DSD Residency 1 courses taking place around the world - and online - in 2022 and beyond. Schedule a call with our team to learn more.