Many dental practices provide a mixed service of NHS and private treatment, but have you ever stopped to think about how you differentiate the two to your patients? Do you even need to?
In short, yes you do! While you know and understand that there are many private dental treatments that aren’t available on the NHS, patients often don’t have this level of information. To them, they will feel as though they are paying a premium price and will expect, or at least enjoy seeing, a level of service to match.
This is why extra touches can make the difference between creating a loyal patient, and one who switches to an alternative dental provider who provides them with that feeling of luxury. To make a distinction between NHS and private within your practice, try our top tips to create the idea of a VIP service…
The private journey
If you can, create a separate waiting area for your private patients. This should have elements of luxury, such as plush sofas, a coffee machine, a mini fridge containing complementary chilled drinks, and high-end magazines to browse while they wait. Ensure that they will first see (or walk through) your regular waiting area so that the difference is tangible.
During your private appointments, even just during routine examinations, highlight the extras that the patient is benefiting from. For example, mention the great impact that the additional hygiene appointments (part of your private membership plan) are having on the patient’s oral health, as opposed to only the annual one they are entitled to on the NHS. You can also reiterate the flexibility of appointment times that private care offers, outside of the normal 9-5.
Everyone loves a bargain, and if something comes free then it’s even better! Covering the cost of some tooth whitening at the end of short-term orthodontic treatment, for example, can really go a long way; not only does the patient get an added bonus they will feel special at the same time, and that’s where the loyalty will come from. Just make sure that it doesn’t impact ion your bottom line, and everyone’s a winner.
Communicate with them
Providing they have opted in for marketing communications from you, sending out monthly or quarterly email newsletters purely for your private patients can be a nice touch. Ensure to add a special offer each time, as this will encourage patients to look out for your correspondence while also providing them with an extra level of benefits only available to them as a private patient.
Having a dedicated telephone number for private appointments can be a lovely touch. Not only does this make patients feel as though they are accessing a VIP level, it can also help your team differentiate the calls and deal with queries more efficiently.
Part of the club
Most of your patients will access private care through a membership plan, so make signing up to this feel special. Once the forms are filled in, provide the patient with a practice-branded goody bag containing plan information, treatment leaflets, and other nice items such as mini toothpastes, pens, keyrings, etc. At Patient Plan Direct, our plans are practice branded, so the literature will always bear your logo, not ours. This helps to create a really personalised touch, making your private patients feel as though they are part of your club. If you would like to find out more about our plans, give us a call on 0844 848 6888.
- On 5th April 2018