“I stepped out of the pouring city rain into the shop. Surprisingly, a glorious waft of coconut and sugar all mixed into one, hit me. The music was lay back, calming and classy. Michael, the owner of the Optometry Shop greeted me with a smile while my eyes flashed around the store, checking out the amazing chocolate brown wood cabinetry with strategically placed designer glasses, not too many and not too few. A luxurious, plush emerald green chaise, immediately invited me to make myself comfortable while I waited.”
This was my wonderful and memorable Five Senses Experience I had at the Optometrist!
Do your patients have this type of experience when they step through the door of your Dental Practice?
Why not give your patients a 5 Senses Patient Experience.
Your senses influence how you feel and how you respond to the world.
Your senses can change how you feel and respond to the world.
It makes sense to tap into your patient’s Five Senses, to give them a memorable patient experience at every appointment.
Let’s look at how you can do this.
The sense of smell:
Your sense of smell creates a highly emotional response that will either attract or repel you. A pleasant aroma will always help your patients feel good.
Getting the aroma of your practice right is important and some get it wrong.
You never want the aroma of your practice to polarise people, so keep it subtle and do your homework.
Note the feedback from your patients. Find out what your patients like and don’t like.
I know when I entered the Optometry Shop, I immediately commented that I could smell coconut. Remember you can change the scent of your practice at any time. You can test out various aromas until you find the one that works well.
The typical and expected aroma we used to smell at a practice was oil of cloves. Whatever it is, you hear people say all Dental Practices smell the same, so why not create a point of difference and give your patients an olfactory experience they were not expecting and will remember.
Coffee can be a very pleasant aroma to have at your practice.
Look at a scented hand sanitiser to give patients a welcoming aroma.
I remember when we had a special evening presentation for our patients at the practice and we popped buttered popcorn. Every patient commented on the amazing smell when they entered the practice. It was all part of their experience that evening and very memorable.
The aroma you create at your practice can be part of your practice signature and your patients will connect the dots every time they smell something similar.
The sense of sight:
Your sense of sight can be heightened at your dental practice with appropriate colour and balance.
Look at what you have on the walls at your practice. Art-work that is harmonious to your décor and creates a sense of calmness is very desirable.
Avoid anything with too much visual movement and boldness that is disturbing. You want your patients to feel at ease and relaxed before their appointment.
Look at the signs you have at the front desk.
Do you need them?
I know right now all practices have specific COVID-19 signs to keep patients safe and well. Try turning your signage into a personalised thank you.
“Thank you for wearing your mask and helping us all keep safe.”
I love signs that thank patients for the action they are about to do!
Freshly cut flowers or a beautiful healthy green plant added to your patient lounge is visually inviting and is a lovely gesture to your patients and sends the message that your patients are important to you.
Your patients will notice dirty glass on windows and doors, so make sure all glass in the practice is wiped daily and shines for your patients.
The sense of touch:
Remember the emerald green velvet lounge. Why not invest in a luxurious corner chair with some touch appeal when patients make themselves comfortable in your patient lounge.
I know there are so many things you don’t want patients touching due to infection control, so this sensory patient experience is a tough one.
Ensure the antibacterial handwash you have available to your patients feels great on the hands after it dries.
Set the temperature in your dental practice so it is not too hot or cold. An overly cold or hot environment can affect the patient experience big time. We have all experienced extremes in temperature and know how much it can influence our decision making.
The last thing you want is your patient wanting to leave as soon as they arrive, especially when you are about to spend time discussing important treatment and care.
The sense of sound:
The sounds that patients associate with going to the dentist are often the suction and high-speed drill!
Investigate ways to reduce these scary sounds, especially while patients make themselves comfortable in the patient lounge.
Play some relaxing music that will sooth and relax your patients before their treatment and care.
I know dentists who go to the trouble of finding out what their patients favourite music is and have this music ready to play at their appointment. You may want to reconsider the heavy metal music choice.
Another sound to watch for is team members chatting to each other. I always say if you have time to chat to each other then you have time to chat with your patients. When patients are at the practice, they take priority. You never want your patients to feel ignored.
The sense of taste:
Many patients comment on the awful taste of things in their mouth when they visit the dentist. Look at ending your patient’s dental appointment, where possible, with a mouth freshener/wash that tastes amazing.
If you can right now give your patients the taste experience of an amazing cup of coffee or a refreshing tea on arrival at their appointment.
The list of sensory Patient Experiences goes on. I am sure you will think of many more.
Make a list of what you do now and keep adding to it.
Give your patients the 5 Senses Patient Experience they deserve.
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