Can a UX Agency Help a Dentist’s Office?

Posted By Debbie on Jan 9, 2018 in Business


I saw my dentist a few weeks ago. He proudly told me that whenever he uses a site or app that isn’t great, he thinks, “Debbie makes these better.” Aw, thanks Dr Gibbons!

His successful dental practice has been growing a lot lately and he’s about to expand in office size and staff this year. He asked me if I can help a business like his or if I only work on digital interfaces. Yes, we can work with you. That’s called Service Design.

Improving the business for everybody

When we do service design, we’re not just looking at how to make things better for customers. We also look at how to make things better for staff. Everybody has pain points. Dr G (as the business owner) will have pain points but so will his workers at all levels (dental hygienists, assistants, admin staff, other dentists working in the office) and so will his customers.

We take a look at all aspects of the experience. The office itself. How to make appointments. Email and other communications. Billing. Follow up.

We take a look at how the business operates, the areas mostly or wholly unseen by patients. Systems, equipment, communication between workers, scheduling, uniforms, etc…

How do we do that if we’re not located near the business?

Just like we can do user research and testing remotely, we can also work on service design remotely. We would start with Skype video interviews with some or all of the staff. We have a huge bucket of questions about their own experiences and their perceptions of the customer experience. What feedback are they getting from customers?

We would want to interview customers as well. Who are your happiest and most loyal customers, perhaps a few who have referred this dental office to friends or travel from the other side of town just to see THIS dentist. Who are customers who might be less happy? Former customers don’t always want to help out but maybe the office can think of a few customers who have had complaints and perhaps seem to dislike working with this office. Maybe they would be willing to devote some time to making their voices heard.

We would also want to build personas for the business. Does this office have a sweet spot, a particular type of patient that it serves best and should focus on attracting?

What is the voice and personality of this business? And how can we bring that into everything in the patient’s experience? Can the text reminders I get “sound” more like Dr G than a form text?

Our tasks might even help us determine something like the best radio station to play in the office. I’ve been there so many times the last few years that I’ve heard different radio stations on different days. What is the right radio station for the target audience?

Where can we delight and maybe even positively surprise people?

We don’t think of going to the dentist as delightful. Though I have to say, Dr G is so good that he comes about as close as you could! How can we use service design and UX approaches to make going to the dentist great, less scary, etc…? Find ways to delight people.

Many dentists are OK with patients listening to music while they are getting teeth drilled. But the patient might not have brought earbuds. Like airplanes, what if Dr G had some cheap earbuds made to give out to patients who want to listen to music on their phone but don’t have headphones with them?

I was amazed when I went for a cleaning in December 2017 that the staffer remembered all my life updates from my May 2017 cleaning. Wow, that is delightful! Makes me feel like you were listening and you care. If workers don’t have the best memories, encourage them to write notes in the file about this person’s family, work, or other adventures. Brush up on them before I come in so that you can ask follow up questions. Sure, not all news may be good, but I would still feel the staff really cared and thought about me.

We do service design.

Yes, we do all aspects of UX strategy, design, and consulting. We also do service design. We have done this type of consulting for small businesses since the year 2000. Contact us and let’s talk about your new or existing services. Let’s grow your business.

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