5 tips to help you grow your practice in 2020
It is never too late to start thinking about the changes you’d like to make in your dental practice. What can you do to improve production numbers, spur practice growth and boost your bottom line? Focusing on positive change will help you grow, with every team member ready to do their part to move the practice forward.
To get you started, I’ve put together five tips designed to help your practice meet its full potential in 2020. Making these changes will lead to big improvements in your office, fueling growth in 2020 and beyond.
- Reduce broken appointments. Last-minute cancellations and no-shows kill your production numbers and add extra stress to everyone’s day. The practice goes into panic mode as team members try to find patients to fill open slots. Usually, these efforts are in vain, leaving you with gaping holes in your schedule that keep you from meeting production goals.
How can you reduce broken appointments in your practice? I suggest you start by implementing hybrid scheduling. Instead of scheduling every patient six months in advance, only schedule those with a history of showing up. Wait to schedule patients who are known for flaking out closer to when they’re due. That way, they’ll have a better idea of what their schedule will be, and that means they’ll be more likely to make it to their appointment.
Another tip? Put together a list of patients who expressed interest in an earlier appointment or who have flexible schedules. Reach out to these patients when there’s a last-minute cancellation or no-show. You’ll have a much better chance of filling open spots and reaching your production goals.
- Focus on customer service. Patients have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a dental home. If they don’t feel comfortable in your practice, they won’t hesitate to make their next appointment at the office down the street. That’s why it’s so important to create an exceptional patient experience every time. Focusing on customer service is a huge part of that. Team members should greet every patient with a friendly smile as soon as they walk through the door, and do their best to put them at ease. That might mean helping them fill out paperwork, assuring them they’re in good hands, or offering them water or coffee while they wait to be called back. These small touches will help patients feel more connected to your practice, turning them into loyal patients who accept treatment and refer in 2020.
- Educate your patients. If patients don’t see the value of the care you provide, they won’t understand why they need to keep their routine appointments or accept the treatment you recommend. That’s where you and your team members come in. If you take the time to educate patients chairside, they’ll actually want to keep their appointments and go forward with treatment.
Talk to patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health and help them understand the oral-systemic link. Show them x-rays and intraoral images of any issues you find and have them watch videos that provide more education about their condition. Sending home flyers and emailing informative newsletters will help support education outside the office.
If you make patient education a priority, you’ll see a boost in case acceptance—which is good for both your practice and your patients. You’ll see an increase in production and your patients will get the care they need.
- Build a rapport with patients. I suggest you make an effort to get to know your patients. Ask them about their jobs, their families and their oral health goals. Show patients you care about them as people, and that you’re interested in more than just selling them on dentistry. This is how you build connections and foster loyalty.
- Revamp recall. Many dentists ignore the recall system, which is a costly mistake. If you’re one of these dentists, 2020 is the year to change that. When you start focusing on recall, you’ll get more patients in the chair, increasing practice productivity and revenues. What’s the best way to revamp your recall system? I suggest you task one team member with calling and scheduling a certain number of past due patients every day. Armed with information about the patient, this team member, trained in sales, should provide education and help patients work out any perceived barriers to care. Patients will appreciate the effort and will be much more likely to schedule than if they receive a generic reminder postcard in the mail.
I want 2020 to be your practice’s best year yet. Following these tips will help you get there.
Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nation-wide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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