Are you trying to ramp up your patient base and keep them for years to come? If your answer is yes, perhaps you’ve been researching the necessary steps to successfully manage your dental practice.
Any successful practice owner knows that a well-run office with a knowledgeable staff and upgraded technology can increase the chances of seeing loyal patients come back year after year for cleanings, checkups, and other oral care.
Here, you will learn the critical do’s and don’ts of successfully managing your dental practice.
1. Do Offer Expanded Services
Consider expanding your services to increase patient acquisition. By increasing your dental services, you cater to a broader audience and attract patients from competitors in the area.
On top of traditional dental services, many practices have started offering the following cosmetic dentistry or advanced care:
- Teeth whitening
- TMJ treatment
If you can’t offer additional services but still want to expand your practice, try increasing the number of services you currently provide. For example, perhaps you can add more patient rooms to your space or bring in a partner to help with patient care, thus opening up more appointments.
2. Don’t Forget To Engage with Your Current Patients
It costs more to acquire new patients than to retain the ones you have. Maintaining your connection with current patients reminds them that you care about their health and well-being, making them more likely to remember you and your practice.
There are a variety of ways you can keep existing patients coming back for checkups and dental work:
- Provide quality service
- Make your office easy to access
- Offer convenient hours, including nights and weekends
- Send out HIPAA-compliant mailings and appointment text reminders
- Relate to your patients on a personal level
- Encourage your patients to follow you on social media
- Email newsletters or marketing campaigns about your services
3. Do Focus on Building Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is another key unlocking the door to increased patient volume. You probably have your traditional advertising channels already established, such as:
- Website and blog posts
- Newspaper ads
- Local TV commercials
- Billboards or in-town signs
But this is a fast-paced world, and you need to broaden your advertising scope to reach younger generations. Therefore, expand into the realm of social media.
Social media increases brand awareness because it’s a more efficient way to generate leads, funneling potential patients right to your doorstep. Social media is a two-way connection where your current patients and potential patients can connect with your brand’s story on a more personal level, and you can respond to them.
Good business storytelling goes far beyond a big advertising spin. It’s not only about your business and services. Instead, it’s about making a personal connection through human-centered stories, simplistic elements, and emotional impacts.
Consider the variety of social media sharing points, such as a blog. A blog is a powerful place on the web that you own and can talk through your brand’s story in a longer format. Your potential patients can read your blog posts to get a feel for your business’s culture. Many business interactions start with online research, so having an online presence is essential.
Social media goes beyond traditional advertising, and you can further that reach by creating a digital dental newsletter and a Google Business Profile.
Platforms like Google Business Profile and Facebook gather patient reviews, which can help you adjust your business. Additionally, positive reviews can encourage people who are “shopping” for a new dental office to consider yours.
4. Don’t Disregard the Patient Referral process
Traditional advertising channels and social media accounts are great for customer acquisition, but they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. Don’t disregard the power of patient referral.
Word of mouth or a grassroots campaign where friends and family recommend you as a dentist can increase your patient base.
Current patients will probably recommend you if it comes up in conversation. But they may not be talking much about dental work past casual discussions.
So to help with the referral initiative, offer incentives for your current patients to promote your practice. A patient referral program works well because:
- Current patients receive credit in some form when they refer to your office.
- Word-of-mouth can be more persuasive than other advertisements.
- The incentives for patient referrals don’t have to cost you a lot.
There are a variety of ways you can incentivize your referral program. You could keep it simple with methods such as gift cards, raffle entries, and service discounts.
5. Do Provide Flexible Payment Options
Routine dental care is just as important as other medical care. But dental insurance is sometimes beyond what some patients can afford. Therefore, you might have patients worrying about paying their dental bills, leading to them not returning for follow-up appointments.
Offer various payment options for patients who don’t have dental insurance. Make it financially easy for them to come to your practice again and again.
Flexible payment options include:
- Personal checks
6. Don’t Forget Special Financing Offers
Some patients may be in a better position to finance their dental work. Of course, patients are welcome to find their own financing programs, as many are out there to choose from. But it may be easier and an excellent customer service practice for your office to have financing solutions already established and available.
Research the different programs available and negotiate financing options that you can offer to your patients. Both you and your patients benefit from financing dental work:
- Costly dental work now becomes affordable
- Patients may not think twice about getting the care they need
- Patient satisfaction increases
- Revenue is streamlined to your office
- Your practice can expand to more patients
- Patient loyal improves
7. Do Have a Highly Trained Staff
Your patients’ first impressions of your office are essential, and the front desk staff is the first people your patients will see and talk to. Therefore, hire professional staff members with optimal, engaging communication skills.
Consider providing initial and ongoing training sessions to prepare your staff for the job requirements and expectations. For example, such training can discuss how to appropriately provide customer services and dental office software proficiency.
Keep your team up to date on the latest communication skills needed for the job. Ensuring they know how to sell your service is important for company culture and effective business.
Touching back on branding for a moment, consider the branding culture your office showcases. Every detail matters, from your décor, how you expect your staff to interact with patients, to how you interact with each other. Do you have a relaxed and sophisticated vibe around the office, or are you going for the caring, motherly angle? Of course, this is a personal decision. But whatever business culture brand you think fits, make sure it focuses on your patients and provides the best possible care for them.
8. Don’t Use Outdated Office Software
You may have outdated software for patient scheduling and medical record-keeping, and it may no longer maintain consistency with HIPAA compliance regulations. In addition, outdated technology can cause nonefficient workflow, leading to more human errors and increased labor costs.
Research the cost-effective updates to your office software and see some of the benefits your practice can experience:
- Better management of dental practice goals
- Improved patient scheduling
- Efficient and smooth workflow
- Compliance with HIPAA regulations
Consider if your office is appropriate for patient self-service scheduling on your website. Patients may appreciate the convenience of scheduling their appointments on your website in a few simple clicks.
Managing Your Dental Practice: Final Thoughts for Success
There is a variety of best practices for successfully managing your dental practice to not only run smoothly but also funnel new patients into your business. Engaging with your patients across multiple platforms is essential because there is no one-size-fits-all patient connection. Finally, having an expertly trained staff motivated for work can help spur your business towards success further, making your practice an enjoyable experience for everyone.