The field of dentistry is competitive and your dental practice needs to stand out from the competition to be a success. If you’re just starting out or looking to grow your practice, we have some simple tips you can use to attract new patients, improve your practice management, and organize your finances with a little time and effort. There are dozens of successful revenue production strategies out there. These tips are meant to get you thinking and looking at where to start. Ultimately, try the strategies that appeal most to you, track their success, and incorporate them into your dental practice if you find they work.
What Does A Successful Dental Practice Look Like?
If you’re looking at it from a cynical perspective, the most successful dental practice is the one with the most revenue production. And in a way, that’s correct. But if your dental practice is set up to maximize income above patient experience, for example, by purchasing cheap equipment and rushing patients out the door, you’ll end up losing money in the long run when customers don’t come back.
The most successful dental practices focus on a balance between the values of outstanding customer service, efficient practice management, and unique marketing strategies. Quality service lies at the heart of any successful dental practice; without proper dental care, you will not be able to establish a reliable patient base, which is the most important factor for continued success.
Attracting New Patients
One of the hardest questions for a new dental practice owner is how to attract new patients. The first step is to ensure patients can find you. For this purpose, your website and social media platforms are key. Maintaining an easy-to-find, well-organized website with content that clearly describes the services you offer will let your potential patients know exactly what to expect. Including a straightforward portal for booking online appointments will also create easy pathways for a new patient to engage with.
Once you’ve received an appointment booking or two, the next step is providing an exceptional patient experience. Friendly service and effective treatment speak for themselves and are the number one reason why a patient returns for recurring business. Once you have a reliable network of existing patients, encourage patient referrals by offering a contest or handing out referral cards. If the patient experience is appropriately friendly and professional, your patient base will begin to expand by itself.
Efficient Practice Management
Once your practice is more established, it’s time to start looking for ways you can improve on your existing systems. Developing effective leadership strategies and efficient managing systems will help your practice provide better dental services, save money, and foster a culture of improvement within the office.
Dentists are required to juggle many roles within a dental office and are not necessarily suited for the task of office management. Identify potential leaders within your team or hire a qualified applicant to manage instead. Hiring or training a skilled employee for office management and scheduling will free up hours for dentists to visit patients. Creating such a role will also provide a new perspective to review your current dental systems.
It’s important to frequently check your booking, scheduling, and payment systems to see if there is any potential to improve the communication network in your office. Many brands of online software can drastically reduce the amount of bureaucratic red tape around scheduling and paperwork that cuts into your valuable hours. Ask your team for opinions on where to start – they’re the ones who deal with the existing system.
By consistently implementing new systems and encouraging feedback from your team, you can create a culture of improvement that will motivate employees to search for new solutions.
Financial Management Strategies
The most basic rule of any business is “you need to spend money to make money,” and a dental practice is no exception. Remember, patient satisfaction is the most important factor for success. Frequently research the newest oral health technologies, upgrade your office every few years, and train your team to make sure your company is always providing cutting-edge oral care.
Since dental care is often quite expensive, your patients will also appreciate flexible financing options. Not everyone can afford dental insurance and will hesitate to visit the dentist as a result. By offering monthly payment options, partnering with local social programs, or accepting third-party credit, you can open up your dental practice to a lot of thankful patients.
Lastly, consider setting up an automated payment system with billing software. Processing insurance claims and calling former patients can eat away at your valuable schedule. Automated billing can help remove the headache and streamline the appointment process for dentists and patients alike.
Be Unique & Professional
Even if you have an established patient base and efficient management system, that hardly makes your practice stand out from hundreds of other practices. It’s important to identify what makes your practice unique and to effectively communicate that to your target audience.
One of the first steps you can take is to identify potential services you offer that your competitors don’t. Highlighting these services in your marketing strategy is an easy way to distinguish yourself from the dental practice down the street. However, many dental practices offer similar treatment options and there aren’t many services you can provide that would really excite your patients. Sure, you could offer free ice cream, but it’s important that you remain professional too; patients need to be confident in their dentist’s abilities above all else.
Connect With Community Members
The best way to shine the spotlight on your dental practice is to engage with local communities. Potential patients are more likely to trust a business with a friendly, professional identity. You can communicate your personality by maintaining a presence and answering questions on your website or social media platforms. Attending local events where you can promote your brand and introduce yourself to your neighbours is also a valuable marketing strategy.
However, don’t get caught up in marketing. Make sure you ask your patients how they are doing, what their family has been up to, and make an effort to take an honest interest in your patient’s lives. Sincere, professional communication is the best way to make your practice stand out by encouraging a culture of safety and comfort. A new patient is looking for a comfortable environment as much as an effective treatment when they’re considering a referral, second appointment, or leaving a review.
Overall, a successful dental practice is built from a core of quality service. As a dentist, making sure your oral health care treatments are safe and effective is the number one priority. Then, by optimizing your office management, engaging with your patients, and making your business stand out, your dental practice will reach new levels of success. Try out our strategies today!