Go the extra mile. Does your practice call patients following treatment to see how they are doing? Are patients offered convenient appointments within a scheduling protocol that works for them and the practice? Does the practice provide beverages for patients and guests? Patients have other practices to choose from. When you go the extra mile for them, you confirm that they made the right choice when they selected your practice.
Script all patient interactions. What to say and how to say it are crucial elements of successful patient relationships. Scripting helps the doctor and the team communicate accurate information in a positive manner. Exceeding patient expectations requires a team with strong verbal skills.
Advice for the Marketing Coordinator – Identify new marketing opportunities for your practice. What strategies has the practice used successfully in the last few years? Which ones need to be replaced? Look at practice milestones, community activities, social media, holidays, and seminars as possible marketing opportunities.
Tuesday Training: Read “Turn Your Facebook Page into a New Patient Generator” by clicking here.
Advice for the Hygienist – Customize your schedule based on actual patient needs. If you’re still scheduling 45-minute appointments for all patients, you’re probably either losing productive time or rushing to get to the next patient. Use 10-minute increments and allot time based on different patient needs, for example:
- 30 minutes for children or edentulous patients
- 40 minutes for adults with good oral health
- 50 minutes for extensive recare with radiographs
- 60 minutes for those who need scaling and root planing
Advice for the Dentist – Create a practice vision. Where do you see the practice in three years? Do you want to have an office that generates $1 million, $1.25 million or more? Do you want to work only three days a week? Retire by 55? Buy another practice? Writing down what you want to accomplish in a vision statement is the first step toward achieving your goals.
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Set a good example for your co-workers. In any work environment, having a positive attitude matters, but it takes on even more importance in the smaller confines of a dental practice. If you come to work in a bad mood, that can have a negative effect on your fellow team members as well as patients. You will always experience problems. However, if you can overcome adversity with a positive attitude, you will inspire your co-workers to do the same.
Evaluate your facility from a patient perspective. Your office is a reflection of the care you provide. If the front desk area is dusty or if the reception area is dark and dingy, your patients will judge your practice by these seemingly minor conditions. The appearance of the office is part of the total experience. If patients—especially new ones—are dissatisfied with the physical surroundings, they may go elsewhere for dental care.
Enforce scheduling policies. When patients call to cancel at the last minute, use a script to suggest that they rethink cancelling the appointment. Let callers know that the time has been reserved for them and that there is a fee for breaking an appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice. You may waive this fee, but the point will still be made.
Scripting Tip: Don’t say “You’ll have to ask someone else” to patients. You may not know the answers to patients’ questions, but take responsibility for getting the answers they need. Rather than leaving it up to patients to ask others, make the effort to connect them with the staff member who can help them out.
Advice for the Dentist – Decrease your overhead. Reducing overhead by a few percentage points can make a huge difference in practice profitability. For example, a practice grossing $800,000 in revenue with an overhead of 66% is spending $528,000, while the same practice with 60% overhead incurs $480,000 in expenses. This 6% difference in overhead can mean $48,000 in additional profit for your practice. Even a 3% reduction is a savings of $24,000. Overhead is a necessary part of running a practice, but eliminating unnecessary expenses can ensure the practice’s financial health.