Know Your Audience
Times - they are changing for many dental practices across the country. “Things aren’t like they used to be. Patients worry more about the cost now instead of what is best for their dental health. We have more patients that cancel or just don’t show up. Wish things were the way they used to be” and so on. You have either made these statements yourself or have heard your colleagues make them.
What does all this mean? “Times are changing?” To be successful when the surroundings are changing, the practice needs to change as well. To help illustrate this further, here are a couple of examples.
Today, only the grocery store remains open, along with an unemployment office. The parking lot is empty most of the day except for the cars parked in front of the unemployment office. The corporation down the street has switched their dental plan to an HMO and only offers coverage to full-time employees. Dr. Jones’ new patients are down 25%. No longer are the new patients interested in comprehensive dentistry, but instead, “only what their insurance will cover.”
Know Your Audience
Of course, this all requires you and your team to listen to what your patients are saying and sometimes what they are not saying. How does this affect you and your team? It may require a change in your approach to your patient’s dental needs. 5-10 years ago you were presenting $5-$10,000 treatment plans and they were saying: “whatever you think I need, Doc.” Now they are saying: “I need to think about it.” How about making it easier for your patients to accept treatment by simplifying their treatment recommendations? For example, instead of insisting that they have all 3 teeth in one quadrant restored in one appointment, allow them to do only one tooth at a time if that is more affordable for them. Otherwise, offer more flexible payment arrangements for your long-time patients.
Yes, this is against your entire moral fiber. This would never have been advised 5-10 years ago. But we must acknowledge that times are changing - at least for now. In order for your practice to continue to thrive and provide quality dentistry for your patients, get to know your patients and help them to say “yes” to dentistry.
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