6 Reasons Production Was Down In 2016
As 2016 comes to an end, you can’t help but be a little disappointed. You had big plans for this year back in January, but slow production kept you from meeting many of your goals, which is both frustrating and costly.
This is a problem many dentists face. Despite their best efforts, they struggle with production numbers and have no idea why. That’s where I come in. I can tell you exactly why production is down in your practice and offer tips designed to help you meet your goals in 2017.
Ready to raise practice production and profits in the New Year? Here are six reasons production fell short in 2016 and how you can turn it around for a more successful 2017.
1. You never set daily production goals. If you want to own a successful practice, you need to have a vision and develop daily production goals to support that vision. Think about what type of lifestyle you want and how much you’re willing to work to get there. Determine what you need to make to achieve this goal and set your production goals from there.
2. You’re not scheduled to meet production goals. Setting daily production goals is a great first step, but those goals won’t do you much good if you’re not scheduled to meet them. Train your Scheduling Coordinator to schedule you, and all producers for that matter, to meet daily production goals. All too often coordinators schedule you to stay busy, but unfortunately busy doesn’t mean productive. Once you make this small change, you’ll see a significant increase in practice production and your bottom line.
3. You’re not retaining patients. To have solid production numbers you need loyal patients who are happy to accept the treatment you recommend. That isn’t happening if you’re losing 50% more patients than you’re bringing in each month, which sadly is the case at many of the practices I visit. If you lost a lot of patients in 2016, now is the time to figure out why. Maybe patients aren’t coming back because your customer service is lacking or because they simply don’t feel connected to your practice. Whatever the problem, determine what it is and make changes to correct it in the New Year.
Believe it or not, patient retention should be at about 95%. Is your practice anywhere close to that benchmark? If you’d like to know how your practice is doing at patient retention, click here to take my free assessment.
4. Case presentations aren’t as effective as they should be. As much as you might enjoy it, you usually don’t have a lot of time to present treatment to patients, so you end up spending 5-10 minutes talking with them chairside before you have to move on. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough time for patients to ask the many questions they have, so even though they might tell you they’re ready to schedule, they leave the practice without making an appointment.
Instead of rushing through case presentations, I suggest you consider a Treatment Coordinator to present treatment for every producer. This team member should take patients to a quiet, private area and spend as much time as necessary going over the various details of treatment and answering questions. Patients will leave the presentation feeling much more comfortable and informed, and that means they’ll be more likely to accept treatment.
5. There’s no follow-up. As nice as it would be, most patients don’t say yes to treatment right away. They want to think about their options and talk everything over with their spouse. That’s understandable, but chances are once they get home they’ll convince themselves they don’t really need treatment or they’ll simply forget about the conversation once they get back into their daily routine. That’s why it’s so important to follow up. Before the patient leaves, the Treatment Coordinator should schedule a time for that follow-up phone call. If that’s not possible, follow-up two days after the initial presentation.
The Treatment Coordinator should look at this phone call as another opportunity to educate and address any lingering concerns. The goal is to get these patients on the schedule before hanging up, which of course will increase your production numbers and your bottom line.
6. You have a lot of unscheduled treatment. Most practices only contact patients on the unscheduled treatment report if there’s a hole in the schedule, but that really isn’t enough. To help grow practice production, train your Patient Coordinator to track unscheduled treatment and contact patients on the unscheduled treatment report. Your coordinator should reach out to at least five unscheduled patients a day.
If your production rates were sluggish in 2016, now is the time to make some changes to achieve success in the New Year. Feel free to contact me if you need more guidance. I’d love to help you grow your production and revenues in 2017.
Next week: How to grow production in the New Year.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email email@example.com
What Is Your Forecast For The New Year?
Another year has flown by. They say time flies when you are having fun – I must be having a really good time then! As the year comes to a close, I am making plans to do year-end numbers and analyze what has been happening with the practice these past months to create a plan for next year. Do you know what your forecast is for the New Year?
The dental hygiene department is a main driving force for the entire practice when it comes to keeping the doctor’s chair full. Hopefully you have been tracking your open time, cancelation time, and no-shows over the last year. It is important to know your history in addition to your possible future business in order to determine your forecast.
How many new patients did you see last year, and how many did you retain? How many patients did you lose? What is the projected number of hygiene hours that your practice will need in 2017? Do you have too many hygiene hours open in the schedule or possibly not enough scheduled? If you don’t plan accordingly, your hygiene department may end up being a profit drain instead of a money-maker.
Looking at the history of your practice and knowing how many actual hygiene hours were needed the year before is important. You will also want to project one year into the future to decide how many hygiene hours may be needed. Allow for loss of patients and growth of the practice.
I can’t tell you how many new patients we have welcomed to our practice who were not able to get appointments at their former dentist’s office. It can be difficult, but if you really look at your numbers, you should be able to come close to “perfect scheduling” while still allowing your practice to grow. It is always recommended to have a plan in case the practice grows quicker than anticipated, but you don’t ever want to increase hours in the hygiene department based on how booked your schedule is. The only time you want to add actual hours to your hygiene schedule is when the numbers show the need – not the false security of a schedule that is booked in advance, but could fall apart in the morning when the front office checks messages on the phone.
You may want to have your hygiene department give you an idea of when they will be taking vacation days next year, and go ahead and book them out for those dates. Request that any changes be made far enough in advance so the front office has plenty of time to fill the schedule. Look at how many hours each hygienist will be working based on time off, holidays and the regular schedule, and add all of this into the department as a whole. Then look at how many hours were worked last year by the hygiene department, and how many of those hours were filled with patients in the chair. If you have 400 hours in next year’s schedule but your hygiene department only saw 300 hours of actual treatment hours last year, then some changes need to be made.
If you are a prophylaxis based practice, you may want to consider what you can do to become a more periodontally based practice. Are your patients on the best recall for their overall oral health? What were the trends of last year?
Look at the projected number of appointments needed in your practice based on reactivating patients from recall, new patients, root planing, and your projected number of existing patients. How does this number compare to the past? Do you need to cut hygiene hours? Do you need to add hygiene hours? If you need to cut hygiene hours, is there a hygienist who may want to drop some hours, or is there a day of the week you may take off one day a month? If you need to add hours, do you have a hygienist who wants to increase their hours, or do you have a hygienist in mind you would like to hire?
It’s never too late to look at the numbers and start projecting your forecast for the next year based on trends. This really is something you should be looking at on a monthly basis. A lot of the planning should start in June, due to patients booking six months in advance.
Here’s to another year, may all of us be successful in the paths we choose to take! The next year will be over again before we know it.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151
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