1.12.18 Issue #827 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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6 Myths that Hold Your Practice Down
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

2018 has just begun. Many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions, and this year we intend to keep them. However, along with the New Year are the same old tapes we play in our heads to give us sound reasons why some things just don’t work for us. Over time these excuses become urban myths that we accept without question.

As a Dental Training Consultant over the last fifteen years, here are some of the myths I have encountered.

1. There are certain times during the year when our dental practice is not busy. Though some practices will have a “seasonal” flow to them based on demographics, this belief should never be an excuse to not actively market your office. For example, practices often assume that no one will want to come in at certain times during the day, without even offering these times to patients. Are your practice hours convenient to the people you serve? Studies show that patients like 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM appointments, and will gravitate toward practices that offer more flexible times.

Practices often spread their daily schedule out to give the impression they are busier. But making a one-hour appointment into a two-hour appointment will block out opportunities for last minute callers to get in for treatment. Book from the top down and bottom up, leaving middle appointment times open for opportunities that call in. Staying efficient will also help you better prepare to handle heavy patient loads when business picks up. Honor your practice hours, even when things are slow. If you aren’t there, you cannot serve your patients.

2. Patients don’t call the office when it’s closed for the night or weekend. 
Marketing firms have been collecting data on this issue to debunk this myth. According to the stats from dentalmarketing.net, 25% of calls come in outside of business hours.

3. Patients don’t call when we are at lunch, and if a patient wants us they will leave a voicemail or call back.
Marketing research has shown that out of 1,000,000 tracked calls, 10.29% came in between 12:00-1:00 pm. Only 18% left a voicemail message.

Stagger lunch times so someone is always there to field phone calls and schedule appointments. Or have lunch brought into your practice, versus going out to a restaurant. You will save time, and you can record the meals 100% as a business expense if they occur at your office.

4. Patients won’t drive more than three miles to a dental office.
To debunk this myth, run a patient analysis or demographic report generated from your software program. You will see that most of your patients do come from the closest zip codes, however, the spread of zip codes the practice serves will surprise you. When these zip codes are added together, the number will be larger than you expect.

The more convenient you are to your target patient base the better (e.g. pediatric or orthodontic practices near schools, etc.). Some convenience factors to keep in mind when selecting a site include patient parking, proximity to mass transit and ease of access to major thoroughfares, etc. Operating out of a location with high street visibility is important too because 24% of dental patients find their dentist either driving or walking by the office.

5. Patients will not pay for services unless insurance covers most of it.
Patients are often very concerned about whether a practice accepts their insurance, and practices that are in-network with PPO have proven larger patient bases to build a schedule from. But this is not a reason to only present services that insurance will cover to the patient. To assume that no one wants care other than what is covered by insurance is closing the door to patients who want the best comprehensive care available.  

The average American paid out-of-pocket dental expenses of $544 in 2013, according to a 2016 report from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. This is an average amount, but does prove that patients pay for services not paid by their insurance company.

6. Patients who have not wanted cosmetic work in the past won’t want it in the future either.
If you have patients who’ve been coming in for twenty years yet have never wanted to replace unsightly fillings, crowns or missing teeth, it could be because you stopped asking them about it. If you aren’t concerned, they won’t be either. Keep presenting better alternatives to what they have now. They can always say “no” but they could also say “yes.” I have witnessed many patients say, “It’s time I had this done.”

Good business systems are a great defense against the myths that plague dental practices. Want to learn about building the best business systems? Call McKenzie Management today and talk to a trained consultant.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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