5 Reasons Your Practice Isn't Meeting Its Full Potential
When you look back on 2014, you can’t help but be a little disappointed. You had big plans for your practice, but instead of enjoying your best year yet, you spent most of your time dealing with staff issues, patient complaints and falling production numbers. The more you think about it the more frustrated you become, and the more you realize it’s time for a change.
You know your practice isn’t reaching its full potential, but you don’t know why. I’ve been helping struggling dental practices find success for more than 30 years, and I can tell you that a lack of clear goals combined with outdated, inefficient systems are a big part of what’s holding you back. Here, I’ve put together five common reasons your practice is going nowhere fast, and how you can turn it around in 2015.
1. You don’t have a clear practice vision. If you want your practice to achieve true success and profitability, you need to establish goals for yourself, your practice and your team members. Ask yourself where you’d like to be a year from now, and write down the goals you need to achieve to help you get there. I know you’re groaning as you read this, but it really does work. And don’t stop at writing down your goals. Determine what actions you need to take, and then develop a plan.
Once you’ve established your goals, communicate them with your team. Make sure everyone knows what they need to do to contribute. Sit down with each team member and develop individual goals that compliment overall practice goals. Show them how important they are to creating a thriving, profitable dental practice and you’ll notice a renewed enthusiasm and increased production from your team members in 2015.
2. You’re not setting your team up to succeed. Even when you have a clear practice vision, your team members can’t help you meet your goals if they don’t understand their roles. They want to do their part to move the practice toward success, but they need guidance.
Create clear, detailed job descriptions so team members know exactly what’s expected of them, and which systems they’re accountable for. This will help avoid confusion about who’s responsible for what, and will encourage team members to take ownership of their individual systems. And that, of course, will reduce conflict and increase production.
You also must provide training. Costly mistakes are bound to happen when team members aren’t properly trained. The fact is, a poorly trained team is the biggest contributor to practice inefficiency and mismanagement, so it’s worth any investment you make. When you see the difference it makes in your team’s confidence and production, you’ll be glad you did.
3. Patients don’t value their appointment times. Cancellations and no-shows are not only schedule busters, they’re costing you tens of thousands of dollars every year. Yes, you read that right. Let me break it down for you. Let’s say your practice averages two cancellations/no-shows a day, at a value of about $100–$125 each. That works out to a loss of more than $40,000 a year, and don’t forget the thousands of dollars in lost production you never had the opportunity to diagnose.
You’ll never eliminate broken appointments, but you have to reduce them. How? Start by educating your patients so they understand the value of the services you provide, and the importance of maintaining their oral health. Hiring a dedicated Scheduling Coordinator, confirming every appointment two days in advance and flagging patients who repeatedly don’t show up are other ways to reduce the number of broken appointments in your practice.
4. You don’t follow up. Patients delay care for many reasons. You need to find out why. Task your Scheduling Coordinator with the all-important follow-up call. This person, trained in sales, should call every patient who doesn’t schedule necessary treatment. Armed with a script and information about the patient, your Scheduling Coordinator’s goal is to ease patient concerns and, through education, convince them it’s time to follow through with treatment. Put this practice in place and you’ll soon notice an increase in case acceptance and production numbers.
5. Your customer service is lacking. Patients want to feel welcome when they walk into your practice. If they don’t, chances are they’ll book their next appointment with the practice down the street. Make sure someone greets every patient with a smile and your team members are prepared to answer any questions patients might have.
Remember, a patient’s experience with your practice starts with that first phone call. Team members should be friendly and accommodating when talking with patients on the phone, never using the word “no” or creating any type of barrier to treatment. Continue great customer service even after they leave. Call patients post-treatment to see how they’re doing. Let them know you care, and they’ll be loyal patients who can’t say enough good things about you to their family and friends.
Customer service is a great, inexpensive marketing tool. If you use it in every patient interaction I guarantee you both your patient retention and production numbers will rise.
If you’re not happy with your practice’s performance, now is the time to make some changes. Need help to get started? Email me and I’ll send you a link to my Practice Potential Assessment, or go to my website HERE. Together, we can figure out what changes you can make to create a successful, profitable dental practice.
Next week: 4 ways to jumpstart your practice in 2015.
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
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