7 Ways to Grow Your Practice in 2016
If 2015 was a struggle and wasn’t what you envisioned, you know it’s time to make changes if you want to be successful in 2016. The problem? You’re not sure where to start.
If your practice is hurting, you’re likely frustrated and even a little nervous about what the future holds. This all might seem stressful, but with a little help you can get your practice back on track. That’s where I come in. I want to help you make 2016 your best year yet, and for your practice to reach its full potential. That’s why I’ve put together these seven tips, all designed to grow your practice in 2016.
1. Consider Hiring a Treatment Coordinator. I know many dentists like to give their own case presentations, but spending 5-10 minutes discussing treatment chairside just isn’t enough. Patients will be able to tell you’re in a hurry, and won’t ask the many questions they have about treatment.
I suggest hiring a Treatment Coordinator to handle case presentations for all producers in your practice. This team member should take patients to a quiet, comfortable room to talk about all aspects of treatment. The Treatment Coordinator should address any perceived barriers to care, and educate patients about the importance of going forward with treatment and maintaining their oral health.
Patients likely won’t accept treatment right away, making it important for your Treatment Coordinator to follow up. He or she should schedule a phone appointment with the patient if possible, or plan to call in two days. During this follow up, your coordinator should address any lingering concerns and continue to educate patients. This will make patients who are on the fence much more likely to say yes to treatment.
2. Train your Scheduling Coordinator to schedule to meet daily production goals. I’ve seen this happen in many practices over the years. The Scheduling Coordinator schedules producers to keep them busy rather than to meet practice production goals, and their bottom line suffers because of it.
Setting production goals is vital to your success. If you haven’t already, sit down and determine how much money you need to bring in to meet both your professional and personal goals. Factor in overhead costs as well as how many hours you’re willing to work to meet those goals. That number should dictate your schedule.
Want more tips to fix your schedule and increase production? Focus on clearly communicating procedure times with your Scheduling Coordinator, and develop a plan designed to quickly fill the holes left by broken appointments. This will streamline your schedule, and help ensure you meet daily production goals.
3. Hire the right people. When it’s time to bring on new employees, it’s important to find the best people to add to your team. Although it’s tempting, resist the urge to hire the first person with an impressive resume. Hiring the wrong person can cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue, so be sure to develop a hiring system and follow it.
4. Develop job descriptions. Not only do you need to hire the right team members, you also have to set them up for success. This starts with creating detailed job descriptions that clearly outline your expectations and performance measurements. Job descriptions offer direction, and eliminate any confusion about who’s responsible for which tasks.
It’s also important to make sure employees understand that raises will be based on performance measurements. If team members know raises must be earned, and know exactly what they need to do to earn them, they’ll be more motivated to excel in their roles. And that, of course, leads to increased production.
5. Focus on education. The more educated patients are, the more likely they are to accept treatment. If you want to improve patient education in your practice, I suggest taking the time to talk with patients about their condition and the importance of maintaining their oral health. Ask them about their concerns, and tailor your education to address those concerns.
Use an intraoral camera so patients can see what’s going on in their mouths, and show them educational videos. Let them know about the services you provide, and the experience you have treating similar cases. This will make them more comfortable with your practice, and that means higher case acceptance rates.
Educating your patients also helps them feel a connection to your practice. Remember, if you build a rapport, provide exceptional customer service and offer education, your patients will not only be more likely to entrust you with their care, they’ll be more likely to refer you to family and friends.
6. Don’t rely solely on pre-appointing. I know this is a popular practice, but it’s become outdated. The truth is, pre-appointing patients six months out leads to cancellations and no-shows, while also giving the illusion your schedule is booked when it really isn’t. This in turn keeps patients who are ready to go forward with treatment from making an appointment.
I understand if you don’t want to give up pre-appointing entirely, so try developing a hybrid system. Is there a patient who’s known for cancelling at the last minute? Ask that patient if you can call a few weeks before they are due to schedule an appointment.
I also suggest you focus on recall to fill your schedule. Task your Patient Coordinator with calling and scheduling a certain number of patients each day. Trust me, this will do wonders for your production and your bottom line.
7. Offer third party financing. Cost is one of the main reasons patients say no to treatment. Third party financing, like CareCredit, helps make dentistry more affordable. Let patients know this is an option and you’ll see case acceptance and practice production rise.
I want 2016 to be your year. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to success and profitability. Need more guidance? Don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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