6.24.16 Issue #746 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

8 Tips for a More Successful Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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You’ve always dreamed of owning a successful dental practice, but lately that seems like all it is: a dream. You know your practice is nowhere close to meeting its full potential, but you have no idea how to turn it around. As a result, you continue to spend your days stressed out and frustrated, wondering if you’ll ever reach your goals.

If you’re ready for a change, I can help. I’ve put together eight strategies designed to turn your struggling practice into a thriving practice.

1. Emphasize the value of care. Educating your patients is not only one of the best ways to increase case acceptance, it also makes patients more likely to stay loyal to your practice. Make sure they understand the importance of maintaining their oral health and the services you provide.

Remember that education doesn’t end chairside. Send every patient home with a list of the services and products your team provided during their visit. This will improve case acceptance as well as reduce the number of cancellations and no-shows that wreak havoc on your day.

2. Establish a solid fee schedule. To make sure your fees are competitive, I suggest you look at what other dentists in your area charge as well as the income demographics of your patients. Base your fees on the quality of dentistry and customer service that you provide, and offer third party financing through companies like CareCredit. Knowing they can pay a little bit at a time will make patients more likely to accept treatment they otherwise couldn’t afford.

Another tip? Use fee psychology. Patients are more accepting of fees ending with $1, $2, $3, $4, $6, $7, and $8.

3. Take a look at your policies and procedures. While it’s important to have clear policies and procedures, some of them might actually be hurting your practice. Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve decided not to take calls during the lunch hour. This decision is likely costing you patients. Lunch might be the only time potential new patients can call to learn about your practice and schedule an appointment. If no one answers, chances are they won’t leave a message. Instead, they’ll hang up and call the practice down the street.

I suggest you stagger lunch breaks so someone can always answer the phone during regular business hours. Trust me, this small policy change will lead to more new patients.

4. Develop scripts. Written scripts help put team members at ease and lead to more successful patient calls, whether following up after a case presentation, asking for payment from a patient with a past due account, or going over the different services the practice offers with a potential new patient. Scripts also ensure patient communication is consistent, which helps instill trust and increase case acceptance.

5. Set new employees up for success. Hiring can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by updating or writing clear job descriptions that spell out exactly what you’re looking for as well as your expectations. This will help you weed out candidates who just aren’t the right fit, and will also give the employees you do hire the guidance they need to succeed.  

It’s also a good idea to provide a personnel policy manual to new employees that outlines the office code of conduct, dress code, policies regarding tardiness, overtime, sick leave, office policies and procedures. And don’t forget to offer employees training as well as continual feedback – both positive and negative. This will help them excel in their roles, improving practice productivity and your bottom line.

6. Properly communicate with your patients. These days, patients typically prefer to communicate via email or text messaging. Most working professionals keep their calendars on their computers, iPhones and Androids, so if you send them a confirmation, they’ll know immediately if they can keep their appointment, and so will the practice.

After patients schedule an appointment, I suggest you ask them if they prefer to receive reminders via telephone, email or text. This will help ensure they get the message and either confirm or reschedule the appointment.

7. Make the most of meetings. Develop an agenda for every staff meeting that includes standard items the practice is continually monitoring. Make one of your team members responsible for distributing the agenda. I also suggest posting the agenda so staff members can add items as they come up during the month. This will help keep everyone focused during the meeting and ensure you address the most important issues.

8. Provide top-notch customer service. Many of the patients who walk into your practice are nervous, and prefer to get the appointment over with as quickly as possible. If you provide them with outstanding customer service and an exceptional patient experience, this will not only put them at ease, it will also make them more likely to come back. Greet patients with a smile as soon as they arrive, ask them if they’d like a beverage as they wait and offer to help them fill out paperwork. Patients will appreciate the extra effort, making them more likely to schedule treatment as well as refer you to family and friends.

Want a more profitable, successful practice? Following these tips will help you get there.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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