- November 2, 2017
- Posted by: Cory Zahringer
- Category: Practice Management
You’d think that the most challenging part about owning a dental practice would be getting things up and running. After you establish a name for yourself and build a customer base, it should be smooth sail from there. Right?
Well, that’s not always the case.
Here’s the hard truth: owning a dental practice is no walk in the park. You need to ensure that your patients get superior oral health care and that your business remains the top choice in their minds. With so much on your plate, it can be easy to get caught up with routine tasks and miss the bigger picture.
Here are five tips that can help you run your dental practice smoothly and turn it into an on-going success story.
1. Understand What Makes Your Practice Different
Your potential patients have multiple options to choose from, some of which are conveniently located in the neighborhoods where they live, so why would they choose you instead of your competitors?
Every business needs a competitive advantage if it wants to succeed, and your dental practice is no exception. Take a close look at your practice and identify the features or benefits that differentiate you from your competitors. Look for patient needs that other practices in your niche are ignoring, and then use them to increase your visibility.
Research what other successful practices are doing and try to identify the actions that bring them the best results. Maybe they offer exclusive offers or service packages, or maybe their skills and expertise are better than most practices in the market. Then, try to determine how you can bring those changes into your company.
Now that you’ve established what makes you different, it’s time to focus on marketing. Promote your dental practice by highlighting the things that patients can’t find anywhere else.
2. Create a Lasting Relationship with Your Patients
The math is pretty simple; if you want to grow your dental practice, you need to increase your patient base. However, one of the most common mistakes business owners make is focusing all their energy on acquiring new customers, but completely forgetting about their current clients. Here’s the thing: it’s easier to retain patients than it is to get new ones.
Look beyond the quality of the services you provide, and try to find new ways to engage and care for them. For example, make them feel welcome and comfortable while they’re waiting for their appointment. Small things like asking how their day went are enough to show you care about them.
Try to keep in touch with them, even after they’ve left your practice. Your patients don’t stop being your patients once they’re out the door, so use other means to communicate with them, such as email marketing or social media. Make sure that the content you send is helpful, relevant, and timely. The last thing you would want is to overwhelm or bore your patients with unwanted communication.
3. Develop an Office Culture
So, you’ve identified what makes your dental practice unique and how you can foster more lasting relationships with your patients. These are all crucial steps to building a successful dental practice, but try not to forget about one of the most important assets your company has: your employees.
As much blood, sweat, and tears as you pour into your practice, the truth is that it can’t exist without your team. That’s why it’s paramount to develop a strong organizational culture that makes your employees feel as if they are part of a fun and friendly ecosystem.
Keep everyone in the loop with Weekly Team Meetings at which you share your plans for the future. Let them know that their opinions are valued and that you need more than their skills – you also need their creativity and ingenuity. Take an active interest in their professional objectives, and help them achieve them.
4. Offer Different Payment Options
In an ideal world, your patients would choose a dental practice based on the treatments or procedures it offers, without paying much attention to the financial aspect. In the real world, however, costs are a crucial factor in the decision-making process.
One simple way to help your patients accept your recommendations and return for future care is to add multiple financing options. Whether payment is by means of debit, credit, cash, or check, make sure to let your patients know that their financial circumstances shouldn’t dictate their decisions.
5. Focus on Expanding Your Services
Offering more services is an excellent way to bring new patients into your practice and help it grow. However, be careful how you go about it. Overextending can damage your practice if you’re not able to juggle all the new roles you’ve created. So, whatever new services you choose to include, make sure they are within your capabilities.
Over to You
By taking a look at the above list, it becomes evident that offering good oral health care isn’t enough to ensure the success of your dental practice. You also need to focus on gaining a competitive advantage, learning how to market your uniqueness, and building a special relationship with current patients.
These five tips can help you run your dental practice smoothly and with minimal costs. Remember, getting things up and running will prove to be the easy part. The challenge begins once you open your doors for the first time.