1. Make Your Practice Unique.
Your practice’s success in your local area can come down to what sets you apart from other businesses. You’ll need to create a marketing plan that shows potential patients what makes you unique. The distinct perspective that you offer should be what you use in all your advertising campaigns.
Build on that uniqueness through social media campaigns, paid advertisements, brochures, postcards, and email newsletters.
2. Create an Email List.
Nearly everyone has an email address. When a new patient comes to your office require them to give an email address (yes, we dared to say “REQUIRE”). You can use emails to tell them about office news, to send out newsletters, and to give them appointment reminders. Email lists will become a vital tool in your marketing plan..
3. Improve Office Efficiency
When patients are forced to wait a long in the waiting area or exam room, it causes stress to both them and to your staff. Time is valuable. You must recognize that and put practices into place that will prevent long wait times.
- Don’t allow your front desk to overschedule you. Any extra money gained from overscheduling can be lost to angry patients.
- Invest in an intra-office communication system that will allow you to discreeetly communicate with all your staff without leaving the room.
- Conduct a patient survey that collects their wait times and other bits of helpful information. Over a period of time, this can help you see areas of improvement and what times the office is truly at its busiest.
4. Improve Staff Attitudes
Everyone wants to be the gentle dentist and provide the best office experience possible for patients. What if your office managers and front desk staff don’t prioritize that? You do not do any of the three C’s; that is, do not allow your staff to criticize, condemn, or complain (and certainly don’t do any of those yourself!). Invest in sensitivity training for your staff. It only takes a single bad egg to stop a patient from returning.
5. Hire an Experienced Office Manager
Your office manager will keep things running smoothly. Like a funnel, they are the single point of contact between you and your patients, salespeople, technology providers, suppliers, and staff. It is well-worth investing in someone who knows what they are doing, and the investment will pay for itself ten times over.
6. Take Time for Yourself
To ensure that burnout does not happen, take some time to yourself. A half-hour before or after lunch works great to go sit in your office and rest. This will also allow you the time to explore new ideas in dentistry, to finish documentation, etc. You’ll likely come out rejuvenated and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
7. Offer Flexible Financial Options
In addition to accepting many types of insurance: allow debit, credit, personal check and cash. If your practice finances permit you can offer special financing to allow patients to pay off debts over time to ensure that financial considerations do not interfere with dental care decisions. Your patients will remember that you care enough to offer this and will return time and again.
At the end of your day take some time to write down what worked, what didn’t, and what you think could be improved. Have your staff do the same. At your next team meeting, allot time for everyone to share and make clear that they are free to share anything without repercussions.
9. Get to Know Your Staff
Your staff is an incredibly important component of your practice. It’s important that they feel comfortable working with and talking to you. This begins when you make hiring decisions: Don’t hire someone who won’t fit in well, no matter how qualified they are. You and your staff are working with each other for most of the day, five days a week. You want to ensure that staff relationships are as conflict-free as possible by hiring people who have the same goals as you.
10. Be You
Don’t try to run a practice that doesn’t reflect who you are. You, as the practice owner, need to be comfortable and happy in your workplace. It’ll shine through to your patients and staff and you will enjoy every day. Happy dentists equal a happy bottom line!