05 Dec Want to make your practice stand out?
Follow these tips By Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management
Attracting patients to a dental practice isn’t easy—and neither is getting them to come back once you do. You don’t know how many times a new patient has come in once, scheduled another appointment before leaving, only to never be heard from again. Why does this happen so often? It’s because patients have plenty of choices when it comes to dental care. Targeted marketing efforts help get patients in the chair, but if there’s something about your practice they don’t like, whether it’s your office hours or the rude front desk employee, chances are they’ll try their luck at the practice down the street the next time they need to make an appointment. The bottom line is this: To grow your practice, you have to create an experience that makes patients want to call your office their dental home. Find ways to make your practice stand out and patients won’t even think about going anywhere else. Sound good? Read on for my tips.
Develop connections. Most patients want to build a rapport with the doctor and team members they entrust with their dental care. That means you can’t just keep your head down and focus on the work; you have to take time to get to know patients. Ask them about their families and their jobs as well as their dental health goals. Educate them about their condition and how the services you provide can help them reach optimal health. Show you care about them as people, and they’ll be more likely to accept treatment and to stay loyal. Another tip? Recognize patients whenever you can. Send flowers to patients who refer and acknowledge birthdays with a card, either via snail mail or email. Call patients after their procedure to see how they’re feeling, and follow up with a phone call if a patient misses an appointment. These gestures might seem small, but they go a long way in making your practice stand out and earning loyalty. Make customer service a priority. When patients walk into a dental practice, they expect to be treated a certain way. Fall short of those expectations and it’s pretty much guaranteed they won’t return. I want you to exceed those expectations by making customer service a priority in your practice. How, you ask?
Team members should be trained to greet every patient with a friendly smile and to be ready to help in any way they can. Help patients fill out paperwork and offer them a beverage as they wait (which should be in a relaxing reception area that feels more like a living room than a doctor’s office). Put them at ease, and if they seem nervous, assure them they’re in good hands. This will go a long way toward building the all-important connections that keep patients loyal—and that prompt them to refer your practice to family and friends. Keep learning. Adding new services to your practice will not only help renew your love for dentistry, it will also improve your patient retention numbers.
Patients don’t want to travel from office to office to get the care they need. They’d rather get it all done in one place, so the more services you offer, the more patients you’ll attract and ultimately keep. Implants, whitening and clear aligners are among popular options to consider implementing into your practice. Trust me, if you offer implants and other practices in your area don’t, it will make your office stand out. Production numbers will go up as will the practice’s bottom line. Surround yourself with a strong staff. Hiring the right team members really is key to a practice’s success. No matter how talented the doctor is, a weak team will hold the practice back.
Patients will notice when there’s something off with the team, especially if there’s some sort of conflict, and will keep that in mind when it’s time to make their next appointment. Team members should be properly trained and have access to the tools they need to excel in their role. They also should focus on having positive interactions with patients and educating them about all the great services the practice offers. When team members are energetic and enthusiastic about the work they do, patients will notice, and that will make them more comfortable during their visits. To build a healthy dental practice, you need to attract and keep quality patients—and that means making your practice stand out from others in your area. If you follow these tips, patients won’t even consider going to another dental practice. They’ll have plenty of reasons to stay loyal to yours.
Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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