Running a successful dental practice is harder than it looks. While many dentists offer an exceptional patient experience, they may struggle to be great business owners. If you’re looking to grow your business, follow these principles to get more patients and bring back the ones you already have.
Focus on Professionalism During the Appointment
You (hopefully) love to show up at your office every day, but your patients probably don’t feel the same. Many people suffer anxiety around dentistry. Whether they had bad experiences as children or they’ve inherited the general fear that permeates the culture, your patients have to tackle the lingering apprehension around a dentist appointment. The place to start is with professionalism from start to finish.
You should have a warm and responsive front desk. Things can get busy, so you need customer service rock stars who can make everyone feel like they’re being taken care of–even when they’re on hold or standing in line. A smile and acknowledgment can go a long way.
Make sure that your office is in order and that you run a tight ship. Make sure that you’re sending out reminder cards and making confirmation phone calls on time. Ensure that you don’t run into issues with double-booking your appointments. These things might be the basics, but they’re the foundation of your business. If you don’t have things down at this level, nothing else is going to matter.
Make it Easy to Book an Appointment
You should make it as easy as possible for someone to book an appointment. Create a phone tree for off-hours that allows your patients to make a tentative appointment through a voicemail. If you can, set up an online appointment calendar! More and more people hate picking up the phone. If you make it hard to get a hold of you, new patients especially will just find someone else to call.
Invest in an Online Presence
If you can get your business online, it’s going to help you. It’s not just about being able to book appointments online. An online presence will make it easier for new patients to find your practice. Include social media and provide valuable information to prospective patients. Get your business on the map ASAP.
Focus on Repeat Clients
It’s much easier to bring someone you have a relationship with back to your practice than it is to recruit someone new. Ensure that you’re attracting clients back by sending them reminders about their scheduled cleanings. Invest a portion of your advertising resources into getting people who already know your practice back in the chair.
Fit Skills to Patients
As you expand your practice, look at the problems that you frequently see in your patients. Some geographical areas will have specific needs; for example, areas without fluoride in the water will have more cavities. If you work in an area with a particular need, consider getting the training that you need to be able to handle these problems yourself. If you’re consistently having to refer your patients to someone else, you’re leaving money on the table. Expand your education and experience, and you’ll have a one-stop dental shop that can give your patients the care they need.
A successful dental practice depends on good marketing and great patient service. Make sure that it’s easy to make an appointment with you. Address patient anxiety with competent professional care from end to end. Advertise, and reserve a portion of that for returning patients. Couple that with an online presence and you’re on your way to a thriving practice.