2018 is already almost here! Now is the time to look back on 2017, and make adjustments to finish the year strong and ensure a great start for 2018.
What are some ways you can update and improve your dental office to make it better than ever in 2018?
Here are some suggestions:
Coordinate Your Schedule.
Your schedule shouldn’t be stressful nor should it regularly keep you scrambling to fill in large gaps or running behind all day. If possible, have one person be in charge of scheduling and be in constant communication with him or her. Educate the scheduling coordinator about time frames for various procedures. Also train him or her to schedule you to ensure you meet your daily production goals.
Also have a plan in place for how to handle cancellations and walk-ins.
Improve Customer Service.
How your patients feel when they walk out of your office has great bearing on referral traffic. If your customer service is lacking, they may not come back and they certainly won’t tell their friends and family to visit. If you’re not sure how your customer service can improve, ask your patients. This can either be done with an email survey sent out after their appointment or on response cards in the office.
Besides quality work, patients want to feel important, respected, welcomed and empowered. Train you staff on connecting with patients, being personable and treating each patient as if they are your only patient.
Give timely, attentive service as well as unbiased treatment suggestions. Be open and clear when communicating with patients, being as transparent as possible. It is also a good idea to follow up with patients a day or so after they have received an invasive dental treatment.
Revise Office Procedures.
If your dental office has policies in place that keep your office either running behind schedule or too busy on getting people in and out without building relationships with patients, they should be altered. Create office policies and procedures that ensure patient comfort and a comfortable, welcoming environment while keeping the flow moving so your office can meet its daily production quota.
Ensure the Best Patient Experience.
Besides high customer service, invest in the best dental technology, practice the best methods, offer a variety of services and update the look, feel and décor of the office. Consider adding TVs in the waiting room and treatment rooms as well as a “kids corner” area with games and toys if you’re a pediatric dentist.
Redo or Revise Your Marketing Efforts.
Are your current marketing efforts effective in reaching the right audience? Are they producing loyal patients and referrals? If they aren’t you need to step back and revise your marketing tactics. Learn about the consumption habits of your targeted audience as well as their dental wants, needs and concerns.
Most people are going online to find dentists and dental treatments. If you’re primarily using mailers, print ads or telemarketing, you are likely missing out on a huge audience of potential patients. Consider revamping your website, internet marketing and social media efforts.
The focus of your marketing is to produce loyal, returning patients and referrals.
- Remove the Fear From Asking for Payment, Yet Don’t Be Driven By Insurance. Asking patients to pay for services received can be harder and more uncomfortable than one thinks. Dental procedures are usually not cheap and payment can be a sore spot for some patients. Train each staff member to be comfortable and on the same page about addressing this sensitive issue.
When staff members discuss payment options with patients, the question about insurance usually comes up. To bring the emphasis back on to the patient, don’t make the standard “what kind of insurance do you have” question be one of the first ones asked. Instead ask them how they will pay. For those without insurance, consider offering the low cost payment option your dental office may have.
- Be sure to Involve Staff Members. Set clear expectations for how the office is to operate, inform, train and educate all staff members about office policies, procedures and scheduling. Make sure there is constant and clear communication between employees. Include staff members in creating office goals and their feedback on office decisions.
Don’t let a lackluster 2017 keep your dental office from making improvements now and salvaging the rest of 2017, ending on a high note, and preparing for a successful 2018. It can be something as simple as following up on patients or updating your procedures and equipment that can give your office the boost it needs.
Having a dental office staff that is current on the latest dental care techniques and technology can also boost patient retention and referrals.
Arrowhead Dental Lab has been providing education to dentists and their staffs for many years. Our nationally recognized program has helped many dental offices become more successful. Contact us today for more information about our program and how it can help your dental office.