Improving Your Dental Practice With These Simple Steps
Whether you are a young dental graduate looking to start a dental practice or a seasoned dental practice owner, you are always looking for new ways to add value to your practice. Dentistry is a constantly evolving field. Technology, materials, treatment guidelines, and expectations continue to improve to make patient care better and more comfortable. Some dentists are looking to improve their presence on social media while others have dental practice goals to treat more implant cases. Regardless of your specific goals at the moment, there will always be things you can do to advance your dental practice.
Some great ideas to improve your dental practice and are easy to implement include the following.
1. Hire quality staff for your dental practice.
One of the key factors to the success of your dental practice is your team. It is your receptionist, your hygienist, and your assistant that will spend the most time with your patients. Hire a dental team that is motivated and that wants to be there. Someone simply looking to clock in and out every day is not going to do much for patient satisfaction, but can also bring team morale down. Quality staff will go a long way and result in increased production, but more importantly, a work environment you want to surround yourself in.
2. Invest in marketing tactics.
Marketing is necessary in 2021. It is crucial for dental practice growth to bring in new patients, but also retain your existing ones. The good news is there are several marketing avenues depending on your practice type and budget. Some common types of marketing tactics to get yourself started include the following.
Search engine optimization (SEO): Set yourself up with a local business profile so patients can easily find you.
Social media advertising: Use a platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to connect to your patients.
Advertising: Use Facebook ads or Google Ads.
Email marketing: Send a monthly newsletter to share practice updates and dental tips.
3. Go paperless.
A paperless dental practice is not only good for the environment but can help run a more efficient dental practice. There are so many advantages of a paperless office and utilizing advanced dental technology and cloud-based services. Most patient communication can be easily emailed or texted to patients to ensure fewer gaps in schedules and more production. Going paperless will help your office in the following ways:
- Eliminate clutter and improve the appearance of the office.
- Protect your patient information satisfying HIPAA.
- Increase the value of your dental practice to investors.
- Improve your productivity by streamlining tasks.
4. Use advanced technology in your dental practice.
Dental technology constantly improves and advances. What was new five and 10 years ago is practically “ancient.” Dental technology has numerous patient and provider benefits. Whether you are investing in Cone Beam technology to help accurately diagnose and treat implant patients or a digital scanner to create clear aligner cases, you are adding significant value to your practice.
Always pay attention to new technology by attending professional conferences or having a representative give you a demonstration at your office. You would be surprised and excited to learn about the new ways you can improve your practice with little effort.
5. Work on leadership development in your dental practice.
Any experienced dentist can treat patients, but it takes a good leader to manage a successful office. Harvard Business School offers several online courses that are designed to help people build good communication techniques and skills to lead a team. It is beneficial for dental owners to not only take clinical courses but leadership ones as well, so they can understand strategies to sustain a healthy, long-term career.
6. Expand your dental services.
Dentistry can become mundane after many years of practice. Don’t fall behind in the constantly evolving field—instead, continue to learn about new techniques and services you can offer your patients. Introducing orthodontics into your practice has many advantages. It can bring in production, motivate your team, and offer patients a new service that leads to more referrals. The Basic Straight Wire Orthodontics course is a wonderful way for general and pediatric dentists to incorporate orthodontics and be able to confidently diagnose and treat Class I and Class II malocclusion cases.
7. Create an office culture.
Your office culture is what sets you apart from the dentist down the street. Are you a very family-oriented dental practice that does bread and butter dentistry? Or are you an upscale boutique type of practice that has a niche in cosmetic dentistry? Either way, it is important to define yourself so that potential patients can find a practice that fits their needs. Your dental culture is defined by the physical environment, your team personality, your values, and the way you and your staff communicate with patients.
8. Engage with patients.
Dentists see their patients more than most other healthcare practitioners. It is important to connect to your patients during dental visits and out of the office through patient communication. You can do something as simple as sending a postcard to recognize a patient’s birthday or hold a quarterly raffle to celebrate your patients. These days it is necessary to reach patients on an ongoing basis through email newsletters, direct mail, and social media. You will see a change in your dental practice by retaining existing patients and a growth in new ones.
9. Maintain effective communication.
Communication with your staff is important so that you and your team are on the same page in regards to your practice mission, office goals, and office protocols. When you hold meetings, have your staff participate so you know that they understand the importance of good teamwork. A good leader can communicate his/her thoughts so that the staff understands their role in the office and can make your practice run smoothly.
10. Create a “wow” experience.
A dental visit is no longer simply a dental visit. It is an opportunity for you to showcase a clean, attractive environment and an enthusiastic team. Superior teams will deliver excellent customer service from the very moment a patient enters until they book their next appointment.
You can create a “wow” experience by welcoming patients to your dental practice and being punctual. People appreciate dental offices that are on time and value their patient’s time. Listen to your patients about their concerns and discuss their treatment by putting them in the driver’s seat with you. You should have a front desk coordinator who can schedule their next appointment and ask the patient to give you a positive online review if they had a good experience.
When you give your patients a great experience and implement these simple tactics, you can add much value professionally and personally to your dental practice.