According to the ADA in 2018, there were roughly 199,486 dentists working within the United States and the number continues to rise as each year passes.
Let’s face it, running a practice can be tough, especially when you own more than one. A lot of moving pieces need to come together in order for your ship to be sailing at maximum strength. If you want to be able to grow your practice at a consistent rate, you need to have a plan and focus in place to help capture your goal for growth. In this piece, we’ll discuss some of the latest tips and techniques that surround running a successful practice for years to come.
Think smarter, not faster
Running a successful practice doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience, planning, and overall exceptional customer care. Your customers are the ones that will be your advocate. This is why focusing on patient experience is a must for growing your practice. You need to find out your patients’ satisfaction rates. Their happiness = your business’s success.
There are many approaches to finding out if your patients are happy. One way to receive patient feedback is to provide a survey with a discount at the end. Make it enticing for your patients, unfortunately, there are so many daily obstacles that prevent them from taking a few minutes to fill something out for you. Surveys are a great way to promote interaction and gather the necessary information to help cover areas in your practice that you might have missed.
Surveys can only go so far though. What really goes the distance is getting personal with your patients so they can make great customer reviews for your practice. Getting personal means getting involved with your patients by talking to them, asking them questions, hearing them, and making them feel like their voice is being heard. This is the key to thinking smarter, not faster. Even if your patients are not present, there are many dedicated tools for helping dentists and patients communicate, such as instant two-way messaging.
The focus of your business are your patients, but aside from providing them a service of care, you also need to provide a service of customer service care as well. Both go together and are necessary for a premium customer experience that will set you apart from the rest. According to a recent study, generally, 77% of patients use online reviews when finding a new healthcare provider. This is why having your patients become your advocate is so crucial in today’s marketplace.
Employee experience is almost just as important as the patient experience when it comes to running a practice. Why? Getting your staff on board with your mission is vital for a successful practice because it helps bridge any gaps in miscommunication. When your patient walks through the door, they aren’t speaking to the dentist first, they are speaking to the front-office staff.
The first interaction your patients have walking through that door is with your staff, so make it count. Finding out how your staff interacts with your patients is crucial to your business. Roughly 96% of the time, the reasons behind a poor review is poor communication and customer service with an establishment. Customers are more vocal now than in previous years due to dedicated platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for starters.
To ensure a happy employee-patient experience, your team needs training. Training your staff can be simple if you have a clear goal in place. It helps keep your team updated on current trends, issues, interactions, and transparency when it comes to running your practice. You want everyone on the same page. This is also a great chance to execute your new strategies toward patient care.
Your staff is the middle-man of your business so they need to be well informed on your goals. This can get more complicated if you run multiple practices, but the foundation stays the same. Helping your team prepare for difficult patients will turn that frown upside down as they walk out.
Updating your tech
Whether opening a new practice or growing your existing, utilizing the latest tools and technology on the market can give your practice a heavy lead against others. Why? There are a multitude of reasons, but overall, you are bridging the gap between you and your patients. Having an online presence is a must in today’s world. If you aren’t focusing on building your online presence, then you suffer in the long run. Take for example how patients are starting to book online appointments more than calling.
Roughly 56.4 percent of respondents are frustrated with waiting on hold and the inconvenient office hours related to scheduling appointments by phone. Another fun fact is that 31% of respondents are more inclined to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options.
This is huge for growing your practice. If your practice does not have a simple “online booking” option on your website, then you are missing out on a ton of opportunity to fill your working calendar.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How is my staff organizing patient information?
- How is my staff tracking our patient’s life cycle?
- How are my patients booking appointments?
- How does my staff feel about our current technology platform?
- Is my practice getting positive reviews?
- Am I able to gather data on my patients?
In the age of convenience, your patient’s standards for online accessibility is the highest it’s been in years. If potential patients struggle with booking an appointment online, then you just lost a potential customer, it’s that simple.
Customers have an expectation now and it’s become increasingly important to meet those expectations, otherwise, your practice is going to trail behind and lose-out on a boatload of new patients. Many practices are moving towards a dedicated patient experience management platform that integrates with existing systems like Dentrix or Eaglesoft. This is more than just a trend, it’s becoming a must.
One of the leading patient experience management platforms that have been consistently helping practices grow and scale is NexHealth. With a dedicated platform like NexHealth, dental practices are now able to implement online booking and provide text billing for their patients. Practices are also able to organize and tackle reminders, recalls, promote positive customer reviews and above all, customize their patients’ experience with tech that is centered to empower doctors.
The bottom line
Growing your practice takes time and whits. Although you are running a practice, you are also running a business. You are managing staff, patients and setting the overall culture that is centered around you and your service.
Take the time to learn how to receive data-driven reports about your practice and patients. Learn how to support your staff in the adoption of technology and help create an exceptional patient experience. More practices by the day are updating their existing systems and integrating them with NexHealth’s solution. NexHealth empowers doctors to customize their patient experience with an easy-to-use management platform.
If you would like to book more patients and grow your practice, feel free to schedule a demo today with one of our specialists!