No one can deny that there are more Dental Offices in Ontario than there ever have been in the past. We can no longer overlook or be complacent about the basics and still think that our practices will survive. Every office (even the ones who think they don’t need to) need to focus on key strategies to ensure that the office thrives.
- Always increase the loyalty of your existing patients. This can’t be said often enough and needs to be a concerted effort by the entire team. You can never assume that there hasn’t been a break in your system. Training and reviewing your systems should regularly be done in every practice. Making that connection with every patient by learning their name, learning about their lives and their oral health goals will make the difference with a patients trust and loyalty. A study was done that stated that 68% of patients who leave a practice is because of team indifference. Make sure every patient visit is a Five Star VIP experience. Write the protocols for what is expected and then ensure that your protocols are being repeated at each visit.
- New patient referrals are the basis for practice growth. Even though we all know that Google reviews and social media advertising has increased in sending patients to the office, internal referrals still make up 70% of your patient growth. Follow the protocols in the above point to ensure that your current patient base is referring new patients to the office. You will also want to calculate each month that your new patient growth is higher than the number of patients that are leaving the office.
- Patient retention in the hygiene program is a metric that should be measured each month to ensure that your practice is thriving. Patient retention refers to a few different metrics. Firstly, you want to measure how many patients have their hygiene appointments within three weeks of the date that they were due for their appointment. Your goal would be 80% for this metric. Secondly, you want to measure how often patients are coming to the office and ensure that proper education, protocols, and sufficient access to appointments supports this part of your hygiene program.
- Always know your break-even point each month. Your accountant can provide this to you, or you can figure it out yourself. You will want to calculate your fixed expenses, your variable expenses and the owner’s take home each month. Don’t cut or an add an expense before you know the break-even. Being proactive and fiscally responsible does not necessarily mean cutting an expense if you don’t have proper team members or equipment you may not be able to grow your practice. You need to make these choices wisely.
- Investing in technology, continuing education, or having a specialist in your office will help your practice thrive as well. If there are procedures that you don’t want to learn or don’t enjoy performing, then ensure that there is someone in the office who may be able to perform them. It is more convenient for the patient to have a “one-stop” office, and this will help your bottom line.
Use these tips as a check list for your practice. Ensure that all the protocols you have in place are being followed, you are being fiscally responsible, and your office is following “best practices” for patient care. If the thought of this overwhelming and you still want your practice to thrive, call a coach to help you thrive.