Owning and running a dental practice is definitely no walk in the park. Although you excel at providing your patients with superior oral health care, it’s so easy to become so caught up in the day-to-day operations that you forget about the other vital element of a successful dental practice: an exceptional patient experience.
Here are 6 tips to help you redefine the patient experience:
- Identify your point of difference
In order to truly establish your practice as the leading oral health care provider in your area, you must identify, market, and protect your unique competitive advantages. Whether you offer an expansive array of oral health services or emphasise a certain specialty, your distinct perspective has the power to attract and retain a high volume of patients.
To make the most of these attributes, you need to consistently promote them throughout all of your dental advertising campaigns and patient interactions. Consider proven methods that highlight what sets your practice apart. Uniquely customised dental newsletters, brochures and social media content are just a few of the ways you can engage with potential patients, build awareness of your practice and what you offer, and promote your business as the authoritative choice in the region.
- Build practice culture
Once you’ve figured out what sets your dental practice apart, it’s time to dive a little deeper and discover your practice culture. Believe it or not, your practice culture already exists—you just need to identify it. It’s in your personality, your leadership style, your values, your behaviours, your expectations, and the way staff members communicate with each other and with patients. Essentially, it’s how you run your dental practice. Even your practice decor and physical environment play a role in your practice culture. When fine-tuned, your unique way of doing things has the power to increase efficiency, attract quality staff, and keep patients coming back for more.
To develop and strengthen your practice culture, involve your team. When each employee is working towards the same objective, they’ll be happier and more caring and your dental practice will thrive!
- Expand your offering
When it comes time to grow your patient base, think of ways you can expand your services to improve value, strengthen your competitive position, and engage the interest of prospective patients. Maybe your production potential is limited by the size of your current dental practice, and you’re thinking of moving to a bigger space or including additional practitioners. Maybe you’re interested in improving your practice’s accessibility. Or maybe you’re considering introducing other specialists to meet your community’s growing needs.
Whatever route you’re considering, make sure you don’t overextend your practice! By striking the right balance of state-of-the-art technology and uncompromising quality, you will become a successful dentist with a strong reputation, loyal clients, and maximised profits.
- Engage and engage again… and again
For a dental practice, nothing matters more than being able to count on a set of loyal patients who regularly visit and who would recommend the practice to their friends and family. After all, retaining existing patients is substantially less expensive than having to put in the effort to acquire new ones. But retaining existing patients requires more than just offering passable service, convenient hours, and an easy-to-access location. It’s about engaging patients, reaching out to them on an emotional level, earning their trust, and creating relationships that last.
Thanks to today’s digital age, there are countless opportunities for dentists to not only reach out to existing and prospective patients, but to also connect with them on an ongoing basis. Through cross-channel marketing, which includes a mix of direct mail, social media and email marketing, it’s never been easier to remain at the forefront of patients’ minds, show them you truly care, and become the most successful dentist you can be.
- Improve patient referrals
When it comes to growing your patient base, nothing beats a word-of-mouth referral. A trusted recommendation from a friend, family member, colleague or even the internet can be the sole reason why a patient chooses your dental practice over another.
As great as patient referrals are, existing patients are busy with their own lives and don’t often think about supporting and growing your business. So, to help encourage patients to tell others about your services, you’ll need to be proactive in asking for patient referrals. There are many ways to improve patient referrals but whichever referral method you choose, don’t forget to follow up and follow through!
- Training is key
A patient’s experience begins with their first point of contact, which is most often a receptionist or another member of your reception team. In fact, your reception team is your practice to new patient callers. Their professionalism, attitude, and communication skills all leave a lasting impression on patients—an impression that can make or break your dental practice.
That said, professional training and continued education are essential elements of how to run a dental practice. Make sure that each person who greets and works with your patients, either in person or over the phone, is trained to make the most of each patient interaction.
To wrap it all up, the way you manage your dental practice leaves lasting impressions on your patients and significantly impacts your retention rates. It’s crucial that you remain organised, stay on top of best practices, and learn how to run a dental practice with patients at heart.