Balancing the worlds of health-care and business can be challenging for many dental practice owners. While caring for the wellbeing of your patients should always be your top priority, it’s important not to neglect focusing on growing your practice from a business perspective. Without finding such a balance, a practice cannot be successful. To learn more about the many different factors that influence your dental practice success, continue reading.
Convenience plays a large role in a patient choosing which dentist office they want to visit. Ultimately, a patient will be far more likely to visit an office that is in a convenient location rather than drive out of their way for their appointment. As such, your practice’s location is an important factor that influences your dental practice’s success. If you’re purchasing a new practice, location should be a top consideration. If you already have an established business but it isn’t performing as well as you would like, relocation might be something to consider. While moving to a different location isn’t the easiest adjustment to make, doing so could significantly improve your practice’s chances of success.
An effective scheduling system
In a world that focuses on performing complex medical procedures, managing your appointment book may seem inconsequential. However, the seemingly simple concept of scheduling appointments is actually one of the most-challenging business aspects to manage successfully. When creating a scheduling system, several different factors play a role in its effectiveness. Not only do you have to work around your patients’ busy schedules, but you also need to adjust for the production needs of your practice and the physical needs of your staff and patients. Without accounting for these needs when creating your scheduling system, your ability to provide quality patient care, create a smooth workflow, and meet your daily production goals won’t be possible. As such, never underestimate the importance of an effective scheduling system when it comes to your dental practice’s success.
Last-minute cancellation planning
Regardless of how well you manage your appointment book, there will always be patients who throw a wrench in your carefully planned system by missing appointments. Due to the importance of keeping to a schedule, such unplanned absences can be detrimental to your business’s success. While last-minute cancellations or unexpected absences may seem like they are out of your hands, there are many ways to mitigate their occurrence—and help you keep to your schedule. In order to make essential adjustments to your scheduling system to account for such uncertainties, gather the necessary data. Each time an appointment is broken or canceled, it’s important to document the no-show and how it was dealt with. Note whether or not the appointment was rescheduled or whether their appointment slot was filled by another patient. In doing so, you will have the data you need to make effective changes in your process to mitigate the negative influence of appointment cancellations.
Hours of operation
Once again, the convenience of visiting your practice will largely determine how many patients you receive. Aside from location, another factor that determines how convenient it is to visit your practice is your hours of operation. If your practice closes at 5 p.m. each day, but your target patient doesn’t get off work until then, they will be more likely to take their business to an office that operates later. Otherwise, they’d have to take time off work to visit your office. By expanding your hours of operation or adjusting them to better suit your target patients, you’ll likely bring in a broader and more-consistent customer base.
An office that appears messy, disorganized, and dirty will reflect poorly on your dental practice. When a patient is putting their health in someone else’s hands, they want to know that the person is organized and hygienic. While your skills as a dentist are not correlated to your office’s appearance, one’s surroundings can have a big impact on patient experience. As such, a patient will be more likely to trust a practice that maintains a clean and pleasing environment. You should also consider lighting when determining your office’s layout, as it can have a large impact on one’s mood. Make sure that the room is well-lit but not too harsh as such lighting can be off-putting.
Variety of services
Patients will be more likely to offer their business to a practice that allows them to get cosmetic, medical, and cleaning treatments done all in one area, rather than going to a variety of locations for each service. As such, expanding the range of services that your dental practice provides can greatly increase your customer base. If you decide to add additional offerings, advertise your services properly. Many dental offices neglect effectively advertising their range of services to their patients, which can greatly limit the practice’s growth potential. When your patients come in for an appointment, make sure to tell them about additional services that your practice provides so that they can take advantage of your broad range of offerings.
A skilled and cohesive team
A business is only as successful as its staff. Without a skilled staff of talented hygienists, dentists, office managers, lab technicians, and assistants, a dental office won’t operate effectively. However, having a skilled professional staff isn’t enough to ensure your business’s success. It’s also important that your team works well together. A cohesive team will be much more likely to be optimally productive and create a warm and welcoming environment. As such, it’s important to foster a positive work environment by ensuring that your office is well-staffed, has reasonable work expectations, and maintains effective communication both within and between departments.
Determining a price that is competitive and still allows your business to take in a substantial revenue has a large impact on your business’s success. Going to the dentist can be costly, which is why many people choose to forgo their bi-yearly checkups. If you’re experiencing a decrease in business, it might be time to re-evaluate your financial arrangements to keep up with competition.
Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions is one of the leading dental, endodontic, and orthodontic practice brokers in the U.S. If you’re considering buying, selling, or valuing a dental practice, we can provide you with the expert guidance you need to make your transition a success. For more information regarding our services, contact us today.