5 Tips to Enhance Productivity in Your Dental Practice
Every business can surely use a boost in productivity, and your dental practice is no exception. With the challenges facing the dental industry these days, dental practice owners need to boost their productivity and efficiency not only to bring in new patients but to improve the patient experience as well. Whether you’re a general dentist or running a cosmetic dentistry practice, here are some tips that will help enhance your business’ productivity.
1. Don’t Keep Patients Waiting Unnecessarily
Far too many dental patients have waited for their turn only to be told an hour or so later that the dentist could not tend to them for the day for one reason or another. Predictably, the patient will leave disgruntled and won’t probably come into your office ever again. That patient is also likely to post a bad review about your dental practice online.
To avoid situations where patients have to spend unnecessary time in the lobby, your staff needs to give them information about their estimated wait time as soon as they come through your office’s doors. The key word here is “estimated” since wait times can be difficult to predict in a dental office. With proper communication between your staff and patients, the latter can decide whether to wait that long or not. Even when it’s just an estimate, your patients will appreciate the heads up just the same.
2. Train Staff to Become Better Communicators Over the Phone
More often than not, your office’s interaction with patients begins with a phone call. Patients get their first impression of your dental practice by the way your staff answers the phone and communicates with them as they inquire about your dental services. That’s why it’s in your best interest to ensure that your front-liners are trained to answer phones in a professional manner.
To ensure that your staff answers common questions and even complaints from patients over the phone, you would do well to develop a protocol that they can refer to whenever they find themselves grasping for answers. With such a protocol in place, your staff can maintain consistency in their messaging and avoid the guesswork over the phone that could drive potential patients away. Your staff can also use training in interactive listening techniques that allow them to fully concentrate on what a patient is saying over the phone and get their concerns right when taking note of them.
3. Switch to Online Patient Scheduling
It’s okay if most of your patients still book their appointments by phone, but you have the chance to make the entire process quicker and more streamlined if you switch to online patient scheduling. There’s a world of dental appointment scheduling software out there you can use to make booking appointments a breeze not just for clients but for your office personnel as well. With online patient scheduling, you can minimize the risk of your staff manually entering incorrect data. Dental appointment scheduling software also helps you organize all the information and make it easily accessible.
4. Use an Appointment Confirmation Process That Works
The productivity of many dental practices takes a hit when booked patients fail to show up or cancel their appointments at the last minute. These are losses you need to address, and you can do just that by establishing a more effective appointment confirmation process.
Many dental offices remind their patients about their next visit by calling them and leaving voice messages on their home phones. The problem is, not all people check their messages all the time. By the time they do so, it might already be a bit too late. One communication mode that stands a higher chance of getting received and acted upon by patients right away is SMS messaging. Through texting, patients can respond instantly to appointment reminders you send, and that should help you avoid no-shows and last-minute cancellations.
5. Practice Dental Treatment Cost Transparency
There was a time when dental practices avoided being upfront about the costs of their services. Today, it has become essential for dental practices to be transparent about how much procedures are going to cost. Patients need to know how much money they will have to spend on your services or if a specific procedure they need is covered by insurance.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but by providing patients with that information before they come in, you give them the chance to assess whether the procedure fits their budget or not. If it doesn’t, then that will at least spare you and your potential patient from wasting each other’s time. Better yet, your transparency about costs helps your practice avoid situations where a patient gets shocked by a massive dental bill after a procedure and all the potential headaches that come with it. These are just a few of the things that could help boost productivity in your dental practice, but they should help you get started.