Running a dental practice will sound like an incredibly lucrative idea, but things are less ideal than they seem. After all, everyone needs a dentist. Also, it’s a field with a lot of return visits and a lot of space for innovation. Still, so many dental practices fail to make it work. How can you avoid their fate and make your practice prosper?
The best way to figure out how to boost your dental practice’s productivity is to figure out the bottlenecks in your business model. This way, you can predict where the problems may occur long before they actually spawn.
Another way to approach this issue is to closely examine the concept of dental attrition. This is the reason why people suddenly stop visiting your dental office. By starting with the problem and working towards the solution, you’ll take a bottom-up approach in your problem-solving efforts.
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are a couple of the best productivity-boosting resolutions that can really take your dental practice to the next level.
Expand Your Working Hours
As an owner of a dental practice, you’re in the field of providing a service. Now, while this service is essential, a lot of your patients will move it down on the priority list on occasion. One of the main reasons why people fail to see the dentist at regular intervals is because they’re working long hours. The most obvious way in which you can achieve this is by expanding your working hours.
Now, in order to achieve this, you need to overcome several challenges. First of all, you need to make sure that you’re adequately staffed for this. Two dentists could, potentially, work two shifts. However, their workspace needs to be adequately prepared, which means that their shifts cannot be back-to-back.
Keep in mind that this is something that everyone needs to be on board with. Some people have trouble with working late in the afternoon, and in order to make this model functional, you need to have everyone’s consent.
The main reason why you can’t have one dentist working mornings and another working afternoons is that the majority of your patients will have a preference when it comes to the dentist. In other words, they need to take turns with their shifts. This way, you’ll provide them with an opportunity to “catch” when their dentist is available.
When it comes to task delegation, you need to have a strategic approach. First of all, it’s not always possible to delegate tasks fairly. Second, different tasks take different times to complete but comparing them in the number of working hours isn’t necessarily fair either. One task may be more stressful or mentally challenging than the other. So, the best thing for you to do is hire specialists.
This means considering the task delegation during the hiring stage and, in the dental industry, this is really not a difficult thing to do. After all, a dentist is a dentist, a dental assistant is a dental assistant, and a receptionist is a receptionist, right? People working these roles can’t just interchangeably operate on each other’s position. However, a lot of dental practice owners/managers stop at these three roles.
You see, there’s so much administrative work to be done in a dental practice. In order to make it all work, it’s essential that you have someone in charge of dental management, as well. This is not just handling paperwork or fixing the bureaucratic aspect of your enterprise. It’s about making the right decisions (in the business sense) that make the job easier for the rest of your staff.
Educate Your Patients
Another reason why people may not be coming to your practice as much as they used to is that they don’t feel like they need to. They either underestimate the state of their dental health, believing that there’s plenty of time for them to get to the dentist (eventually), or they fail to see why preventive dentist visits are necessary.
One of the ways to overcome this problem is by educating them through content marketing. By creating engaging content, they’re more likely to actually listen. After all, this is a topic that everyone is interested in, for their own personal reasons. So, when they encounter a video, a blog post, or an infographic, they’re quite likely to click it.
Keep in mind that the content needs to be educational, true, and engaging. This means that your video editing skills, writing skills, or design skills need to be comparable to your knowledge as a dentist. In other words, if the content is not well-written, it will fall short of its mark, regardless of how true and relevant. This is why hiring some outside help might be a great idea.
Messages uttered directly by the dentist are incredibly impactful. So, your dentists need to use the visit opportunity to convey what really matters to your patients. Why do they need to come regularly? How long does it take for a plaque to form? How long until tooth decay causes a serious problem? Coming from a dentist, especially in person, any message will have a massive impact.
Introduce Alternative Payment Plans
The cost is always a concern. However, the solution to this problem isn’t always a straightforward one. You can’t just lower the cost indefinitely. After all, the operational costs of running a dental practice are far from negligible.
Then, there’s the potential reputation hit. You do not want to be known as “the cheapest dentist” in the neighborhood, seeing as how this has a connotation of having a low quality of services.
Now, one of the first things that people will look at is whether the services are covered by their insurance. If not, you have to do something about it. One of the first things you need to do is consider offering them alternative payment plans. If you allow them to pay you in monthly installments, people are more likely to look past the original cost.
This will allow you to run a more lucrative enterprise and incentivize your staff more effectively, thus increasing productivity quite significantly.
Focus on Your Staff
Sure, you should focus on your clients/patients at all times, but this kind of advice doesn’t really require a reminder, does it? However, tips like “the customer is always right” might have made irreparable damage to millions of small enterprises all across the globe. No, the customer is not always right, and you need to learn how to stand up for your staff.
Second, there’s nothing that professionals care about more than being able to do their job without technical issues. This means that getting second-hand or low-grade equipment might result in a fall in productivity, as well as drive. In other words, while you’re trying to save a bit of money, what you’re actually doing is sacrificing far more.
Here, you have to go a bit more traditional, seeing as how your options of making a hybrid workplace are quite limited. This is a contact-based industry, which means that only managerial staff can work from home.
Keeping your staff happy, in general, is a difficult task, but it’s one of the main objectives for any enterprise. Talent retention is always an important objective, regardless of the industry, but in a field with such a high level of specialization, it’s an even bigger priority.
In the end, the productivity of your individual employees is a matter of intrinsic motivation. The productivity of your practice is down to reducing downtime caused by various bottlenecks and ensuring that you always have a healthy workload. With the above-listed tips, achieving this task will be a lot easier.
Interesting Related Article: “How to Build a Dental Practice?”