Running a dental business is no easy task. Despite advancements in technology and other developments in the field; dentistry continues to be a challenging venture. There are several challenges that act as a stepping stone when trying to run a practice smoothly. A few of these are managing finances, striking a work-life balance, tackling burnout and stress, motivating and communicating with the team, and most importantly attracting and retaining patients.
Managing patient volume is difficult since there is minimal awareness about oral health. Most people dismiss dental issues as being trivial and approach a dentist only when absolutely necessary. Although it is difficult to manage patient volume; since it is a crucial facet of the dental business and plays a great role in keeping your business afloat, it cannot be disregarded and needs to be paid heed to.
Here we have enlisted 5 ways to manage your patient volume so your dental business does not suffer.
1. Enhance patient experience
Right from when your patient sets foot into your dental workspace to when he leaves, make sure he has a stellar experience. To enhance the patient experience, it is vital to know what the patients are looking for. So, analyze your locality, study the demographic and their needs and tailor your dental business accordingly.
You can start with designing or refurbishing your office space. Declutter the space, install comfortable seating and so on. Dental treatments are quite anxiety-inducing. Patients might get really nervous at the thought of having their mouths exposed to instruments. For this reason, it is important to have a relaxing atmosphere at your premises. You can install elements of nature, play relaxing music, have a comforting aroma and so on. When treating patients make sure they face minimal discomfort and are treated empathetically.
Ease the process of appointment for the patient, be accepting of various modes of communication, keep the patients reminded of their appointments, answer their queries, offer teledentistry and do everything that fosters convenience for your patient.
2. Focus on enriching your team
Your team reflects your service. They play a great role in the functioning of your business and are often most in contact with the patients. The rapport you build with the patients can determine their loyalty to your service. Therefore, it is important to focus on enriching your team. Train your staff to greet the patients with enthusiasm, keep them informed, address their queries, take their criticisms positively, show concern for their comfort and basically be there for them. Have team meetings where you discuss the issues, express appreciation, foster united working, divide the tasks efficiently and so on. This will keep your staff motivated and make them feel involved which will augment their productivity.
3. Offer a unique selling point
With numerous dental practice alternatives available in the market today; you need to offer something unique that drives patients to you and keeps them coming. Monitor your competitors and think creatively to offer something that others don’t and makes you stand tall. This can be termed a unique selling point. Your unique selling point could be exceptional customer service, a comfortable space, discounted price, usage of modern technology and advanced tools, specialization in particular treatment etc. Identify your unique selling point or come up with one, market it sufficiently and you will have tons of patients coming in; in no time.
4. Introduce dental membership plans
The financial aspect of dental treatments is what causes withdrawal amongst patients. Timely dental check-ups or treatment for particular dental issues often aren’t pocket-friendly. Especially for people with no insurance, this comes as an unattractive factor that makes them avoid dental care entirely. It is, therefore, recommended to introduce an in house dental plan. These allow patients to pay in advance for a year and avail of services like preventive exams, dental clean-ups, and discounts on other treatments, which comes as a huge benefit and will most likely increase your patient inflow.
Additional to this, you can always offer flexible payment options to lure in more patients. But ensure that this doesn’t make things difficult for you.
5. Take reviews of patients or conduct surveys
The best way to manage patient volume is to know what they feel about your services so you can modify them according to their expectations. Post-treatments, make it a habit to collect patient reviews or distribute surveys wherein patients answer questionnaires about the satisfaction derived from your services. This will help you identify your shortcomings and provide you with a framework as to what to work on, and how to attract more patients and retain the existing ones.
6. Never fall back on marketing
It is essential that you keep publicizing your services consistently. Utilize strategies like SEO, social media, website and so on to keep your patient base engaged and reach your target audience. Don’t stick merely to advertising your service on digital platforms but also incorporate valuable information relevant to dentistry and the service you provide, interact with people, give tips on maintaining oral care and adhering to dental needs and so on.
Managing patient volume in the dental business is a tough endeavor. However, when you are equipped with the right knowledge, strategies and skills and are willing to work for your patients wholeheartedly; nothing can stop you!