Three Keys to a Practice Comeback

Written by: Roger P. Levin, DDS with DentistryiQ on November 10, 2011–

Systems for customer service, scheduling, and case presentation are key to jump-starting growth in your dental practice, says Dr. Roger P.  Levin.

At a recent business conference sponsored by the Harvard Business School, I heard several speakers emphasize the same point … successful companies offer products and services that are “better, faster, and more affordable” than those of their competitors.

To succeed in today’s economy, dental practices need to incorporate the best management methodologies from both dentistry and the business community. The advice from Harvard Business School is also very applicable to dental practices in the following areas:

1. Better implement superior customer service: New patients drive both short-term and long-term growth. Exceptional customer service ensures that your new patients have a great experience and become long-term patients. Develop a system for how new patients are brought into the practice and create customer- service protocols for exceeding patient expectations. Every interaction is an opportunity to go beyond average customer service. When you find ways to “wow” patients, they will recommend your practice to friends and family.

2. Faster— build a highly effective schedule: Practices live or die by how effective and productive their schedules are. Designate specific times for highly productive procedures and create the optimal template for each day the practice is open. Schedule longer procedures for the morning and minor procedures in the afternoon. This systematic approach ensures consistency and allows your team to work at the highest levels of efficiency. Too many practices schedule by “filling holes,” which creates up-and-down days that keep the team off-balance and unsure of what’s coming next.

3. More affordable – make it easier to say “yes”: Creating a system that improves case acceptance immediately increases production and collections. It also makes for healthier patients, allowing the practice to follow its mission of delivering optimal oral health care. Educate and motivate patients with an approach that involves the entire team, including hygienists and front-desk personnel. Learn how to get the patient emotionally excited about both elective and need-based treatment. Offer a range of payment options, including patient financing such as CareCredit, that makes treatment more affordable. We recommend your case acceptance target for all services be set at 90%.

Your systems for customer service, scheduling, and case presentation are key to jump-starting growth in your practice. Practices that follow these recommendations will be the ones to thrive in the post-recession economy.