Following good examples….
When you spend as much time speaking to and observing dental practices as I do, you can’t help but notice certain trends. Although all businesses are different, over the years, I’ve spotted certain key characteristics which seem to be present in all the most successful practices. Here are my top five recommendations of things you should be doing if you want to be the best:
Mystery shopper: It’s common practice in many retail businesses to use mystery shoppers, but it’s not done as frequently elsewhere. I’m on a mission to change that! It’s something I do frequently when I begin working with a new practice: a simple call posing as a new patient to see what the practice looks like to an outsider. It’s a fantastic way of getting information about all sorts of things.
Value your patients: Some practices are so busy chasing after new patients, they forget about their existing ones. The result is that, no matter how many people sign up, the practice will never grow because people are leaving at the same rate. Make sure you take care of your existing patients by making them feel valued and listening to their needs and concerns. Don’t forget, they can be your most valuable form of marketing because they’ll tell their friends when you’re doing things right – or when you’ve got it wrong.
Streamlining: It’s amazing how much time can be wasted on inefficient systems or duplication – yet we all lead such busy lives, it seems a terrible chore to stop and re-think the way we do things. I guarantee that, if you do take a step back to look objectively at how efficient your practice is, it will be well worth it. You’ll find more than enough ways to save time and energy to make up for the amount of time you’ve spent.
Share the load: Like all business owners, principals can easily fall into the trap of trying to do everything. It can be hard to let go of responsibility, but unless you want to limit your practice’s growth, you must. Allow capable staff to take on suitable tasks so you are free to do your job properly and you’ll soon see them flourishing. A regular catch-up meeting is all that’s needed to reassure you that everything is under control.
Experience: Like any successful brand, a dental practice needs to be memorable. From the first welcome on the phone or in reception to the parting remarks from the dentist, patients should feel cared for, listened to and respected. The little things – a pleasant waiting area, a smiling dental nurse and a friendly chat as they arrange their next visit – can make all the difference to the experience and, ultimately, can influence whether or not they return.
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