The coronavirus pandemic has been a tough time for businesses across niches, however, dentistry has been one of the hardest hit sectors.
The past few years presented before the dental care industry unparalleled circumstances, resulting in intense challenges such as generating revenue with fewer patients, triaging patients without a face-to-face option, and maintaining minimum staffing levels.
One report published by the Oral Health Group goes on its website states that as per the findings of a recent online survey of nearly 400 actively practicing, non-hospital affiliated dentists and dental specialists in Canada; close to 46% believe a drop in revenue has been the number #1 impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their practice.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to thoughtfully create a comprehensive list of steps you can take to start a successful dental practice, or provide a fresh perspective to your already existing practice in order to target growth and attract more clients your way in 2022.
Below, we share a few tips that will help you do just that.
When it comes to running a successful dental care practice, a carefully-formulated business plan is one of the most important tools in a care provider’s arsenal because it gives the organization the ability to lay out its goals and track progress as growth slowly begins to catch pace.
Business plans generally include critical information that can help fuel the care provider’s efforts and improve the organization’s chances of success.
Some of the processes that are involved within a typical business plan include competitive analysis, marketing, market analysis, logistics and operations plans, customer segmentation, cash flow projection, long-term growth strategies, etc.
Whether you’re managing a team of fifty resources or a team of just three, it is a given that you can’t always be around to make every decision by yourself. Educate your staff members on how they can always refer to the business plan to contemplate on the next steps in your absence.
Sharing your business plan with your people also helps ensure that every single resource is aligned with the organizational goal and shares the same understanding of long-term targets.
Writing a business plan can also go a long way in helping you better understand consumer preferences, trends, and other customer-related insights that aren’t always readily visible on the surface, and matter most when trying to target long-term growth
2) Look to Integrating Tech Solutions to Streamline your Practice
Today, technology is making exceptional strides on all fronts. It has exhibited immense potential on the dental care front as well.
State-of-the-art tech innovations such as automation can be leveraged by dentists to rid their staff and themselves of repetitive manual tasks such as filling in patient details.
This will not only leave more time with the dental care provider to concentrate on patients and their problems, but it will also give their staff the liberty to place greater focus toward performing tasks that directly contribute toward increasing the bottom line of the practice. The result: more patients!
Developing a custom application for your dental practice is another way in which you can attract patients to your practice. Mobile apps embed various important features such as text and media exchange, security controls, dashboard insights, push notifications, in-app reminders,etc that can enhance the overall patient experience and get them a step closer to turning into loyal customers.
Another exceptional tech solution that has proven its potential in the dental care space in recent times is telehealth (commonly referred to as teledentistry when used in the context of oral health).
Teledentistry gives both providers and their patients the ease of communicating from the comfort of their own homes. This greatly mitigates costs of furnishing as well as acquiring oral care.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are many other tech-enabled innovations that can take your practice to the next level. Try finding out what works best for you and embrace it.
3) Have a Properly Structured Lease Agreement in Place
As a dental care provider setting up a new office, you may often end up feeling like an underdog when entering into lease negotiations with the landlord of your premise. However, all you really need to do in order to gain the upper hand is leverage.
Whether you’re a new practice owner, or an established one whose office lease expiry or renewal deadline might be just around the corner, preparation is key. What this implies is that you know your rights as a dental tenant, and have the confidence to fight for your practice in time.
Unfortunately, the majority of dentists often sign on the dotted line toward the end of the agreement without fully understanding what they’re agreeing to.
This is where a clear and precise lease agreement can come to your rescue.
The details in the lease command vital aspects of your business, such as what services you can offer in the space and what you can practice, the conditions under which you can sell the practice, your ability to bring in associates, and more. This is why signing a lease should not be taken lightly.
Due to all these reasons, it is always advisable for dental practitioners to have a well-structured and carefully thought-over lease agreement in place. Not only will this document help you take simple steps to avoid common lease traps, it will also come out on top during your negotiation and ensure your practice can run in a hassle-free manner.
4) Leverage Marketing Channels to Boost Engagement and Reach
Marketing has gone down to become an important aspect of dental business growth these days, more so because there never really is a clear path to success in our domain.
You always need to test to understand what works best for your practice. Also, one best practice when targeting growth with marketing would be to try and keep yourself updated on what channels as well as strategies your immediate competitors are leveraging to attract patients.
Some of the most sought-after marketing techniques used by dental businesses these days are:
Social media marketing,
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising,
Influencer marketing, and
Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
You need to remember that there are no magic bullets among these strategies, but collectively they can help you get noticed by more leads and grow your practice in the long run.
5) Identify Patient Pain Points and Implement Measures to Solve those
Patients are getting more savvy by the day.
We no longer live in times where patients didn’t take much interest in the course of their treatment or blindly followed whatever advice their care provider had to offer.
Present-day dental care demands patient services that are easy-to-use, digital, and engaging.
From the moment your patients register at your practice to post-treatment, there are a number of interchange points along the way that are key to delivering a positive patient experience. These range from arrival and check-in, to engagement during treatment and post-care.
Most dental care providers understand the importance of these touchpoints; patients who feel engaged and positive about their care generally experience superior outcomes. However, strategies for ensuring that this happens differ wildly – both in terms of success and delivery.
Try to think about every aspect of the patient journey as a whole and look for ways you can augment the experience. Gathering suggestions from your existing clients through means of a feedback form and then employing measures to incorporate them can greatly help.
All in all, growth is an ongoing process that has various facets to it. Only patience, determination and experimentation can get more patients flowing your way in time!
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and president of Arkenea, a custom healthcare software development company. Rahul has been featured as a technology thought leader across Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.