Up to 80% of dentist appointments are no-shows, according to recent statistics. No-shows have long plagued the industry, and cost billions of dollars every year. As life continues to get busier, these statistics will only get worse.
That is, if you don’t change your dental practice management strategy. There are several changes you can make to take back control.
And this isn’t the only area that needs work. Many practices aren't fixing their financial mistakes with technology, outsourcing, and effective marketing. If each of these areas is improved, your revenue and growth will reach new heights.
To help your dental practice achieve this level of success, we’ve created this brief guide on dental practice management. Read on for seven signs your practice needs a strategy change, and how to pull it off.
1. Too Many No-Shows
When the no-show rate is too high, dental offices miss out on revenue. This has one of two results:
- Your practice isn’t financially viable
- You can stay afloat but miss out on revenue for growth
Neither of these scenarios are favorable. Even if no-shows don’t tank your results, they’re costing you the potential for growth. What strategy changes can you make to change your no-show rate?
The first change is a simple difference in approach based on data.
Imagine after a routine check-up, you suggest a procedure to your patient. What’s the point of scheduling this if they might not show? The key is to have the patient's appointment data on hand ahead of time.
Know before each appointment what each patient’s no-show habits are. Also, assess how regularly they visit.
If someone is a regular who never misses an appointment, you can book the needed procedure for the next week. If not, you can suggest the procedure happen immediately. This approach lets you reduce the likelihood of no-shows by taking control of the situation.
The second change is using technology to your advantage.
Thousands of companies are fighting for your business with helpful patient management software. This technology can send reminders, allow for easier booking, and ultimately reduce no-shows. We’ll expand on this approach in the following section.
2. Not Using Scheduling Software
Scheduling software can coordinate your practice management system with online appointment availability and event virtual consultations. To choose the best option for you, consider what problems you need to solve.
Too Many No-Shows
If your main headache is no-shows, adopt software that sends alerts to patients. This could be a simple notification pinged to a patient’s mobile device the day before and an hour before their appointment time. This small change dramatically reduces accidental no-shows.
Not Enough Clients
How can you use scheduling software to draw in more patients? With how busy life gets, many are finding it harder to make time to see a dentist. They may leave problems until it's dire to get them checked.
Attract more patients by being one of the few practices that offer virtual appointments and online scheduling. The right software allows for meeting over video and scheduling 24/7 on the practice website.
While you cannot see their teeth clearly over video call, you can gain a good idea of what the problem may be by the symptoms they describe. Best of all, an appointment like this can take just 5 minutes. They can meet over video from the comfort of their home or on lunch break, helping you retain busy customers.
3. Having an Outdated Website
75% of people judge a business’ credibility on its website. If your website is dated, glitchy, or just too simple, it’ll put off new clientele.
What does your website need to attract new customers? First of all, it needs to load almost instantly. If a webpage takes more than three seconds to load, over half of people abandon it.
Achieve this by working with a respected web server, rather than trying to host the website yourself. Also, ditch endless slow-loading stock photos in place of a few specific images.
To truly convert customers, your website should be an advert for your business. So clearly display detailed, positive testimonials from real people. This relatable detail may be what convinces them to book an appointment.
4. Marketing Isn’t Landing
If your marketing isn’t landing, you’re not alone. Dental marketing is a difficult niche to master.
First of all, over a third of Americans are scared of the dentist. Second, people are likely to choose a practice based on convenience. That is, when they have a problem, they search for a nearby dentist, choose one with good reviews, then go.
How can you attract customers despite these factors? The key is a marketing strategy that addresses these issues. That is, feeling safe and being convenient.
How to Stand Out
Use your marketing to reach customers before they have a problem. And make sure your marketing uses these two angles of safety and convenience.
For example, have a blog on your dental practice website. Use brief articles to answer questions like:
- Why does my tooth hurt?
- What to do if a filling falls out
- How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
At the end of each one, stress the safety and convenience of your practice. Describe your modern virtual appointments, with a link to booking one now.
This approach is two-fold. It makes you stand out in an online search. And it allows you to slip in some self-promotion while answering their questions.
Staying up to date with expert dental marketing opinions is also crucial. To do so, join our dental business community for the latest dental practice resources. As new technology emerges, we can show you how to use it to your advantage.
5. Marketing Without Social Media
2.5 hours – that’s how long the average person spends on social media every day. That’s roughly 10% of their day!
If you’re not taking advantage of this tool for your marketing, change your strategy.
What if you’ve never used social media marketing before? Where should you start? Begin by taking control of your online presence.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Hopefully, you already have a website. But have you claimed your Google Business listing and optimized it? This involves linking the listing to your website and providing optimized images, such as those already on your website.
Create a Social Media Presence
Then, create a presence on every popular social media platform. These include:
While not everyone will want to follow their local dentist online, they expect you to have a presence. This allows users to learn more about your practice quickly, before they decide if they’ll visit.
Market on Social Media
Use these platforms to blatantly advertise.
Post before and after images of successful dental procedures. Advertise special offers or deals. Link to articles on your website for users that want to know more.
Most of all, keep it simple.
You don’t have to create flashy videos with special effects to draw in customers. Just show them what you do, and that you do it well. That will build customers’ trust in your practice.
6. Not Outsourcing
Optimizing your business strategy is also about saving money and workload where possible. This allows you to channel funds and work hours into higher-value work that retains customers.
Many dental practices benefit from some form of outsourcing. For example, tasks like customer and insurance billing are simple, but suck up many hours. You can likely find a service that will handle this task for you.
This may allow you to either shrink your in-house team, or focus them elsewhere.
7. Lack of Financial Planning
The key to growing any business is looking ahead. Where do you want to be in one, five, and ten years’ time? Only once you know the answer to that question can you put an actionable plan in place.
To begin, make sure you are assessing your finances regularly. You should always have a clear picture of how your business is doing financially.
Then find areas to save money. This could be tax breaks, outsourcing, or another method.
Finally, make a plan for how you want to grow your practice. Do you want to expand in situ, into other locations, or maintain your current scale?
In this process, don’t forget to keep up with your insurance. A plan that may have suited you two years ago may not be the best option today. Make sure you are thoroughly covered, but not paying more than necessary.
How to Overhaul Your Dental Practice Management Today
Successful dental practice management is within your reach. With the right help, your practice can achieve sustainable growth built on a solid foundation of business tactics.
To help you reach your goals, Dustin Burleson created a dental practice business development community. Choose the approach that’s best for you from three membership tiers. Whether you want marketing ideas or private coaching, there’s a package for you.
Subscribe today to start your business development journey. Or if you’d like to see how we built the world’s largest specialty community, just for people like you, get in touch!