Almost every dentist would love to increase the revenue their practice generates while not hiring more staff. In business, this is called “same-store sales growth.” There are countless ways to use effective dental practice management and marketing to increase revenue. It takes some vision, creativity, research, planning and investment, but it is not too difficult for a dentist and their staff to increase the revenue a practice brings in. The following are a number of very simple, straightforward and cost-efficient steps dentists can use to enjoy same-store sales growth.
Provide High-Quality Service At Affordable Prices
A Satisfied customer is one of the best forms of advertising. That’s because it’s free and shared with passion and conviction from a trusted person. When a patient believes a dentist delivered the high-quality dental services they needed at a very affordable price, they are very likely to tell their family, friends, and anyone else who will listen, what a great deal they received on their dental services. Satisfied dental patients often write glowing reviews on Yelp and other consumer review sites and talk about it on social media without having to be paid. This attracts more patients and revenue.
Increase Production per Visit/ hours
An example of how this applies to the hygiene department: Training to obtain a “perio” focused hygiene department can conservatively get the hourly hygiene production of $155 to go to $200/ hour
What impact will the additional $45 prod/ hour have on your practice?
Variables impacting Dentist’s production/hour are: adding “same day dentistry” procedures. Procedures identified in the hygiene room and used to fill in cancelations/openings on the dentist’s schedule.
Increase case acceptance to treatment that is over @ $2,500 in value are the variables that impact production/ hour.
Create A Warm, Welcoming, Relaxing, Comfortable Environment
Many people dread going to the dentist. They associate it with sharp implements and painful procedures. One way to attract more patients is to have the word spread about how warm, welcoming and comfortable the environment and atmosphere in the dental office is. If the environment in your dental office is soothing and relaxing, it puts patients in a better frame of mind and that can improve the experience they have. Soft music and lighting in common areas and a warm, friendly staff talking in soothing tones makes people more comfortable with the experience and their family, friends and acquaintances will also want to experience it.
Have A Staff of Well-Trained, Caring, Professionals
The dental office staff is the patient’s first point of contact with your practice. If
you have a team of well-trained, highly skilled, caring professionals on your staff, the patient will know they are going to be well taken care of from the moment they walk in the door. Having a smiling, friendly receptionist welcome you to the dental office, ask about your dental problems, give you clear, simple, straightforward answers to your questions and calmly and skillfully take care of you makes patients feel like they’re being helped by caring, knowledgeable, experts qualified, able and happy to provide the help they need. Those patients will bring you more clients and additional revenue.
Action : We highly suggest management review the practices onboarding procedures to ensure all new hires are aware of the practice’s core beliefs, practice etiquette, and learn the duties & skills of their position so patients receive the “ red carpet” experience
Example: Train the front desk staff to appoint every patient for their next visit prior to leaving the office. Keep in mind that getting patients to make their next appointment is not as easy as simply asking the patient when he or she would like to come back
Expand The Services You Offer
One effective way to increase same store revenue in your dental practice is to expand the services you offer. This creates new revenue streams by providing more services for the patients you already have and attracting new patients for the additional services you now offer. When patients are comfortable with and have confidence in the dental care services you provide, they are more likely to turn to you themselves and recommend you to others for your new services. You can increase your income without adding new patients when your current patients begin coming to you for multiple dental procedures. Rather than refer your patients to other dentists, taking care of their needs yourself can increase your same store revenue.
Action: We suggest you look at the number of endodontic, perio, extraction, implant and orthodontic cases your practice refers out on a monthly bases to see how much revenue could be added back to the practice if a provider was hired to perform those procedures.
Hiring a specialist to work 1 day/ week to perform specific procedures is a good place to start. In addition, provide opportunities for associates to take courses and/or join study clubs to increase their skills with endo, sleep apnea, Invisalign etc.
Build Trust Through Patient Engagement
One key to profitable dentistry practice management is engaging with your patients. It costs less to retain your existing patients than to recruit new ones. Plus, when you engage with patients it builds a level of trust that not only keeps them coming back, but also motivates them to refer their family, friends and associates to your practice. Engaging with your core group of patients who regularly come to you for the dental care gives the practice stability. Sending them helpful dental care tips through newsletters or direct mailings keeps them engaged by giving them more value for their dental care dollar.
Action: You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? It is so true! Your practice needs to find ways to remain in clear view of your patient’s eyes. Social media is a great way for the practice to share how they are giving back to the community, to inform patients of dental related items and to announce fun events, contests and/or specials they are running throughout the year – especially during the Holidays. This will keep your practice in clear view of your current patients and will get them to be an “active” participant.
Offer More Convenient Regular And Emergency Hours
Many patients choose a dentist because they have convenient regular and emergency hours. No matter how good a dentist is, they will lose patients if they are closed when patients need them most. Ask your patients if opening earlier on certain days and staying open later on other days will make it more convenient for them, their family, and their friends, to come in for the dental services they need. Commit to providing emergency dental services when patients need it. This can give you access to a whole new revenue stream that can make your practice more popular and more profitable.
Offer Incentives And Rewards For Patient Referrals
The average patient who thinks you do great work will refer people to your practice but sometimes an extra nudge is needed. If you offer incentives and rewards for patients who refer friends to your practice, it can significantly increase same store growth in revenue for a very small investment. Offering patients simple incentives and rewards like a free cleaning or discounts on their dental care for X number of referrals can motivate them to actively recruit clients for you. Personal recommendations are more persuasive to people making dental care decisions and can cost you less than paying for an ad.
Action: It’s puzzling why some practices are afraid to ask their patients for referrals or do not run an effective referral program. New patients referred over from a current patient are more inclined to keep their scheduled appointments and will often move forward with treatment much easier than new patients from another source. Do you have an patient referral program? If you do have a referral program, are you aware of how successful it is? How many new patient leads schedule and keep their appointments from a “patient referral” each month?
Laser Focus Your Social Media Marketing
Using social media marketing targeting tools like Local Awareness Facebook Ads to make people within a 50-mile radius of your practice aware of its location, hours and services is an excellent way to make your social media marketing efforts more focused, targeted and effective. You can even add a ‘Get directions’ link and a call to action button that is a highly visible and easy prompt to encourage and remind the person how easy it is to make an appointment, get answers to their questions, and get any other relevant details.
Action: We often find practices that either delegate their social media marketing to an internal team member or outsource. However, it amazes us that they seldomly evaluate the effectiveness of their energies. We suggest you review your social media activity and outcomes routinely at the end of each month to identify what is working well; as well as, areas that are not working well and/or require tweaking.
Use Facebook Demographic Targeting
About 90% of dental buying decisions are made by women. Many women within a 50-mile radius of your dental office are on Facebook regularly. You can target Facebook ads to women with children in your area and tap into a very lucrative market. Targeted ads can create income streams that continually grow as the children get older and need more complex dental services.
Don’t Forget The Appointment Reminders
People have so many things that compete for their attention, it’s easy for them to forget their semi-annual dental checkup for themselves or one of their children or the teeth cleaning appointment they made months ago. A simple way to help your practice increase its revenue year to year is to give your patients a phone call or send them post cards or emails to remind them of their appointments. You can also use those same those communication methods to make them aware of special discounts you are offering on teeth cleaning and whitening or other dental care services.
With some thought, planning, focused action, and an investment of a little time and a small amount of money, same-store sales growth is possible for any dental care practice.