Success in the dental industry requires balance between clinical work and practice management. If dentists cannot keep up with today’s fast-paced and technology-focused environment, they can easily lose control of their practice workflow. With the dental industry becoming increasingly competitive, it is necessary for dentists to focus on cohesion in their practices.
Today’s dentists require greater business training, management competence, and marketing skills to remain profitable. Instead of bearing the stress of practice management, dentists should understand how implementing and aligning new solutions can make practices more profitable and provide better care for more patients.
Leverage Software Solutions
Many dental practices today waste hundreds of hours and dollars every year tackling daily administrative tasks that slow workflows and reduce productivity. Dentists lose time in searching through paper documents, billing patients by mail, and handling insurance claims.
Now, companies are entering the marketplace to mitigate these tedious tasks with useful solutions. For example, dentists now have access to electronic credit card and claims processing software that works alongside practice management systems. Implementing these solutions can help dental offices become more organized and cost-effective. Dentists can reallocate worktime toward the part of their jobs that matters most: taking care of patients.
Eliminate Paper Processing
Dentists can save thousands of dollars in capital by ditching paper. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that going paperless can save an office approximately $80 per employee in supply costs including ink, toner, postage, and even visits to the post office.
However, dental practices nationwide have been slow to reduce their dependence on paper. While it could save the dental industry more than $1.9 billion annually, the adoption of electronic transactions among dental offices is 30% lower than the rest of the health industry, according to the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare.
Dental offices may be wary of going paperless, but they’ll benefit immensely. Computers have become more integral in modern day practices, so the costs associated with ditching paper are also minimal. Dental offices must learn how to leverage today’s devices to make practices more “green” and cost-effective.
Implement Strong Customer Support
Poor customer service can severely impact a company’s reputation. One bad experience can result in a negative review, which could reduce patient retention and generation. For instance, a recent study from Help Scout revealed that 91% of customers who were unhappy with their experience would not do business with a company again.
Since acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times costlier than maintaining a current one, dental offices must provide experiences that will directly translate into benefits for practices. Dental practices should establish and hold team members accountable to a foundation of core expectations to ensure strong customer service is being implemented across the entire practice. These standards will prevent negative situations from arising and ensure patients receive high-quality care.
Dental practices should also be proactive in assessing their patients’ needs and implementing a customer service plan to satisfy those requests. Create benchmarks to measure the plan’s effectiveness, and make revisions as necessary by gathering feedback from team members. This will ensure patient satisfaction continues to increase, which will lead to higher retention and profitability.
Strengthen Online Marketing Practices
Many practices don’t update their marketing techniques and fail to maintain a robust online presence. If dental offices limit their practice to archaic marketing techniques it can have a detrimental impact, as a study revealed that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online and 40% of consumers today say that information found on social media affects their health decisions. This makes it vital for dentists to ensure their information is reaching current and prospective patients.
Mr. Joseph is the president and CEO of Renaissance Electronic Services, a software company that provides electronic claims processing and credit card processing for dental offices. With nearly 15 years in the dental claims industry, he has risen through the ranks at Renaissance Electronic Services from joining the team in 2004 as an intern to his current role leading the company. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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