The dental industry is a tough field to do business. With so many new dental graduates coming out of school and starting dental practices, you are forced to answer the question: “What sets me apart?” There are a few things you and your practice can do to rise above your competitors.
Hire the Right Dental Team
- Think about the team you are building. You should hire a dental office manager you not only trust but one who can truly manage your practice in an effective and efficient manner. If you just hire a family friend who doesn’t have experience in the field, you start yourself at a disadvantage.
- When you start hiring dental assistants, hygienists and technicians, make sure this staff has the proper certifications and are willing to learn and grow with the practice. Since your practice is going to expand, they need to be prepared to take on leadership roles as staff numbers rise.
- Think about any special staff you may need. If you feel that you need a lab tech on-site, then that is a cost you will have to factor in. If you think that an accountant would help balance the books, then consider that as an option. However, it is important to remember roles like accountants and other back-end positions will not be seen by the customer.
Choose the Best Dental Office Hours to Compete
- Look at your competitors’ operating hours. If they work Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., that can be an opportunity to outmaneuver them. Open your dental practice Saturday and work that extra day. You can also stay open later during the week. This will give you a chance to catch any new patients or customers who need emergency dental work done.
- Stay open during the holiday season! This may sound like a tough one to accommodate, but opening one day over Thanksgiving or Winter break can mean a leg-up on the competition that is taking vacation.
Set Up a Good Billing System
- Be flexible. One of the most frustrating things that can happen at a dental office is when cash-paying patients go to pay and they get zero benefits for paying cash. Offer your cash-paying patients something more while increasing their customer loyalty with an in-house dental plan. If you want to learn more about creating and implementing this plan, visit launchloyalty.com.
- Don’t try anything shady. There are many dental practices that perform a procedure and either overcharge or miscode the work done when it goes out to the patient’s insurance company. This is the fastest way to lose customers. Honesty is key. If they just need a simple cleaning, then perform it and send them on their way happy. That customer, if content, will send you referrals in the future. If that customer feels they were overcharged, then not only will they stop visiting your practice but they will warn others to stay away, as well. Not only their close friends but also potential customers via review sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook.
Treat your patients like humans. Have staff that is knowledgeable and courteous. Have hours that can accommodate the busy lifestyle of today’s customers. Finally, offer benefits to patients paying in cash and offer fair pricing.