It’s never a bad time to plan goals that will increase the productivity of your dental office. But defining practical solutions that will boost production and efficiency in your office can be a challenge at times.
Now that 2021 has arrived, you are probably thinking about ideas to improve the productivity of your dental office. One way is to set practical New Year’s resolutions. You can shake up and focus your team right from the start during what is usually a sluggish time of the year. But like personal resolutions, office resolutions usually fall by the wayside on Valentine’s Day – unless they’re SMART:
- Time bound
Here are some SMART New Year Resolutions your practice can make right away.
# 1: Practice a new skill every quarter
Target date: Completion by March 31st, June 30th, September 30th and December 31st
To increase the productivity of your dental office, you need agility these days. And nothing reflects agility better than cross-training your dental team. The goal of cross training is to build a team full of versatile all-stars with “T-shaped” skills. This means that every teammate has extensive knowledge in one area – for example billing – but also has general skills in other areas such as scheduling and dental marketing.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Identify the four new skills each teammate should develop over the course of the year
- Chat with your team about what new skills they would like to develop
- Share relevant standard operating procedures with the appropriate team members
- Set up shadow meetings between the person primarily responsible for the position and the intern
- Modify job descriptions to reflect the new skills and add new (achievable) performance goals
# 2: go paperless when admitting patients
Target date: Completion by March 31st
Building a paperless dental office has many advantages for dental offices these days.
It simplifies life for the team: Do you know what is affecting the productivity of your dental office? Organize the clutter of all these new patient forms and decipher your patient’s handwriting. There is no ROI for these tasks. By opting for digital check-ins, your team regains a lot of time – and brains.
This saves time and money in the long run: Going paperless could save practices $ 10,000 a year. The cost really adds up when you think about the cost of folders, charts, souvenir postcards, paper supplies, printers, copiers and storage, etc. Instead, take that $ 10,000 and invest in new technology that makes patient visits easier (e.g. a new imaging solution), bring in part-time support for your team, or upgrade other office systems like your phones. And don’t even start with the man-hours spent on archiving each year.
It protects patients and increases their confidence in you: As part of the new normal in dentistry, the paperless move to a touchless patient experience will help you minimize the spread of COVID.
It distinguishes your practice: Patients today are constantly on the move and expect their healthcare providers to keep up. Online forms save your patients the hassle of filling out forms. They can be uploaded to your website or emailed directly to your patients who will appreciate the convenience. (And don’t forget: online forms also ensure that you get the signed documentation as soon as possible so that there are no more delays from your patients.)
According to the American Dental Association, paperless practice through the use of electronic health records (EHRs) “has the potential to improve quality of care and patient safety by improving both the quantity and quality of information available to providers for decision-making.”
# 3: Master one social media platform per quarter
Target date: Facebook by March 31st, Instagram by June 30th, Twitter by September 30th and LinkedIn by December 31st
Social media platforms are one of the best ways to connect with your existing and new patients. But there are just so many, how are you going to deal with them? Instead of feeling overwhelmed, focus on the essentials first – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and, yes, LinkedIn – and you will see your dental office’s productivity increase.
Start with these critical tasks:
- Create a profile
- Update your pictures and “About Us” sections
- Interact with new and existing patients through automated or custom content
- Publishing new types of content, e.g. B. Patient Videos
- Ad placement (in particular Facebook ads and Twitter ads)
- Understand the engagement analytics of each platform
# 4: Update your online rating profile twice a year
Target date: Completion by March 31st and September 30th
Online dental patient reviews are word-of-mouth marketing today, and they can really improve or ruin your business. You should make sure that your online review sites, such as those on Healthgrades, Yelp, and Google Reviews, are pristine.
Here’s a quick and easy way to spice up your online review sites:
- Claim the site of your practice (if you haven’t already)
- Make sure your practice information such as address, website, opening hours, and payment information is still up to date
- Improve your practice description and add new keywords
- Add new photos of your practice
- Be sure to request more reviews from patients or let RevenueWell do it for you
- Review your guidelines for replying to online reviews from dental patients
# 5: revise your approach to the phone
Target date: Completion by March 31st
The phone still plays a big role in dental offices. From a customer service perspective, the phone is often the patient’s first point of contact with your practice. And from a sales perspective, it gives the team members who work on their phones the opportunity to get production and new business moving in earnest. It is also a channel to learn more about your patients’ dental needs that your practice can proactively address and meet.
However, if not handled properly, your practice can also lose new patients. Eighty-seven percent of new patients will not leave a message or call back when their calls are on voicemail.
So make this the year you revamp your approach to the phone. Here’s how:
Step 1: Evaluate your team’s Telephone skills
- How would you rate the team’s phone etiquette?
- Do you use “tell me” instructions to pull patients out of their bowls?
- Are you practicing how to respond to questions about dental insurance or billing?
- The right time to stay on the phone with a new patient?
- How do you deal with a patient who actually calls to make price purchases?
Step 2: Assess your current phone system
- Does your phone system give you important patient information as soon as the phone rings?
- Can you text your patients from your main phone number?
- Can your patients wait on hold while calling or are they being forwarded to voicemail?
- Does it have features like auto attendant so you never miss a call?
- Does your telephone system offer call recording for training purposes?
# 6: add two new marketing touchpoints
Target date: Completion by March 31st and June 30th
This year, try to add at least two new touchpoints to your marketing efforts. Sometimes marketing gets a bad rap as spam or clumsy, but it doesn’t have to be. Get creative with your marketing and patients will actually appreciate your reach.
- Make some videos from the dentist or your dental office. Send them to patients after treatment to confirm what you told them in the chair. This personal touch goes a long way.
- Do you send appointment reminders via SMS? You should. Ask patients if they prefer to receive a text message. You will be amazed at the results.
# 7: Tighten up your daily clutter
Call it meeting, huddle, check-in – whatever you call the daily huddle of your practice, it is essential for the smooth running of a practice regardless of size and volume.
An easy way to streamline your morning clutter is to template it. For example:
- Monday – Take a look at the week ahead
- Tuesday – Work on your handover
- Wednesday – Cancel phone calls
- Thursday – Work on how the team can fill in gaps in the schedule
- Friday – Take a look at everything that went well during the week, along with areas where there is room for improvement
Structuring a daily huddle agenda keeps you organized and focused and your team members know their positions on every point. If your mornings are usually tight, consider a quick refresher after lunch. Make sure everyone is calibrated and find out how everyone on the team can support their teammates.
In your daily rush, remember that overcommunication is never a bad thing.
# 8: Share these resolutions and watch them constantly
H2: Share these resolutions and review them constantly
Target date: Completion by January 1, 2022
The last of our tips for increasing the productivity of your dental office, and hopefully the simplest one, once your team has reached an agreement on decisions, make them public. Post them in your office. Show how your practice is progressing. If your practice’s goals for 2021 aren’t visible, it will be much, much harder to achieve them.
Finally, visit them again as a team. Our work should focus on resolutions and goals. Meeting resolutions won’t happen unless they are part of daily work.
There you have it. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound solutions that will lift your dental practice’s productivity to another hemisphere for the next year.
Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates closer relationships between dentists and their patients.