Running a successful dental practice requires more than an excellent front desk team, a clean office, and a solid reputation as a dentist. While these factors certainly help shape a successful practice, a dental practice is a business and must be run like one.
Dentists aren’t marketers by nature, yet are tasked with continually acquiring new patients. Dentists must use digital marketing strategies if they want to acquire new patients, keep existing patients, and grow their practice. This includes using PPC ads, SEO, email marketing, and content marketing strategies.
Digital marketing is a requirement to compete in today’s marketplace for just about every industry on the planet. There are probably a few exceptions, but any business that relies on an influx of new customers or clients needs digital marketing. Dental practices not only require a flow of new customers – they require a strong patient retention strategy as well.
Although digital marketing plays a major role in creating a successful dental practice, no amount of marketing can make up for a bad dentist.
A successful dental practice starts with a great dentist
Whether you have one or more dentists working in your office, a successful practice starts with a great dentist. A great dentist is one who:
- Has the right professional credentials for all services provided
- Has an area of expertise or specialty
- Is courteous and compassionate with patients
- Is loved by his or her patients
- Has a solid track record of successful results
- Chooses dental assistants who fit the practice
- Takes the time to connect with patients personally
- Doesn’t push unnecessary treatments on patients
While other factors follow, having a great dentist is the foundation of good dental practice.
A successful dental practice saves money without cutting corners
Every business owner aims to save money, but some aim low and cut corners. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. There’s a reason the best dentists use only high-quality tools, equipment, and supplies in their offices. Cheap tools are a liability, and cheap supplies make your office look, well, cheap. It is possible, however, to find dental equipment and supplies for less.
Rather than cut corners, the first step toward saving money is for dentists to take control of their orders. They should not allow vendor representatives to order on their behalf – at least not without specific directions. Other techniques to save money include paying off financed equipment as fast as possible. Interest rates can be sky-high for some purchases.
One dentist can save tens of thousands of dollars just by paying off equipment early. Even when there’s a fee for early repayment, it will amount to far less than the accumulated interest over time.
Stellar front desk personalities can make a practice successful
Front desk staff can be highly influential in swaying people to either return or find another dentist. Patients connect with front desk staff as soon as they walk into the office, and right before walking out the door. Front desk staff are responsible for every patient’s first and last impression.
According to data published by pwc.com, a total of 73% of customers say experience is a heavy factor in their purchase decisions and in determining brand loyalty. For dental practices that don’t nail the customer experience, that means losing patients to other local dentists.
People employed as receptionists in a dental office are a major part of the customer experience. Although they’re not working on patients, their interactions carry a significant amount of weight in terms of shaping the customer experience.
Front desk staff members can alter a patient’s mood just with a conversation. For example, patients who fear the dentist can be made to feel comfortable and calm by interacting with the front desk staff. After a serious procedure, a big smile and a friendly conversation can make a patient feel better.
Why do dental practices fail?
Why do some dental practices fail while others thrive? Sometimes it’s the small things, like wasted capital and inadequate marketing. Other times, it’s completely internal. For example, many practices fail to grow because of improperly delegated responsibilities and the inability to collect overdue invoices.
It’s critical for dental practices to utilize professional services to manage and grow their practice, just like any other business.
A successful dental practice grows over time
Although some dentists are well-loved and skilled, that alone won’t guarantee success. Building up a successful dental practice takes time, money, marketing, and amazing services. Although some factors are more important than others, all factors contribute to success.