No matter how successful your dental practice is, there’s always something you can do to improve. In fact, with nearly half of dentists saying they’re concerned about increasing competition from other practices, it’s more important than ever not to rest on your laurels.
Here are five areas in your practice that you should review regularly to ensure they’re still working for you. Making updates (if needed) will make your dental practice more appealing to patients and keep your employees happier, too.
Your scheduling system
How well do your PMS and patient communication software work together? You may be using practice management software (PMS) and patient communication software to automate scheduling and related tasks. However, if you want to get the most from these two types of software, it’s important to make sure the two systems work well together.
Does your PMS automatically sync with your patient communication software? If so, how frequently does this take place? Software that syncs only a few times a day can lead to major inconsistencies in your schedule, which can cause unhappy patients. (Just imagine what could happen if two patients show up for the same appointment!) Your patient communication software should also automatically confirm appointments directly in your PMS. That way, your front desk team doesn’t have to add confirmed appointments to the PMS manually.
Look for patient communication software such as Lighthouse 360, which syncs every 10 minutes all day long and automatically confirms appointments in the PMS, ensuring your data is always accurate. (Learn more about why sync time is so important.)
Your communications software
Some 70% of consumers say they’re more likely to choose a healthcare provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text. Sure, some patients still prefer getting phone calls to remind them of upcoming appointments, but if phone calls are the only way you communicate, you’re not serving all of your patients.
It’s time to update to patient communication software that lets you communicate with patients the way they prefer — whether that’s text, email, phone calls or even the U.S. mail. Lighthouse 360 makes all of these options equally simple to use, so you can keep every patient happy while keeping your schedule on track.
Your online presence
With so much to take care of in your dental practice every day, it’s easy for your online presence to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, your website, social media accounts, online search listings and online reviews can easily become outdated if you don’t stay on top of them. Make it a point to regularly review all these elements of your online presents to make sure everything is up to date.
- Is your website mobile friendly?
- Does it look modern and current?
- Are you sharing useful content, eye-catching photos and other information to help prospective patients make a decision about visiting your office?
- Are your practice address, phone, hours and other contact information current in online listings such as Google My Business? Outdated listings can cost you patients: If they can’t find your current information, they can’t visit you.
Your physical office
Step back and examine your office with a critical eye, as if you’re a new patient visiting for the first time. (If you find this hard to do, ask family members or friends.) More than three-fourths of patients say it’s “very important” for a dental office to make a good first impression.
- Does the space look professional, clean and appealing?
- Is your equipment and technology up to date?
- Does the waiting area need a makeover?
Take note of outdated or dingy elements and make a plan to purchase new equipment, invest in new paint or flooring, or whatever is needed to create a soothing, pleasant environment.
Your front desk
Your front desk staff is critical to the patient experience. Are they providing the highest possible level of service? Do they know what tasks are their biggest priorities? Are you providing them with ongoing training and opportunities for professional development? If you want your front desk to operate at peak performance, you need to invest in them.
For instance, Lighthouse 360 automatically generates a task list for your front desk every morning so they know what to prioritize. Lighthouse 360 also offers an annual, free account review to ensure your employees are always current on all the features of the software. Whether you’re training new employees or giving existing employees a refresher course, such an annual account review can ensure all your settings are configured properly and that you’re getting the greatest possible benefit from the software.
Let’s face it: Everything needs a refresh from time to time, including your dental practice. By regularly reviewing these five elements of your practice, you can rest assured you’re doing the best you can to attract and retain patients.