Many dentists face the challenge of not only providing quality dental care, but also running a small business in the form of their dental surgery.
These are some of the biggest issues facing dentists right now:
Getting new patients
Encouraging patients to join your practice is one of the biggest issues facing dentists. Having an engaging and easy-to-use website could make a huge difference to your conversion rates, as well as understanding SEO and how you can improve your search rankings online. Social media marketing is a powerful tool which can also help you to engage with prospective patients, and demonstrate top customer service before they even enter your practice.
Moving from NHS to private
Moving from the NHS to private dentistry is an attractive proposition to many dentists, yet many consider it too risky to make the move. One worry is whether patients will stay with you after the change, another is the financial security offered by an NHS contract, which you may not have after moving to private practice. It is natural that patients might want to move in order to remain with the NHS but, as private patients generate more income, you should first work out how many patients you need to continue to have a profitable business. Introducing a patient membership plan will also help ensure some financial security, and give you a regular monthly income.
Competing with other dental practices is always going to be a big issue for dentists, but there are ways to make your practice stand out from the crowd. Think about what the most successful businesses do to keep customers coming back, whether that’s Starbucks, Amazon, Apple or any other big company - they all work hard to provide efficient, high quality products and services, and take great care over their customer service too. So make sure your business is run well, and your focus is on ensuring your customers are happy with the treatment and level of service they receive.
Quality of customer service
As we’ve touched on above, the importance of high quality customer service cannot be stressed enough. Visiting the dentist can be a difficult experience for many patients, and the level of care they receive, right from the moment they walk through the door, can make all the difference. Do you have helpful and friendly reception staff? Do you inform your patients if you’re running late? Do you provide magazines and refreshments in the waiting area? All these things can help reduce patient anxiety, and keep them coming back.
Dentists need to be business people
You may have trained as a dentist, but if you’re going to make a living you need to be a business person too. Running a successful dental practice requires good marketing, planning and budgeting. You must see yourself as a business leader, and ensure you have a clear idea of your vision, goals and expectations - you’ll also need to communicate these effectively to your team.