Dr. Garth Hatch discusses seven proven strategies that lead to practice growth
There are many challenges most endodontists face in today’s current economic environment including lower insurance reimbursements, demographic markets oversaturated with specialists, and some general dentists less willing to refer cases out due in part to their own economic challenges. These and many other issues make the following seven concepts extremely important to grow and thrive despite challenging economic times.
Relationship Building Is Critical — Although there are many elements necessary to build and maintain a successful endodontic practice, nothing will make a bigger difference on the success of your practice than building and maintaining solid relationships with your referring dentists. Continually strive to find ways to better serve, support, and help your referring dentists and their patients. For example, how well do you know your top 10 referring dentists on a personal basis? Do you know some of their hobbies, their family situation, and what stresses keep them up at night? Continually ask yourself, “What can we do to better serve and assist Dr. X with his/her needs and goals, both personally and professionally?”
Hire a Marketing Coordinator — Your practice needs a marketing coordinator! This must be someone other than the doctor and doesn’t need to be a full-time position. It can be performed by an existing employee, a spouse, or a part-time hire. They need to be a people person who can build relationships with your referring offices and serve as an ambassador for the practice. They also need to be self-motivated and creative. Their duties can be performed in as little as 10-30 hours per month depending on the size of your practice and referral pool. Their job is to “deliver happiness” on a monthly basis and find affordable, fun and meaningful ways to do this. A well-trained, motivated, and friendly marketing coordinator can be a major force multiplier for the practice.
Create a Monthly Newsletter — Having your own unique monthly newsletter that gets mailed out to your referring offices is a powerful and cost-effective way to “touch” your referring dentists and their staff on a regular basis. If the newsletter is done correctly, it will be meaningful to not only the referring dentists but also their staff. It should be fun and not overly technical, or it will get filed in the trash. Dental Specialist Institute designs custom practice newsletters for our clients that spotlight a case of the month, list upcoming local events such as CE study clubs, etc., and has a trivia contest that referring offices love. We also include brief articles, photos of local dental activities, local events and staff highlights. If the doctor is the one coordinating the newsletter, it will rarely happen, so it’s important that someone else has the responsibility.
Consider an Associate or Partner — Although an associate or partner may not be right for every practice, having additional coverage within an endodontic practice can reduce overhead, expand the available practice hours, and allow for faster scheduling of treatment. The practice will require enough patient flow to bring on an associate, but eventually this can help both doctors improve their quality of life as well as provide a better service to your referring offices.
Wow Your Patients — Current market trends indicate that patients put a premium on exceptional customer service and are willing to pay more for this level of service. Find ways to go above and beyond the expected level of service within your practice. Do you offer your patients drinks, snacks, or other goodies prior to or after treatment? Are your patients able to listen to music, watch television or other options within your office? Does your practice provide pre- and posttreatment phone calls to your patients and sincerely thank them for choosing your office? One of the biggest gifts you can give your patients is to sincerely listen and strive to alleviate their fears and concerns whenever possible.
Systems Are the Secret — McDonald’s is one of the most successful, well-known brands and restaurants in the world. Is their success due to their amazingly delicious food? I’ll let you be the judge of that, but it’s hard to deny their business systems allow for almost anyone to be hired by their restaurant, quickly learn their systems, and deliver a predictable product that can be reproduced virtually anywhere in the world. Systems within an endodontic practice are critical to delivering high-quality, predictable results on a consistent basis. Everyone within the practice should know and follow the systems. These systems should be improved and updated with time, but should not be left to chance. They should also be based on proven, reproducible systems that continually get efficient, cost effective, and high quality results.
Develop a Team of Rock Stars — High-quality staff training in communication skills, phone mastery, scheduling, collections, and exceptional customer service is one of the best investments you can make for your practice. Get your team trained in proven systems that work for specialists in today’s economy, and review the systems on a continual basis. Help your team members develop a sense of ownership for the success of the practice, and focus on the results that make the biggest impact. When you truly develop a strong TEAM (together everyone achieves more) within your practice, the sky is the limit to the level of success and enjoyment that can be achieved.
If you’d like to take your practice to the next level and are interested in seeing how our team at Dental Specialist Institute can help, we are offering a complimentary practice analysis valued at $1,800 for the first 50 Endodontic Practice US readers that respond. Please call us at 509-578-4454, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.dentalspecialisti.com for more information and mention this article.