NAHCE UNIVERSITY

5 Ways To Improve Productivity in the Dental Practice

Productivity does not stop in offices and factories. Improving productivity is also possible in your dental practice, with several key touchpoints that allow for more appointments and better upsell. Many practice owners can be busy, but this does not always mean they’re productive. 

The key to better productivity is to optimize your workflow while improving your staff agility. You want to give not only a better customer experience but also a better way to bring in new and repeat patients. Here are 5 ways you can improve productivity in your dental practice. These should be simple enough to add to your business.

  1. Handle Your Inquiries With Chat Automation

Inquiries are the first touchpoint between your practice and potential patients. This connection can make your break your practice, so you would want to increase your conversion rate at this first interaction. There are many ways you can do it.

For starters, use automation to improve productivity in your website. A simple addition you can do to your website is adding a chatbot that can help customers to do a self-service appointment for themselves. It can help guide patients to the right solution they need without wasting valuable manpower.

Chat automation is an easy-to-install system for both your website and even your social media. It will help cut down unproductive traffic in your touchpoints like phones and email. For more complicated inquiries, potential patients can then opt to connect with a staff who will handle calls.

You can also set up an automated SMS system that automatically sends texts to customers when their appointment is coming. You can send messages a day before the appointment, as well as a few hours before the appointment. 

  1. Encourage Good Patient Rapport From Your Staff

Other areas of inquiry that you can optimize for productivity are calls and emails. It’s important to train your team to be good at front-line inbound calls, working as your customer service. Empathy is something inherent in all people, so it’s only a matter of proper training to get it out of your staff.

Encourage active listening from your staff. You want them to learn how to pay attention to the details given in a conversation. If you can’t automate SMS reminders, train your team to send an SMS reminder from a simple template.

What matters most is for your staff to know how to overcome objections from patients without escalating calls. Teach them techniques to create a sense of urgency in patients without alarming them, including encouraging setting up an appointment. You want your staff to engage a caller and get people on the calendar with as few touches as possible.

  1. Go Paperless On Your Clinical Records

When you manage business finances, one of the simplest ways to increase productivity is to go paperless. Rather than wasting your time creating a paper trail, have all records within the office listed digitally, from appointments to medical records. 

Paper trails are hard to follow and take time to archive. They also cost a lot to keep and are prone to damage from fire, water, and other elements. Going fully digital may cost you a little bit of money upfront with computers and even data storage systems. Even then, it’s going to be worth the improvement in agility.

Digital records are easy to access and can store a large amount of information without having to use too much paper. You can also send a copy of your findings to your patients via email. If the patient requests a copy of their medical history, these can be easily printed without much effort from your staff.

Going paperless is also good for the environment, which you can use as a selling point for your practice. Green marketing can be ultra profitable while supporting efforts against climate change in your own way.

  1. Reduce The Time Patients Spend in Your Waiting Room

One of the most important ways you can improve your dental practice productivity is to reduce the time patients need to spend in the waiting room. For every dentist’s office, the waiting room serves no real purpose in improving your productivity. You need to find a way for patients to wait for less, so they can dread their appointments less.

For starters, have new patients fill in their own information if they can. They can do so through a patient portal on your website or have them fill forms via email or Google Forms. For some websites, the patient portal doubles as a way to request an appointment, add in their insurance policies, and even access their accounts.

It’s almost impossible for wait time to not happen, so your practice can lessen it. Try to get patients an accurate wait time for each procedure and send them a good time estimate. By doing so, you can create a good separation for each patient, discouraging extreme wait times in your office.

  1. Account For Patient Feedback

Patient feedback is an important aspect of dental practices as your reputation is everything. Positive feedbacks are good to hear, but what you want from customers is constructive feedback. By getting notes on what you can improve with your service, you can correct those issues and build better customer satisfaction.

Read the online reviews for your practice, especially for big review aggregators like Yelp and Google My Business. Expect to have some negative and even awful reviews, but if you believe they are reasonable, put a positive spin into them. Learn from their criticisms and correct issues at the root, rather than feeling discouraged by them.

Reply to reviews with professionalism and courtesy. Thank the customer for leaving a review and inform them how you heard their feedback.

If you’re looking for more feedback, you can also send a post-visit survey to the patient’s email. Feedback surveys should be anonymous to give patients the freedom to be candid with their replies. For positive reviews, ask patients if you could use their feedback as a testimonial on your site.

Productivity in your dental practice is a matter of knowing what matters. Patient satisfaction, improving patient retention, and keeping your staff agile are not easy to implement. Regardless, knowing what you need to improve in your practice can help you get more patients and appointments. Follow these quick tips and get a more productive practice that people would love to visit again for all their dental needs. 

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