Attracting new patients to your practice is a hard slog. It takes a huge investment of time, energy and money. If you are investing any of these things into acquiring new patients you really need to look at the results you are seeing to make sure you are not throwing your time and money away.
Acquiring new patients is a process that needs to be followed through from start to finish.
More often than not we focus our energy and money into driving visitors to our website or calling our practice but often we overlook the important part of actually converting the patient after they get in touch.
What systems do you have in place to facilitate this conversion? Do you track enquiries and monitor conversion? Is your team trained to handle enquiries, overcome objections and build and nurture the patient relationship? What happens when the enquiry doesn't immediately convert, do you have a system in place to follow up and nurture the lead into conversion? Often I find that these systems are just not in place and I cannot tell you just how much potential business you are missing out on!
To address these questions, over the years I have developed and perfected a robust, structured system that has been designed to track and manage the entire new patient process leading to maximum conversion and a phenomenal patient experience that will not only land you that new patient but will help build your practices reputation and attract even patients to your door.
What we need to understand is that some people are just not ready to buy, for whatever reason they just don't have the desire to actually come in and speak to you (don't take it personally).
How many times have you had a website enquiry come through (usually at some odd hour), someone telling you their story and asking you for a solution. You dutifully respond with a helpful reply and offer of a telephone conversation or even a free consult to gently find out more, days go by and you never hear from them again! I find this is particularly common with dental implant enquiries and I know just how frustrating this can be.
It is my belief that these people are simply not ready to commit, they had a brave moment but this quickly passed and now they just want to continue their fact finding and are just not ready to do any more than shop around or information gather. You might assume they are just not interested, maybe they went elsewhere or they might just be complete time-wasters, you might be right but on the other hand maybe they are your dream patient and just need a bit of gentle encouragement? You need to have a system in place to follow up these enquiries and try to build and nurture the relationship with these potential patients.
More often than not conversion is a process that happens over time, it's rarely instant and like anything worth having it takes time and effort.
If you'd like help designing and implementing systems and training for handling & nurturing enquiries get in touch to find out how I could help you.
Running a successful, profitable dental practice is enormously dependent upon not good but superior book management.
How do you manage your appointment book? Do you give it the attention it deserves or do you just open it up and hope for the best?
If you want to improve productivity and maximise the clinical time available in your practice then read on.....
The first step in superior book management is to operate a booking system which meets the needs of your individual practice.
Depending upon your practices main focus you need to create and implement a system that caters to it. For example if you're a well established general practice with a high number of loyal patients it would be wise to schedule specific slots for routine examinations to ensure there is a daily limit on the number of exams scheduled, leaving enough time in the day for more valuable treatments thus maintaining a good hourly/daily rate.
Before deciding how you want to structure your appointment book you must give some thought to several factors:
· What is your main focus?
· What would your ideal day look like?
· How much do you want to earn per day?
· Does your book tie up with anyone else, for example the hygienist?
The main aim of any book management system is to not only ensure there is room in your book for a full range of treatment but more importantly that your day is varied and productivity is maximised. There is nothing worse than a day filled with short, low value appointments, days like this leave you and your team feeling over worked and under valued, a full day of hard work ends up yielding little financial return.
Regardless of how you structure your system, you should make sure it incorporates some way to allow the following:
· Time for New Patients
· Time for Emergencies
· Time for Routine Examinations & Low Value Treatments
· Time for Advanced or High Value Treatments
It is important to involve your team in the design stage of a book management system, they can provide you with invaluable input that will really help the system succeed. They are also more likely to be supportive of the system as they will have a good understanding of what its all about and having been involved in the design they will really take ownership of it!
Once your system is in place you should stick to it, obviously some level of flexibility will be needed but on the whole it is important for everyone to understand that the system is the system and it should be followed.
The next stage in superior book management is to manage your system. You've trained your team and they all understand how it works and they are all working to it but having a system does not fill the space!
Book management should be PROACTIVE NOT REACTIVE. All too often practice teams REACT to gaps in the appointment, they are actively following up recalls, not handling cancellations effectively and are not pro-actively working to fill un-booked space ahead of time.
A good follow up system can transform book management and I believe all practices should adopt robust systems to track patients through the key elements of the patient journey, click here to read my previous post on follow up systems.
Set your team some targets specific to the appointment book, this could be based on utilisation of hours available, income yielded per day, x number of a specific type of appointment, set targets that are specific to what you want to improve and monitor the progress rewarding team members for success.
In summary, it is possible to unleash the potential of your appointment book but you must have good book management processes in place to maximise productivity. Your team must understand and support your book management systems and be proactive in filling gaps and handling cancellations.
At Practice Perfection we can help you improve your book management procedures, train your team and ultimately increase productivity! Get in touch to find out more email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07703627873
In order to maximise your appointment book and develop amazing relationships with your patients your team need to master the art of follow up.
Follow up is something I cannot impress enough upon my team and my clients. I strongly believe that there should always be a next step and you should be the one in control. Success does not just happen it is something that takes hard work and dedication.
Every patient whether new or existing should be part of a system and everyone in the practice should know where they are in this system. A traditional recall system is not sufficient to maximise patient retention and it does not demonstrate first class level service to your patients. A robust follow up system is necessary to capture every step of your patient journey and ensure no-body falls through the cracks.
A multi-level follow up system captures patients from the moment they get in touch until the moment they leave your practice for good (which is hopefully never!).
A follow up system is a fundamental part of good practice management and will ultimately lead to higher performance and productivity as well as amazing client relationships.
With an effective follow up system patients feel important, cared for and that you really do have their best interest at heart.
I recommended you identify the key follow up points in your patient journey for example enquiries that have not yielded bookings should always be followed up, as should patients who have cancelled and not re-booked an appointment.
Having a good system is only the first step the most important part of making a follow up system work is ensuring everyone in the practice knows HOW it works. Follow up communications are worthless when the message is wrong, in fact they can be worse than worthless they can be harmful, patients can feel hounded and harassed and this impression will not help patient retention. Your team need to know how to communicate effectively to ensure patients understand the nature of the follow up communication and that it is intended as a tool for improved customer service and efficiency rather than to ‘fill the book’. It is vitally important to know and respect the patients contact preference, many patients don’t like phone calls they may prefer to communicate by email where possible and it is so important to offer a method of communication that the patient is comfortable with.
Scripting is an effective way to ensure your message is being received, identify with your team the need for a follow up system, examine your patient journey to determine appropriate points for follow up and agree a system. You can then work together to create procedures, scripts and even email or letter templates to assist in the process. Make sure your team is on board with the new system and practice with each other (yes the dreaded role play that we all love so much, but it really does work!) after all practice makes perfect.
If you’d like to find out more about evaluating and improving your administrative systems and increase productivity please email@example.com or visit www.practice-perfection.co.uk
Today I have spent the day at a beautiful practice in Southampton. The practice is a busy Implant Referral Centre with a very small yet efficient team.
They asked me to visit them today to help them customise their practice management software to help make admin tasks more efficient and streamline systems for patient/referrer communications.
I have worked with the same practice management software for a number of years and despite having no formal training from the software provider I am not afraid to say I consider myself somewhat of a 'super user'. I can navigate my way around the software at great speed and can utilise it to it's full potential, setting up functions that many don't even know exist!
It continues to amaze me that most practices utilise their practice management software at its most basic function, but how would they know any different when there is a severe lack of training available on the subject.
Training from the software provider is great for new users and teaches you to the basic 'how to' of the programme but as far as advanced usage goes, there is very little provision.
What if I told you that your practice management software had the power to:
· Improve efficiency
· Improve customer relations
· Increase productivity
· Streamline internal marketing strategies
Wouldn't you want to know how to do this?
Welcome to the Blog!
I want to help you build the practice of your dreams, I hope you find insight and inspiration in my blog.