Transforming Chaos Into Consistency
Chaos. Uncertainty. Stress. Frustration. Blame. Team conflict. Disengaged patients. Rampant cancellations and no-shows. Low treatment acceptance and completion. Do any of these issues sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. The good news is that you have the power to change your dental pracitce’s situation for the better. Often, the reason these symptoms are wreaking havoc on your practice is a lack of consistency in your dental practice systems.
A dental practice’s survival requires multiple business and clinical systems. When your systems are broken, a streamlined day will fall apart, forcing you to redirect your energy toward salvaging the remaining workday. But ideally, these systems work together like a well-oiled machine to create consistently successful and fulfilling workdays. This harmony can only exist when these systems are well established and effectively executed by both you and your team.
Top 4 Dental Practice Systems To Optimize for a Smoothly Running Practice
So how do we create a more consistently running practice? How do we establish strong systems throughout the practice and the team? And how do we fix a broken system when we discover that one has fallen apart?
Start by determining what your processes should look like for each of your practice systems. Next, clearly communicate these processes to your team. Then train everyone in best practices for system execution. Now you can commit—as a team—to embracing the process and executing it consistently.
Truly, I believe that as you are building strong systems in your practice, being consistently good matters more than reaching perfection. Once you can begin to regularly succeed with a given system, you can then build skills to become even more competent and confident in your work. This is the intersection of mindset and skill set where practices can finally begin to grow.
Here are the top 4 areas of inconsistency that plague dental practices and how applying a consistent approach to each can significantly improve day-to-day operations:
1. The Telephone
No matter who answers the phone, have everyone answer it the same way every time. Utilize effective communication skills to gather important information, build relationships with patients, and underscore the value of their appointments. These practices are important not only for appointment scheduling itself but also for helping patients keep those appointments. Invest time in enhancing your team’s telephone skills.
2. The Patient Experience
A patient’s overall experience will directly influence their perceived value of your dental practice and the treatment you provide. Each and every member of your team can make or break that patient relationship. Clearly communicate what your ideal patient-experience process is and rehearse each step together as a team so that everyone feels competent in their role. If you are getting a lot of questions or dropped balls throughout a patient’s experience, your team needs further training.
Click here for a complimentary ebook on case presentation best practices to help you craft a more successful patient experience.
3. The Schedule
There are essentials to scheduling that help you consistently hit production and scheduling goals every single day. Do you have a scheduling goal that you are consistently accomplishing? If not, perhaps some essentials are missing from your scheduling process. In Jameson’s online learning platform, Grow, we review scheduling best practices in the Effective Scheduling pathway. You can access the Grow platform and learn more by clicking here.
4. The Financing
Synchrony and CareCredit recently found that 9 out 10 patients (92% to be exact) said that they would delay treatment because of cost. It is not surprising that cost is your patients’ number one barrier to care, but 9 out of 10 is a pretty big hill to climb to reach treatment acceptance. If you are not consistently offering patient financing options, you are preventing a large group of your patients from comfortably accessing treatment. Even if presenting these options regularly only increased case acceptance by 10%, it would still be worth the effort.
Putting It All Together
There are at least two dozen more systems that we could cover. To access guidance on how to lead your team forward in positive change and to access our Rate Your Practice exercise, download our complimentary Move The Needle e-book now.
However, addressing these four areas will start you on the right track: telephone, patient experience, scheduling, and financing. If you can improve these four systems by even 1% to become more consistent in delivering excellence, I know that you will see an enormous difference in your practice’s performance, your patients’ engagement, and your team’s motivation.
Focus on improving what you can, but most importantly, focus on being consistently good. As Craig Groeschel says, “Successful people do consistently what others only do occasionally.”
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