Word-of-mouth recommendations aren’t the only way to attract new patients to your practice. Even allocating a portion of your budget to marketing could help grow your practice. Most dentists today have a website to advertise their presence. Are you effectively using this marketing tool to track new patients coming through the door? Find out where your leads originate and nurture that channel. Get to know patient demographics by using search engine optimization (SEO) or social media. Once you know your demographic segment, find ways to advertise your business at the source.
From the time your front desk answers the phone to schedule an appointment, your staff should begin cultivating a relationship with patients. You should train your entire staff to upsell procedures, and every patient should leave your office with the next appointment already scheduled. If patient appointments are booked well in advance, you can focus on filling open slots in the schedule.
Your practice’s finances should be consistently top of mind. You should be monitoring and tracking accounts receivable, collections, and credit adjustments on a weekly or monthly basis. From here, pinpoint your current status and chart a goal for the coming year. One way to improve accounts receivable, for example, is to implement a system that identifies accounts unpaid for 90 days so that you can address these accounts first.
If your practice has diversified into elective procedures, you may notice that many patients need to pay off more complex treatments in installments. Make sure you have a financial plan to handle payment schedules. Your plan could allow patients to pay an initial installment at the time of service, and then allow them to pay the remainder over two to three months. If you can’t afford to offer credit terms to your patients, consider partnering with a company that offers patient financing.