Dental offices are opened with the intention and goal of helping. However, there are some must-haves that are needed within a dental office. This ranges from necessary equipment to quality of life changes that might make the workday flow a lot smoother for both your patients and your team.
Do you have everything you need to really increase the quality of life of both your patients and your team?
We're going to go over a couple of different options, so it might be important to go through this checklist.
Quality Cabinetry and Storage
Nothing is more disorganizing and inconvenient for your team and employees than having a disorganized office. The first and best way to start fighting against us this organization is with proper cabinetry and storage.
This is beneficial for every stage of your dental office. Whether this is for your front office manager to help organize patient records, appointments, and any other necessary papers or tools, or this is used to help organize your dental teams' tools. Beginning each day gets a lot less overwhelming when your team knows exactly where to look to find what they need.
It is important to remember though that these need to be pleasing to the patient as well if they are being used in the dental hygienist room.
The last impression that you want a patient to have when coming into your office is that it is disorganized and in disarray. This would happen from both your employees not being able to find what they need quickly and efficiently, or walking in and seeing miss matching cabinets compared to the rest of the office due to attempting to save some money in that regard.
When is the last time your dental operating lights were actually replaced? Typically, it has been a while. There’s no reason you shouldn’t treat the importance of those lights as a major component to your teams' tool kit. Those lights help your team of dental hygienists and dentist accurately clean patient’s teeth, perform any operations that are necessary, and give proper inappropriate diagnoses
Updated Computer System
The goal of a dental practice owner is to make the lives of both your patients and your team as easy and efficient as possible. It is only reasonable to expect that if you were investing in high-quality equipment like x-ray machines, and dental hygienist tools, and other physical aspects to incorporate, that you should also be investing in an updated computer system in an organizational-based system. Whether this is the system that manages appointments, digital versions of your client's records, or overall front desk usage, this is vital to the efficiency of your dental practice. There are plenty of organizational systems and programs available for purchase and it is highly recommended to do your research every couple of years and see if there is one that is better fitting for your office.
Considering it is your goal to assist and improve the lives of your patients, why would you leave it at only when they walk in. You should establish more efficient ways for them to set up their appointments beforehand, gather the information that they may need, or make yourself available as a dental resource to them even if only digitally.
Incorporating an online appointment setting program. Even though we previously talked about updating your current management systems as it pertains to patients setting up their appointments, this goes hand-in-hand. Make sure you find a management software that allows patients to sign up for their own schedules, or at a minimum be able to see what days are available for them.
This will give time to your front desk office manager so that they are not feeling as many phone calls about questions that could be easily solved otherwise with the implementation of this program.
Your website should have educational articles and other resources available to them. What if they are wondering the proper technique that they should be brushing with when using an automatic toothbrush, versus a manual toothbrush. You could either lose out on that Internet traffic and SEO boost by having them resort to google, or boost your reputation and reputability amongst your clientele by standing there as a resource in the digital marketplace.
Even if it only is providing one new article, or insight per week to add to your website for your clientele to see, this does show your activity and care for your patients as an online resource. This is something that is never too late to start, and can only benefit you as a practice.
Keep your patients comfortable and entertained while having their teeth cleaned or waiting to have them cleaned. There are multiple psychological studies that show that perceived time passes by much quicker when we are entertained or preoccupied in some way. So are your patients left sitting in the waiting room with five-year-old magazines left on the glass coffee table, having every minute feel like five minutes instead?
Many dental practices have already adopted a more modern approach when it comes to this. Whether it is as simple as placing a TV in the main waiting room so that patients have something to look at to help pass this time or implementing tablets that can be used by children or adults alike to entertain themselves while they are waiting.
Some of the best dental practices have now put TVs on swiveling arms that patients can control in the cleaning rooms. This allows the patient when laying down and having their teeth cleaned, to control the TV directly above them via remote control. This allows for an easier experience for the patient so they are no longer just focusing on the possible pain coming from the teeth cleaning, and allows the dental hygienist to work more efficiently with a more still patient.
Working in this very modern implementation of allowing your patients to be more comfortable, and having a smoother process will allow them to speak more highly of you as a practice for embracing these modern techniques on their behalf.
As we continue to talk about more modern techniques that dental practices are incorporating, it is impossible not to mention that of an online presence. We’re going to go over a couple of ways that you can help and work to improve your online presence, which will transfer to a better in-person experience.
One thing that everyone is aware of in the dental industry is that reputation is everything. So how can you expect a patient to choose your dental practice over another if they have no frame of reference via word-of-mouth?
The first thing they are going to do is google dentists around them. They will then typically research maybe the top two or three dental practices around them that show up on Google, and then proceed accordingly.
In order to show up within those two or three top spots, you will need to work on your SEO. This is an abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization”. This search engine optimization ranking determines how high up on Google, or other search engines you appear when someone searches something relating to your business and or webpage. The best tactic for improving this is to partner with someone that is specialized in this field and work to improve your overall ranking!
So that’s awesome, you’ve gone ahead and worked on your SEO and now you’re showing up higher on Google. However, when people click on you and they go to your website, that’s going to now be their first impression and deciding factor more than often. You want to make sure your website is optimized to be as easy to use as possible. As a dental practice, you will have people on your website from all walks of life, and all different levels of technological comfortability.
You need your website to be just as easily usable as someone who is very comfortable using technology, or someone that struggles a lot using technology.
You also need to ensure that you have accessibility settings available on your website. These are best to put on the homepage or have a very small pop up in the corner of your website screen so that way it’s able to be accessed at any point during their browsing of your website.
Your website is your first impression as a dental practice owner. Make sure it is a good first impression.
So you’ve already started ranking higher on Google, and someone else checked out your website and they like how it looks so far. However, let’s either not completely sold. That is where a very large aspect of social media comes in.
Although social media itself can lead to new patients due to organic exposure that you’re going to have. Social media also works as a form of reputation management. Having more than one place that the patient is able to find and research you helps more with your reputability.
Is also crucial that you maintain some form of activity on your social media profiles. Nothing says untrustworthy than when someone goes to your Facebook page, Instagram page, or LinkedIn page, and there is absolutely nothing there and the last time it has been updated was two years ago. In this instance, poorly kept social media will actually harm you and your reputation to new incoming patients.
Make sure you keep your platforms updated.
Allow your website to be a place where patients can go to find information. Whether this be a general FAQ about dental and oral hygiene and why it is important with updated case studies that come out every week, or a very simple informational article about your practice’s specialization.
Treat yourself as the one place that your patient should be able to go to online to find the information that they need in general regard. We make sure to specify generally because we know it is unachievable to keep up with the constantly evolving dental world news.
If you were actively seeking to increase the number of patients you have and expand your business, it is highly recommended to look into running different kinds of ads. These can range of course from physical ads like newspapers, billboards, and TV. However, a much more feasible option and the widely regarded beneficial option is running Google-based ads and social ads.
When deciding to run one of these, we would highly suggest partnering with a specialist that is very familiar and how to run and operate these to make sure that you were spending your money wisely, and seeing your return on investment.