Not Actively Training Your Staff
We understand that it is exciting to go to conventions, and seminars, and all of these major events of other dental practitioner owners looking for ways to improve their business and connect with others. However, it is important to take all the knowledge and invest it back into your staff.
Whenever you first learn something new that’s related to the dental field, is your initial thought,
"How could this benefit my team if I showed it to them?" If it’s not, this may be a good thing to keep in mind the next couple of times you see something interesting.
It is also important to take into account the onboarding process and training initially. Yes, you are going to be hiring someone that does know how to do most of their own job functions. As in a dental hygienist, dental assistant, front office manager, or dentist themselves.
However, it’s always a good idea to have a strong onboarding process to both introduce them to their team of coworkers, as well as to get a baseline measurement for anything that they’re going to need to improve on, or what they excel at.
In these beginning training stages, you can also ensure that they know and will embody the core values of your business. Having transparency and friendliness throughout these onboarding and training processes will lead to higher employee retention.
Not Having Your Staff Understand The Importance Of The First Visit
The first visit of any patient is one of the single most important visits you can have. That patient is walking into a place that they probably have never been before, your office, and doesn’t really know what to expect.
On top of all of this, people tend to already have some form of anxiety about going to the dentist. Your office needs to match the warmth and welcoming nature that you want to show from your staff as well.
As a business owner, you already are well aware of how much a first visit that goes poorly can make or break that patient’s opinion of your practice. That could then lead to them speaking ill of that practice to their friends, leaving negative reviews online, and definitely not coming back again.
However, do your dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dentists understand the gravity of that situation as well?
As employees that are paid either salary or hourly, they might not take that into account when they are handling a patient for the first time.
So take a look at your returning patient rates after their first visit.
Are they higher than they were last year? That’s great, it means your staff is doing an awesome job at making them feel welcome, and now you could dedicate a little bit more towards your marketing efforts to recruit more patients.
Are they lower than they were last year? Take a look at some things that you may be able to improve. Is this your staff’s attitude towards them? Is it possibly too casual and not professional? Does your dental office look and feel outdated when they are in it? Or maybe it feels to clinical.
These are all things to take into account when you’re doing a self-audit on your business.
Walking The Walk, But Not Being Able To Talk The Talk
You could be the single best dental practice in the world, but if nobody knows about you, it’s hard to get incoming patients.
Of course, other patient referrals and word-of-mouth is always beneficial and builds upon your reputation greatly. Word-of-mouth referrals help to establish yourself in the community in a marketplace that is very competitive.
However, it is very hard to grow quickly and efficiently using only word-of-mouth. Are you marking your business online? Are you running Google ads or social media ads?
At a minimum, are you partnering with someone who has expertise in these areas?
It is important to do everything you can to stand out from the rest of your dental competitors. Almost everyone only has one dentist that they go to, and typically they go to that same dentist for years to come as long as they are having a good experience.
So establishing an online presence via marketing allows you to compete in the sea of other dental practitioners, and to create your own word-of-mouth.
You can market all of the amazing testimonials that you have to show potential patients that it is worth a try to come to your dental practice. Drive people to check out your brand new website and all of its resources, or instead have them call your office with one click.
You may feel like even at the moment you don’t have the funds to start marketing, and the most important thing to remember is that you are investing in yourself and your own business by doing so.
Not Prioritizing Chairside Attitude And Manners To Your Staff
Chairside manner and attitude is one of the most telling signs to a patient whether or not your staff cares. We have talked about before that patients tend to judge a practice based on how the office looks, and how much pain they experience during their visit.
Their experience also will greatly vary depending on the attitude of your dental hygienist or dental assistant during their interactions with them. It is of course understandable that not every day is going to be a good day, and there will be days when your dental hygienist or dental assistants will be having a rough day when you’re at work, or outside of work.
However, it may be worth reviewing with them the importance of not letting it bleed over into patient interactions. Ultimately everyone there in your office is there to help patients.
Whether that is the front office manager that is in charge of organization, file management, and other administrative-based tasks, for the dentist that conducts dental procedures; every interaction with the patient is important and leaving an impression.
You could have the nicest looking dental office in the world, but if your staff is not personable or likable, patients will not have as pleasant of a time. The strongest connections that we make are with other people, not with however aesthetically pleasing the inside of an office is.
Not Always Looking New Technology, And Processes To improve
The world is always coming up with new technology and technological advancements. The dental industry is no different in that regard. Just as we spoke about before when you might be attending seminars or conferences and experiencing some new dental procedures and equipment, it is important to take all of these into account when you were thinking of expanding your dental practice.
Just like how we previously mentioned that it is investing in your business to conduct more online marketing to increase the income of patients. Investing in new equipment will make your staff more efficient, and will open the doors to previous services that you were unable to do beforehand.
Having some new top-of-the-line equipment will also make your patients feel more comfortable in your dental practice. No patient wants to go in and have a 20-year-old x-ray machine being used.
This will also improve the morale of your staff. It gives them something to brag about or think is interesting to speak about.
There are some dental practices that are using laser cleaning tools to assist them in cleaning teeth. That is a spectacular investment and will now allow them to offer that service to patients that would like that.
Sometimes it’s not always just the shiny new equipment, but better processes. Improving the process and workflow of your staff will help them to alleviate a lot of stress, and lead them to be more organized.
This could also be a new electronic file organization system that was just released specifically for the dental industry, or it could be a new kind of workflow to achieve the same results for your patients but in a way that makes it easier for your hygienists.
It is important to always be looking for ways to improve your dental office.