Another year nearly over and with the departure of 2016 just a week away, I thought I would list the 16 most significant departures in dental practice during 2016:
16 from 2016 that are on the way out…
- Large reception desks. A lectern is friendlier and enables your receptionists to meet your patient standing up and welcome them to your practice. This means the phones are off the front desk (at last!) and there is no space for receptionists to store their mobile phones and their snacks.
- Answerphones during working hours (implying the practice is shut, and people rarely leave a message anyway). Use a remote reception service for when your reception is too busy to answer the phone.
- Chairs placed around the walls in the patient lounge. Cafe style clustered seating is the way to go.
- Office opening hours and closing at lunchtime. The most successful practices have their phones answered from 0800-1800 Monday to Friday with their reception open throughout these hours. And no closing the front door!
- Daft practice names. Dentistry has (thank goodness) gone medical again. Spas and Studios etc are out. Medical or memorable names are in.
- Bad/non existent/confusing signage. It’s time to freshen up your brand and your kerb appeal. If you don’t know what to do, have a walk down a thriving shopping street and see what the best retailers are up to.
- Plastic flowers and Blue-Tac in reception. Really???!!! Think, “What would John Lewis do?”
- Running late. Nobody has time to sit around a dental practice and wait until the dentist is ready to see them. Well, not for long anyway. Most running laters have been doing so for years, it’s simply a habit and, like any habit, they can simply give it up. Get on their case!
- Scale and polishes. The evidence says that they don’t work on their own so why keep prescribing them? Behavioural change is the key to treating periodontal disease.
- 50% associate deals. Only if they can gross more than £1,500/day…
- Big fillings. They’re ugly and they rarely last. And the alternatives (inlays, onlays, cerecs, etc) are so much better for the patients and the practice.
- Paying associates kick back fees for referring patients to the practice hygienists. If your associates are still demanding a commission for referring work to your hygienists then maybe it’s time to question your associates as to why they need a bribe before their patients receive appropriate treatment… The GDC are clear about their view on this, just don’t do it!
- Self-employed hygienists being paid when they aren’t treating patients. If your hygienists want to be self-employed then they can only earn when they’re working on patients. If they want to be paid for all the hours they spend in the practice it’s called being an employee and the hourly rate goes down…
- Sending anything to patients by post. Don’t send them treatment plans or appointments by post and use SMS text for reminders.
- Leaving patients to find their own way from the surgeries to reception. Treatment plan uptake and making the next appointment stats go up by 30% when the dentist escorts the patient back to the front desk and hands the patient over with a simple explanation of what their next appointment is for.
- Courtesy and empathy. It shouldn’t be on the way out but it is! Reverse the trend in your practice! Increase the levels of courtesy in all practice communications and make sure the whole team shows concern, empathy and sympathy when needed.
If you would like some help in developing a successful dental practice in 2017 than contact me for a chat!
m. 07770 430576