The Top Five Ways Practices Waste Time and Money
Smile Reminder's Michael Mosely gives you five tips on cutting inefficiencies in your practice.
by Michael Mosely
With hundreds of new dental practices emerging across the country, established practitioners cannot afford to fall behind. Despite competition and the challenging economy, there are many opportunities for a dental practice to thrive. To gain a competitive edge, practices must isolate ways in which they are wasting valuable time and money, and make the necessary moves to eliminate these time and money wasters from their day-to-day operations.
Here are the top five ways practices are wasting time and money, followed by tips on how to cut these inefficiencies and gain a competitive edge:
1. Mailers. If your practice is still using mailers to send appointment reminders, advertisements, birthday greetings, and the like, there is a good chance your efforts are not being seen. With email and text messages as the newly preferred means of communication, a paper mailer is likely to end up lost or lumped in with junk mail. Furthermore, these paper mailers are a wasted expense, where email or text messaging is much more cost-effective. Bottom line: postage, paper materials, and time spent on this somewhat outdated method can be avoided by adopting a more relevant, digital means of communication.
2. Manual phone calls to confirm appointments.If you run a dental practice, ask yourself these two questions: How many hours does your staff spend manually calling to confirm next day appointments and, despite their efforts, how often do those phone confirmations still result in missed appointments? The problem with manual phone call reminders is much more than wasted time — it is also a matter of effectiveness. More often than not, voice mail messages are missed and going back and forth on scheduling only wastes valuable staff time. Enlisting a patient engagement system that sends e-message and/or voice reminders allows patients to easily confirm their appointments at their convenience. Practices implementing our Smile Reminder service almost always see a dramatic decrease in missed appointments, which can drastically improve the bottom line.
3. Marketing in the wrong place. So many dental practices are marketing in the wrong place or not at all. Now is the time to take advantage of social media. Having an online presence can truly make or break a practice when a patient or potential patient is looking for information. What dental practices need to understand is that whether they are connected online or not, their practice is being reviewed on the web. Maintaining an active online presence through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Yelp afford offices an awareness and voice in the online conversation. Additionally, these can act as lucrative marketing tools where offices can advertise and communicate with patients via the most relevant and accessed medium there is: the Internet.
4. Manually managing patient files. This is another huge time and money waster. Sifting through hundreds of patient files to find dormant and overdue patients is completely unnecessary. With digitally archived patient profiles, offices can easily find which patients are overdue for an appointment and send an e-message to remind them. Focusing on recare appointments is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase office revenue. Moreover, with convenient, electronic access to patients’ appointment histories, practices can more effectively market to these patients. For example, offices can search for those patients who are cosmetic patients and send them an e-newsletter announcing a new teeth-whitening offer.
5. Not offering online bill pay.Similar to mailers, snail mail bills can be easily misplaced or forgotten, not to mention expensive to produce. With so much banking now done online, offering patients the option to pay via their computer or smart phone adds a level of convenience for both the practice and the patient. Practices are more likely to receive payments in a timely manner and patients appreciate the ease.
The common thread here is convenience and relevance for both the practice and patient. Digital advances have provided dental offices with the ability to further streamline office management, leading to more efficient means of practice-to-patient communication. This is not about cutting corners; in fact, this is about enhancing your practice and remaining modern in patients’ eyes. Taking these five points into consideration, dental practices won’t just increase practice revenue, they will improve their practice-to-patient relationship. And that is never a waste of time or money!
As director of marketing at Smile Reminder, Michael Mosley is keeper of the Smile Reminder brand. His responsibilities include brand awareness, brand messaging, lead generation, and sales enablement. During Michael’s tenure, Smile Reminder has experienced remarkable growth from both within existing vertical markets and focused market expansion efforts. A graduate of the Business School at Arizona State University, Mosley's most important focus is his family and helping others find the same joy he has experienced through child adoption.