The dental world has changed dramatically over the past few decades, and not just in terms of new technology. Nowadays, high-value and high-quality dental care is the cornerstone of every positive patient experience.
With patient expectation levels at an all-time high, the way you communicate with your patients becomes the most important factor in running a profitable dental practice. Patients want to be kept up-to-date about their dental health and expect to be involved in the process of selecting their treatment options. With that said, effective communication is now more important for developing strong patient-provider relationships than ever before.
In this blog, we’ll explore how patient communication software differs from other dental software, signs that your practice needs it, the real superheroes of your practice, and as an added bonus: how all of these factors work together to boost your practice’s profitability.
Are you ready to build the dental practice of your dreams?
What Makes a Practice Profitable?
Since this is a blog about how patient communication can help increase your practice’s profitability, it’s best to understand the factors that can make or break a dental practice’s ability to produce revenue.
Studies show that the average dental practice loses around 75% of its revenue on overhead costs. While the quality of care should always be a dental provider’s number one priority, it is also important for their practice to be profitable. Why is that?
Well, higher profits allow dental practices more room to control their expenses, invest in systems that can help manage their workflow more effectively, and increase patient retention – all factors that ultimately lead to positive patient experiences.
Some key steps to take for dental practices looking to improve their profitability:
- Invest in systems that can simplify staff workflow procedures
- Reduce no-show rates with consistent communication
- Take great care of your dental team and in turn, they’ll take care of your patients
- Continuously request patient feedback and implement proper changes to boost your patient retention
Surely, there isn’t one single software in the market that can help with all the above… or is there?
When you think of patient communication, you probably think of the ways it can improve your practice’s efficiency and productivity. But did you know that patient communication software can also help you increase revenue and profits?
In fact, by streamlining your communication processes and improving how patients are managed, patient communication software boosts your bottom line in the ways listed above – and more!
But first, what sets patient communication software apart from other dental software offered in the market?
What Sets Patient Communication Software Apart?
Patient communication software is a unique software that not only helps you connect and communicate with your patients but can also help manage your staff’s workloads. The benefits of patient communication software are obvious: it helps you stay in touch with your patients, gives them peace of mind, eases workplace stress, and lets you focus on what matters most – providing excellent patient care.
But what sets this particular software apart from other software?
- Improved patient experiences. Patient communication software helps you create a more personalized experience for your patients. From appointment reminders to post-appointment surveys, your patients can feel like they’re part of the conversation with you and your dental team.
- Improved staff efficiency. Let’s face it – on a regular day, administrative tasks can be repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming. But it can be especially overwhelming for your staff during busy days. Leverage automation tools and avoid staff burnout by allowing them to spend more time with patients and less on time-consuming administrative tasks.
- Enhanced care. Send out automated “just-in-time” post-operative instructions for your patients, utilize post-appointment surveys as a tool towards quality improvement, and ensure that your patients never miss a recall visit again with patient communication software.
This is not at all an exhaustive list, but we wanted to give you an idea of what makes patient communication software so special. But how do you know if your practice really needs it?
Signs Your Practice Needs A Patient Communication Software
Patient communication is an integral part of running a dental practice. The more successful you are at communicating with your patients, the more satisfied they’ll be with their experiences. This can translate into more revenue for your practice.
If you want to build the dental practice of your dreams, it’s important to know how to get started and what tools you need to succeed.
If you’re not already using patient communication software, it might be time to consider investing in one because you’ve been missing out on countless opportunities to improve your practice’s patient experience. This means that every single day, you’re losing money because of lost opportunities and poor patient retention rates.
But don’t worry – as always, we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of the telltale signs that your dental practice needs patient communication software.
First: Are Your Patients Falling Through The Cracks?
The truth is, that dental practices can no longer afford to fall behind on patient communication. Today’s dental patients are more informed than ever before and have higher expectations when it comes to the quality of care they receive. Patients want their questions answered quickly and want to be treated as humans, not numbers on a chart. And if you take too long to respond? They’ll find another dental provider who will.
But what happens when patients fall through the cracks?
The answer is simple: you lose money as a result of lost patients. Studies show that dentists lose about 36% of patients annually due to no responses in communication efforts as the most common reason for non-retention.
Patient communication software can help you reduce non-retention rates by providing an easy way to:
- Remind patients about their upcoming visits. Automated appointment reminders help patients prepare for their upcoming appointments and timely reminders help encourage them to re-schedule ahead of time if they aren’t able to make it, leading to reduced no-show rates for your practice.
- Follow up with patients after their appointments. Sending out post-operative instructions and satisfaction surveys can help your patients feel supported and cared for. By keeping that line of communication open, you’re able to address any issues or concerns that may arise immediately.
- Get patients back into your practice with recall reminders. If you want to keep your patients coming back, you need to make sure they know how important it is to come back for regular checkups. Use a recall reminder tool to inform patients about when they need to book their follow-up appointments, and how.
Second: Your Practice Is Not Growing
Rome wasn’t built in a day. But if you’ve been trying to build your practice for some time now and have noticed a lack of growth, it might be time to change things up.
Let’s pretend your dental practice is a brand new relationship. The honeymoon stage is a thrill, and both parties keep consistent communication in order to keep each other engaged and interested. Now, it’s been a few months or even a year down the line and it’s clear that person isn’t going anywhere, communication slows down and can even become dull. This scenario occurs in dental practices everywhere.
In order for a dental practice to grow, they need to nurture those that matter the most – their patients. Patient communication software can encourage practice growth by:
- Helping build trust with your patients. Time and communication are among the most important drivers of trust when it comes to your patients. Patient communication software allows you to build relationships with your patients by keeping them informed and valuing their time. If there’s ever any issue with their treatment or care, your patients can trust that they’re able to reach out to your practice and get the answers they need when it is most convenient for them.
- Encouraging patient referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most trustworthy forms of marketing and happy patients are going to be your practice’s best advocates. Generate new patient leads by making it easy for your satisfied patients to share their experiences with your dental practice via online reviews.
- Improving patient satisfaction. Automatically send out quality improvement surveys post-appointment to check on your patient’s level of satisfaction with the care they received at your practice.
Third: Your Top Employees Are Losing Motivation
When it comes to growing your dental practice, it can be easy to overlook your top employees when you’re focused on providing top-of-the-line patient care. This brings us to the question, “What does employee satisfaction have to do with practice profitability?”
Some believe that superheroes only exist in films and comic books. But in reality, they’re all around us, and in dental practices, they exist in the form of your administrative staff. Your team is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. When they start to lose motivation because of manual and repetitive tasks, they can feel disengaged and don’t feel like they’re part of something important and meaningful. According to DentalPost, repetitive tasks lead to low employee morale. This can affect their ability to perform at their best and can negatively impact your practice’s bottom line.
Patient communication software can take some weight off your team’s shoulders. By automating messaging processes and streamlining workflows, your team will have the time and energy to focus on areas that can better help grow your practice such as connecting with patients on a deeper level.
Other Proven Strategies To Enhance Your Dental Practice’s Profits
Patients are the first and foremost. But at the same time, your dental practice is still a business, and as with any other business, you want to ensure that it is as successful as possible.
Many dental practices face great difficulties when it comes to increasing their profits, even when dental providers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to do so. In this next part, we’ll touch on some non-tech strategies that can help you build the profitable dental practice of your dreams.
First: What Sets You Apart From The Dental Practice Down The Street?
In other words, why should patients choose your practice over others?
In order to answer this question, you first need to look at what other clinics in the area are doing and how they’re doing it. Find out what those clinics do well and what they do poorly. Study their marketing techniques to see how they attract new patients through different forms of advertising and see what works.
After examining their strategies, start thinking about how you can improve on them by offering your patients something better or an exclusive new service that no other practices in the area offer.
Although it can be tempting to one-up other dental practices using competitive pricing strategies, keep in mind that patients won’t usually choose their dental providers based on price alone. They’ll consider other factors such as location, quality of care, and customer service among others before making a decision.
Second: Do You Have A Marketing Plan In Place?
Just like every other business, dental practices need to have a marketing plan in place in order to attract more patients.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are several ways you can market your dental practice without too much time or money on it such as:
- Establishing an online presence for your practice. A website is a good place to start because this will likely be the patient’s first interaction with your practice. This can provide visibility for new patients to learn more about what your practice does and how they can contact you.
- Email/SMS communications. Consider sending out email and text communications so that patients can stay up to date with the latest information and new promotions regarding your dental clinic.
- Setting up business profiles. By setting up a business profile on a search engine like Google, potential patients can find all the basic information they need about your practice such as location, contact number, and other patient reviews.
Third: Are You Incentivizing?
Research shows that the average dental practice has an annual patient churn rate of 17%. This means that if you want to secure practice longevity, you need to encourage new patients to come in every day. This is where incentives come in. Incentives are a powerful tool that can help drive new patients into your practice, as well as keep existing patients coming back.
Here are some types of incentives we’ve seen around:
- Gift cards. By referring their friends and family to your dental practice, existing patients can receive a gift card (typically food or retail) as a reward.
- A free service. Dental practices can offer a service such as free teeth whitening for every new patient or every new referral that comes through.
- Group/Family discounts. Encourage your patients to register their family/group to your dental practice in order to receive a discount.
Fourth: Does Your Practice Encourage Continuous Learning?
Continuous learning is one of the most underrated values a business should have. Dental practices have an incredible opportunity to help patients live better lives, transform their smiles, and change the way they feel about themselves.
To do this effectively, dental professionals need to provide the best care possible. They need to be able to keep up with the newest technologies and techniques and to be able to educate themselves on how to best treat different conditions.
Recognizing that their success depends on staying up-to-date on all relevant topics and trends in dentistry is what’s going to set dental professionals apart from their peers.
Improve Your Communication Skills
- Set aside time for each appointment so you can talk with patients about any concerns they have before, during, and after treatment begins.
- Use language that makes sense to your patients and staff.
- Ask questions in order to get as much information as possible.
- Observe body language. After all, body language is a form of nonverbal communication.
With effective communication, you can:
- Build trust with your patients.
- Improve retention rates.
- Attract potential patients.
- Increase referrals from existing patients.
- Boost staff morale.
- Build the practice of your dreams.
Staying Innovative With Intiveo
Communication is vital in any business, but it’s especially important in the dental industry. From patients to employees, keeping everyone on the same page is essential to growing your practice.
At Intiveo, we focus on helping dental practices provide the best possible patient experiences with our patient communication software. No matter what specialty or size, we have the software just for you.
Here are some features we offer:
- Automatically send practice updates and fill appointment requests.
- Appointment reminders and pre-appointment screening surveys
- The ability to manage all your patient forms in one place. Create, send, track, and manage patient forms with our Forms add-on feature.
- A 2-way chat. Your patients can communicate with your practice wherever, whenever.
- Automated post-operative instructions and satisfaction surveys.
- Request patient feedback and automate online review requests to happy patients using our Social Reviews add-on feature.
- Recall reminders.
- User-friendly, centralized reports.
Curious about how patient communication software can boost your profits? Book a meeting today!
We’re looking forward to showing you all that Intiveo has to offer.