ach year, dental practices lose 17% of their customers. Therefore, in order to maintain the business, a practice needs to be constantly bringing in new customers, at a rate of one new patient for every five existing patients. However, to grow beyond its current size, then that practice would need to bring in new patients at a rate that is at least double, or even triple, its attrition rate. That would mean that, at any given time, there may be more new patients than returning clients.
While such rapid grow this exciting, it can complicate processes; it can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. The key to successful growth, from dental offices to law firms, then, is to be constantly simplifying your processes. Scaling up in customers requires that you scale down in other areas. Your goal is that you make sure that you can allocate your time and attention to your biggest priorities—your customers.
Identify the perks and benefits that set you apart from the competition, and do more of these. What sets your health care practice or consulting firm apart from your competitors? Are you the only practice in your area that offers free annual checkups? What promotions, advertisements, and other efforts have been the most successful?
Once you identified your most successful strategies, be ruthless in abandoning the strategies that have not resulted in a solid return on your investment, and be conservative in beginning new strategies. Now may not be the time to reinvent the wheel.
As you grow your business, identify the administrative tasks that eat up time and resources but have little added value. Consider investing in automation tools for routine tasks such as scheduling appointments.
For example, how much time does it take for your assistants to enter your patients’ new information into your computer system? Given your staff’s salaries, calculate exactly how much this process costs in overhead, and then project how much more that will cost, if you increase the number of new patients coming in the door. With this amount in hand, consider if it would be more cost-effective to have patients fill out their information electronically, via their equipment or a practice-owned iPador other tablet.
Schedule and calendar everything. Establishing a routine will keep you and your staff on track; there will be less time wasted trying to figure out next steps. Calendaring will also help you identify other tasks that take too long and throw you off-schedule.
As you simplify, you will continue to find new ways to make your practice more efficient. In doing so, you’ll be able to devote your time and attention to what is most important: care of your patients.