Aldridge & Associates, LLC

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The "Z" in the Success in Dentistry

Zest – Dentistry is a wonderful profession that enables each of us to serve our patients, colleagues and give-back to our community and family. Let your Zest be the inspiration that helps lead your team.

The "Y" in the Success in Dentistry

Yellow Pages - Whether you believe it or not, the yellow pages are a thing of the past. Investing your hard earned money on yellow pages advertising is like throwing hundred dollar bills ($100) on the campfire. For years the yellow pages have sucked dental advertising budgets dry. In 2017, over 93% of business searches are conducted on the internet. Do you remember the last time you used the phone book for anything?

The "X" in the Success in Dentistry

X-rays – An FMX and Panoramic X-ray or CBCT, for new patients are still the standard of care. I see more and more colleagues failing to order the appropriate images (because insurance won’t pay for it) necessary to evaluate the head and neck area for which we possess tremendous knowledge. The panoramic x-ray has fantastic value and when displayed and presented to the patient on large screen monitors, serves as a wonderful education tool which builds rapport, value and trust (RVT). The ability to evaluate the patient for intra-osseous pathology, elongated Styloid processes, internal carotid plaque, TMJ, sinus pathology and much more warrants acquiring a beautiful panoramic x-ray. With respect to FMX or Bite Wings we need to hold our team accountable for acquiring diagnostic images so we can do what we do best. I see hundreds of images that would not pass the test in dental school for either the dentist or dental assistant.

The "W" in the Success in Dentistry

Website – The days of hanging up your shingle and expecting patients to call or walk-in your dental office are gone. Print media is on a continual decline, at an all-time low, and will continue to (newspapers distribution is at its lowest point since 1952) deteriorate. Print media that promotes your services based upon price only serves to promote dentistry as a commodity that leads to patients believing a dentist is a dentist is a dentist. There is a place for print marketing (your best patients - approximately 20% of your business). However, after tracking 100’s of client’s data sets it is minimal at best. When today’s consumer needs a dentist they will find them through referral (friend, family, co-worker, employer insurance, etc.) or turn to the world wide web. However, just having a website is not sufficient. Today, consumers (including new and existing patient base) are glued to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. The typical user is continuously checking their e-mail, updating their social profiles, searching for a destination (your office) and on average spending 5 – 6 hours per day navigating their device. According to Pew Research (April, 2015), 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011. The ability to “stay in touch” has changed from a luxury to a necessity for all types of users. We are truly a people “on the go.” Patients expect you and your website to be GREAT. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist and if you have a website and the consumer doesn’t like what they see they will bounce (bounce rate) right off of your page and move to the next.

The "V" in the Success in Dentistry

Voicemail – National data suggests that 80-87% of “New Patients” who call today’s dentist and are greeted by voicemail will hang-up and go to the next dentist on their list. That means that you will lose 80 – 87 of every 100 new patient calls if you have employed voicemail to answer your telephone during regular business hours. We are in the customer service and we need to be available for our existing and potential new patients during regular business hours so we don’t lose them to our competitors. Voicemail services have painted a picture through marketing that has induced too many dentists to rely upon their services because our front office has convinced us they are too busy to answer the telephone. The patient has chosen to call our office and we need to teach our team members to smile, answer the telephone within 2 – 3 rings and make every patient feel welcomed and believe they have called the finest office in their community. Case conversion begins with the first patient “touch-point” and that is usually the telephone. Two weeks ago a colleague of mine called his office nine (9) times and informed me that on all nine instances his call went to voicemail. Enough said?

The "U" in the Success in Dentistry

Uniformity – The ability to provide a consistent product and service that creates value for each and every patient (consumer) is one of the biggest challenges facing any business. As dentist we are the primary revenue producer and unfortunately we seldom serve on the front line and interact with the patient when they are paying for our services. Your financial coordinator or whoever collects monies on your behalf needs to be trained and supported with proven financial systems to protect the financial health of your business. If the patient deserves continuity of care, then the business owner deserves uniformity of payment. It is estimated that the average general dentist loses between $500,000 and $2,000,000 after tax dollars over a 20-30 year career because of inadequate business training. We can do better! However, without proven systems your financial health will be jeopardized.

The "T" in the Success of Dentistry

Treatment Planning – One of my mentors, Dr. Bill Robbins taught me to call it the way I see it and there is no such thing as “we will just watch it.” In other words, do not pre-judge your patients and try and evaluate if they can afford your proposed dental treatment. Call it the way you see it! Your treatment plan is predicated on the condition of the patient’s oral cavity, not yours and seldom are there two patients who present with the same needs. In today’s dental economy, it is my experience that the most successful way to gain patient acceptance to your proposed treatment is through the use of Intra-Oral cameras and by involving the patient in what is commonly referred to as “Co-Diagnosis.” For example, ask your patient, “Mrs. Jones, what do you see?” as you display a fracture or an area of occlusal decay on 42-50” screens at the 6 o’clock position of your treatment room. Then listen and say nothing. Let the patient answer…………. silence is golden. Then, send the patient home with pictures of his/her teeth, soft tissue, calculus accumulation, etc. By the way, most patients will gladly accept your treatment recommendations because you are no longer having to sell dentistry. Now you need to have your financial coordinator provide financial options so he/she can convert the case right? Excellent systems are the key. If you want to maintain The Dentist's Edge and learn to convert over 90% of your treatment plans then contact the experts who have walked in your shoes!

The "S" in the Success in Dentistry

Scheduling for Your Success – Maintaining a consistent and smooth flow of patient’s while meeting daily production goals (dentist and dental hygiene should have daily production goals tied into an annual budget) is one of the most challenging issues that your front office personnel encounters. By incorporating 10 minutes blocks of time, required time per procedure (based upon your top 25 CDT procedures), per clinician, a short-call/VIP list and learning to schedule to 70% of daily goals before lunch is at the heart of developing predictable and consistent patient schedules that ensure financial health for your business while decreasing stress for all. There is no quicker way to burn out a team, destroy employee morale and induce anxiety than to “put the patient anywhere in the schedule.” Remember, busy does not translate into success. Scheduling for Your Success is an art and science and should be respected as such.Implement an efficient and productive scheduling system today to maintain your Dentist's Edge. If you don't know how to implement this important system ask for help. We are experts at what we do, both clinical and business and we have walked in your shoes

The "R" in the Success of Dentistry

Recall – A well designed dental recall system will ensure that at a minimum, 85% of “active” patients (active is defined as any local patient who is seen in your office within the last 18 months) are scheduled for continuous treatment somewhere within your dental practice at all times. Yes 85% (national average is 42%). In other words, each respective patient should have an appointment in your office at any given time, hygiene or restorative. The most successful marketing and greatest potential to grow your business is through your existing patient base and by learning to ask for internal referrals. People buy from people they like and they refer their friends and colleagues to people they like.Implement a recall system and maintain your Dentist's Edge. Call today to learn from the experts who have walked in your shoes!

The "Q" in the Success in Dentistry

Quadrant Dentistry – The majority of dental school curriculums teach “single tooth dentistry” without regard for the well-being of the patient and/or dental businessmen. Unfortunately, most dental school programs lack the monies, time or faculty to prepare new graduates for the business of dentistry yet alone clinical competency. With that said and through mentoring, most dentist can achieve their goals and objectives. A few of the benefits delivering quadrant dentistry include fewer appointments for the patient, increased production and collections for the business, increased cash flow, decreased “burn out” of all team members, decreased equipment and facility maintenance, fewer insurance claims, improved clinical outcomes and much more.