Recession Proof Dental Practices Have 3 Things In Common
Recession proof dental practices thrive despite depressed financial economies. How do I know this? Well, I’ve lived through a few recessions in my years of dental practice management. And I know what really matters to patients. Dentistry is always in need. In great financial times and in hard times too. People always require dental care.
People may make different choices during a recession. But that totally depends on each individual’s personal abilities. While one patient may take advantage of their own quieter business schedule to care for themselves a bit more, another may curb spending. However, patients cannot postpone all dental care for long. People need dental care regardless of economic conditions surrounding them.
Act Now! Don’t Wait!!
It’s critical to make sure you and your dental team are on track now. You definitely do not want to wait for a recession to evaluate your preparedness. That plan is all backwards and may just sink the ship! As a dental administrative professional, you have much power! Don’t be fooled!! Regardless of your current employer or situation, you have power! And you hold many of the cards in building a recession proof dental practice in your very own hands.
The dentist plays an important role too! I’m not saying that they don’t! And as we move through this article, you’ll see just how much of a role the dentist plays here. Ideally, the dentist and administrative professional(s) are a team in this venture. The dental as a whole wants to see their practice flourish. And as a team, even reach for expansion and growth together. Both as individuals and as a team. Even during times of recession.
Recession Proof Dental Practices Have 5-Star Customer Service!
Exceptional customer service is contagious! The energy is truly powerful! And everyone on the team treats each other as a “customer” too! There is a level of respect, kindness, and helpfulness that can’t be measured. But let’s try! Let’s take a step back for a moment. How do you feel about the customer service experience in your dental practice? Is there any room at all for improvement?
Raise the bar! There is most likely room for some improvement! As people, we can settle into complacency and comfort. And we may not even realize the habits we settle into each day. Try to listen to yourself. Watch your team. Think about your actual physical space and how it looks. Customer service involves our physical environment too!
Focus On One Improvement Each Month
Set a new goal each month. Pick one area of focus for you and your team. Remember, your enthusiasm is contagious. And others will join you because they simply can’t resist. You might want to pick a physical area to renovate. Or perhaps decide to improve how the dental office phones are handled. Maybe even hear a few negative words you could eliminate from daily conversations.
This Dental Customer Service Systems on-line course will guide you! Simple daily units guide you through some daily functions to think about. And even offer you step by step guidance on how to reach a little higher. Share these ideas with your team! And together, you can put in place a plan! Tackle just one step at a time. Focus on that one improvement until it becomes a way of living your day. Then, move onto a new area of improvement you might like to make.
Recession Proof Dental Practices Manage Money Well
Recession proof dental practices know how to manage their money. Their collection rate is at 100% or pretty close to it. Patient accounts are not over extended. And there are financing options available that favor both parties. These financing options include pre-payment plans, as well as a third-party lender. But the dental practice themselves does not extend credit beyond treatment.
Team members are comfortable talking about money. Patients are comfortable asking questions. And they know they will get a straight answer. Transparency is a must with financial discussions. The dental practice can estimate insurance coverage and verify benefits accurately. With a strong understanding of insurance terminology, policy limitations, and frequency of coverage.
Credit Balances Are Reviewed Each Month
Patient refunds and insurance refunds are routinely processed. There is little if any money in the credit balance report each month. And it’s very rare that a credit balance needs to be sent to the state as unclaimed property. Frequent credit balances are indicators and symptoms of larger systemic problems. Either estimates are inaccurate or payment or adjustments are incorrect. Either way, these reports must be closely monitored and analyzed.
Recession Proof Dental Practices Keep Their Patients
General dental practices do well to keep their existing patients coming back. And to keep a patient connected to the practice, they must be in the hygiene program. As either a periodontal patient or otherwise. But as we know, our adult periodontal patients make up a huge piece of our hygiene schedules. However, our routine hygiene patients often generate our restorative schedules!
Therefore, it’s imperative to keep everyone on schedule. Or at the very least, on our radar! And in pediatric dentistry, it can all go south real quick! Those little baby teeth can deteriorate quicker than one can imagine! Specialty practices must also keep their recalls connected. Whether you are monitoring an endo treated tooth or an implant, stay on top of this!
Get To Know Your Patients
Every day conversations provide valuable information. Handle each patient as an individual. Know who can move forward in your schedule and who just doesn’t have any flexibility. Take the time to connect with each person. And even if a patient must delay treatment for financial reasons, one day soon, they may be ready. Recessions turn around. At least, they always have to date!
Be flexible with treatment options. Especially if a patient is struggling with a financial barrier. Try to make a way for something to happen for your patient. Even if it’s not what you would like to see for them. And as their finances turn around and their trust grows, further treatment can be scheduled.
My Experience With Economic Recession
I’ve lived and worked through several economic recessions. I’ve known dental patients who have lost their homes, lost their jobs, and even filed bankruptcy. Many who filed bankruptcy still paid their dentist. Why? Because they didn’t want to lose their dentist! Be that dental practice! Loyalty begets loyalty!
Treatment turn-arounds do happen! I’ve seen that too! I’ve seen a couple of patients who absolutely swore they could not afford implants. A tooth needed extraction. And they opted for removable partial dentures. Only to find they absolutely hated the partial denture. No surprise there! And it became a priority to have an implant placed. Sometimes, you just have to let things take their course. And be there through the process.