As we enter a New Year, now is a good time to start thinking about how to sharpen your competitive edge. Let’s face it: old-school dentistry is out—and not just in the operatory. This includes manual administrative processes that many successful practices are doing through automation. Not only can it help you improve many areas your business, but it can also help you save valuable time and resources.
Still not sure it’s time to transition your practice to automation? Here are six important reasons to consider it:
- Get to know your patients better. Patients are one of your practice’s most valuable assets—but do they know it? Your patients are your customers, and they deserve the best service, in and out of the office. Show them that you know them, understand their needs, appreciate their business, and care about their dental well-being. To do this successfully, you need to make sure that you truly know your patients, and this starts with collecting and storing meaningful data. This can include everything from: birthdays, patient “anniversary” dates, patient history, or common services and procedures. This information can help drive more meaningful conversations with each patient.
- Find out how to improve, and what to keep doing right. Getting feedback is a lot easier with automation. After every appointment or consultation, sending patients an automated email about their experience—from wait time to service to comfort—can arm you with valuable insights to help you nurture your relationships with them.
- Keep appointments on the book. From the patient’s perspective, we get it—life is busy, and sometimes dentist appointments get lost in the clutter of other important events. This leads to cancellations or no-shows, and for every one of those, it costs you money. If your reminder system isn’t automated, then that can also cost you money, not to mention it can burden your staff. Employing a system that automatically sends appointment confirmations and reminders can be cheaper and faster for your practice. And communicating in ways that are most convenient for patients (email or text) can help you to reassign appointments so you can still get profits.
- Stay in regular contact. Hopefully marketing is a part of your practice strategy. Unfortunately, a one-and-done approach doesn’t usually garner good results. Marketing should be consistent and regular, so you can stay in front of prospective and current patients. Doing marketing manually can cost you a lot of time and oftentimes it’s easier to push it to the back burner as other, higher priority items appear. With an automated service, you can be sure that your audience is hearing from you regularly, whether it’s through email, social media or online. The more often your market, the greater the chances you have of receiving a response.
- Keep your office running smoothly. A central workflow manager can help drive efficiency and save valuable time. Look closely at how your staff members are utilizing their time and see if there are opportunities to improve. A customized automated workflow can help you with scheduling and outcomes.
- Stay on top of financials. Cash flow can be a very real challenge for dental practices of all sizes. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job; it’s just the nature of the industry and can be a result of any number of reasons, from mismanaged documents to processing errors to insurance challenges. Automating your financial processes can help speed up processes from eligibility to collections to billing.
If you’ve upgraded to digital technology in the operatory, then it’s time to think about upgrading to automated digital tools in the front office and back-end processes. You may be surprised by how much time was wasted on routine daily tasks that were previously done manually—and how much more you and your staff can do with the time you can inevitably gain back.