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    Four ways to fill your schedule without blowing your advertising budget

     

     

     

    Filling your dental appointment book is an important step in maximizing your revenue.

    Many clinics may have open spots either unfilled or from cancellations. Open slots mean

    your building, equipment and staff are all being underused, which costs you money. Worst

    of all, you miss an opportunity to generate cash flow for the business.

     

    Sikka Software has worked with dental practices to find ways to grow their business for

    the last 11 years. We make apps that help dentists set goals, grow their business and

    interact with patients. You can find out more about our products, including tools to fill your

    schedule, and track the metrics discussed below, by visiting sikkasoft.com/dental/.

     

    Find new patients via word of mouth: Word-of-mouth advertising can be a powerful

    method to grow your patient base. A positive referral from a trusted source can make the

    new patient feel confident he or she will receive excellent dental care at your clinic. Word

    of mouth is a relatively inexpensive form of advertising, but don’t be shy about rewarding

    those who refer others to your clinic. Bonuses like discounts, drawings and giveaways can

    reward the loyalty and enthusiasm of your client base.

     

    Data for dentists: How hard facts can help you grow your practice

     

    Manage no shows: Patients may not show up to their appointment, with or without notice,

    for a variety of reasons. Many clinics use reminder programs though few actively work

    beyond those reminders to fill spots that are left open. It is important to know what gaps

    are in your schedule and keep in mind those patients who may want earlier appointments

    or those with more flexible schedules like retirees. You may also want to keep track of

    patients needing particular procedures or equipment if time and space is limited. Patients

    will appreciate your effort in contacting them and facilitating their dental care.

     

    Don’t just plan; Schedule: As a dentist, you recommend treatment plans for patients who

    need oral interventions, but how often does the patient follow through with the plan?

    Ensure that at the end of each appointment, the next step of treatment is scheduled

    whether it be a root canal or semi-annual hygiene appointment. This will not only keep

    your appointment book full but also save your front-desk staff time in calling back patients

    to schedule.

     

    Keep track: Keep track of your number of inactive and active patients and find out what

    percentage are coming back for general hygiene and scheduled appointments. Compare

    your data to national trends to set goals and benchmark your progress. Make sure you

    celebrate your wins in filling your schedule. Without tracking these metrics, it is difficult to

    measure the efforts the staff takes to keep your appointment book full.

     

    Conclusion

    Revenue for your practice grows when you focus on two top points: the number of

    patients seeking services and the amount of services generated per patient. This blog

    focuses some discussion on the first point, driving up patient appointments and

    attendance. Filling your appointment book is critical for bringing in revenue to your dental

    clinic. Keeping your clinic busy involves recruiting new patients and maintaining your

    relationship with your current clinic base. Know your numbers on how your clinic performs

    in terms of attracting new patients, scheduling appointments and maintaining an active

    patient base then compare your success to national trends. There are many components

    to building a successful thriving practice; generating new patients and thoroughly

    engaging your current ones are two major efforts to focus on that will take you in the right

    direction.

     

    More on scheduling: Simple and effective tips to get your dental practice's schedule back

    on time

     

    Alitta Boechler, AuD, MBA
    Alitta Boechler is a marketing manager at Sikka Software. She holds a Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Iowa and an MBA from ...

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