Why should I care to stop leaking patients if new patient flow is high, if production is high?
Because sooner or later it becomes very very costly.
As a mentor of mine would say, “money hides all ills … at least for a while.”
Yes, during this recovery time, there are patients to be had. With practices that have gone out of business or never really recovered those patients look for a place to land. Plus, those patients who delayed treatments now are scheduling. And, if you are lucky enough to live in an area where people are migrating to, even more new patients call in to schedule.
However, not paying attention to the basics, to the “foundational work” with each patient you see, eventually builds a reputation that spreads. Is it the right reputation? Do you want to build an excellent reputation, mediocre reputation, or a poor reputation?
Think of those patients who say they brush and floss daily. They are proud to tell you. Yet, the calculus build up in molars is clear. They hit their goals of daily hygiene, however their daily hygiene ineffciencies build to real issues over time. You shake your head with a cavity clearly in sight.
So, ask yourself, “What patient inefficiencies exist in my practice that builds up “calculus” on patients causing patient leakage?”
Leaking active patients from your practice is an early sign of a serious dysfunction. It’s like a cavity, an infection. Left untreated it will fester and erupt into major headaches you really don’t want to deal with.
Take these 3 steps to stop Leaking Patients
- Treat every patient like royalty. Don’t let them form into “cavitities” in your practice.
- Retain the correct ratio of patients in recare routine. Yes there is an opimal ratio of active patients in recare.
- Build long term relationships with your patients.
Step 1: Treat every patient like royalty.
Don’t turn them into cavity, an infection.
It is like a cavitation infection or a cavity in your practice. It may hurt and it may not but the infection can cause all kinds of problems over time. And maybe even major issues that eventually become costly.
Leaked patients have no loyalty to you and probably have an opinion from their brief encounter at your office. And, as we all know patients talk to their to friends, to family and to colleagues about their experiences. Even a mediocre experience will reflect badly. You don’t want to build a reputation as being run-of-the-mill practice. Average perceptions turn treatment discussions from full treatments to how to cut costs or delay treatments.
A leaked patient may have been turned off by one moment of truth where their perception went from hopeful to something less. These moments of truth form the perception of the patient about your practice. They happen with every touchpoint between your team, you and the patient. These are precious moments that can translate into better health care and more value for you. Or, they can stall the treatments and reduce the value (profits) of your practice.
Step 2: Retain the right ratio of patients in recare routine.
Pay attention the number of active patients who are in recare on 4-6 month basis. This ratio is often underestimated dramatically. It takes careful analysis to determine what it is objectively.
The real task becomes to focus on patients needs, wants, motivations. Then you will build trust and uncover more treatments and enjoy more treatment acceptance.
Leaking patients costs more money:
Each new patient can cost more than what it costs to maintain current patients. To get a new patient you pay the marketing expense, then the New Patient exam time and materials, the time and energy to build the trust to get them on a plan. Plus developing a relationship for referrals. All this goes away when you leak a patient.
We now know that a good recare structure is once every 12 – 16 weeks (which matches with bacteria and plaque growth cycles). Getting patients in on that kind of routine takes education, trust and relationships. Keeping patients who know your practice and people is far easier than gaining new patients and produces more collection per treatment than the inevitable discounting that happens with price shoppers.
In addition, we know recare uncovers new treatments often. This can generate 2-3x the hygiene production.
So, stop leaking patients from easily fixable inefficiencies in the office. This is simply not good practice and costly in lost production.
tep 3: Build long term relationships with your patients.
Relationships build trust, results in less price shopping, and produces more referrals. Plus, it adds to the collective practice attitude toward patients. Your team senses it and patients sense it. Hopefully, it is the right attitude!
Leaking patients means less relationships with patients
If you fall into a “Churn ’em and burn ’em” attitude with patients then you constantly find yourself in starting a new relationship trust building exercise. That could easily mean less treatment acceptance, more shopping around, delays in full treatment plans and the list goes on. It also means that temporary-patient attitude will seep into all areas of your practice. “They won’t be around … that’s okay we’ll get new patients.” It can cause frustration to constantly “teach” new patients how you do things and what your differentiation is. It defocuses the team so they lose track of what’s most important.
Team and patients watching the leader, the doctor. Watching to see if he steps up or steps back. [/caption]
Now, Imagine you have a good balance of new patients and current patients. You have optimized your patient flows and patient experiences so that your team knows how to deal with “new” situations and current flows quite well.
You become a caring, patient focused, long term patient relationship type of practice.
It becomes efficient, fun for everyone (you, patients, your team) and more profitable and valuable over time.
Professional Dental Coaching
At Fortune Management, we believe extraordinary practice leads to an extraordinary life. To stop leaking patients lays a foundational step in creating an extraordinary practice.
We can help.
With proven strategies our executive leadership coaching, practice management, and strategic planning guides dentists we work with to achieve the results and desires they want. We’re proven, skilled, have depth in resources, and we can help you too.
The dental coaching and expertise we provide focuses on
- Personal and professional development,
- Communication skills,
- Decision making skills and accountability, and
- Leadership skills, (and business management)
- Honing Practice Management skills like scheduling, hand offs, treatment planning, and more.
… for your team and you.
If you are ready to take your business and leadership skills to the next level, contact our passionate team today.