6 Warning Signs your Dental Practice is Going Downhill

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6 Warning Signs your Dental Practice is Going Downhill

Warning Signs for Dental Practice

In any business there are ups and downs. There are signs along the way that tell us that we need help and things are not as they should be. There are signs that are inherent in any business that include dental businesses and over the years we’ve seen and worked with dozens of dentists where their practice was going downhill and here are some of the signs that you need to look at in your practice too.

With the advent of social media, there are so many things to think about and so many metrics to track. It’s a wonder that people hire a digital marketing company to do it. But, this is also one of the solutions to a dying practice. Without a manager to oversee the types of things you do to acquire and retain patients you may get an unpleasant surprise. Below are the top five issues and it’s not just a list—we have viable solutions.

1. It’s been 30 days since you’ve spoken to a potential patient or heard from one:

The one thing that needs to be done every month consistently is hunting new customers up. Even as the owner, you need to be active in marketing the business in some way. Your receptionist and your hygienists have to be out there or on the computer a certain period of time to do more than just make appointments. That means you are doing it digitally and face to face somehow. And you are doing it as a team.

It also wouldn’t hurt to have a meeting once a week or several times a week to get some ideas and some results of those ideas for patient acquisition that have been put into practice. Make sure you have a tracking system and since the majority of it will be digital, get your digital marketing management company in on it. A good company will be telling you where those efforts are failing and what you need to do to adjust.

2. No activity about your business from anyone anywhere:

If a practice is doing well you’ll be answering questions and comments about the business. All the time on Facebook, Google + and your team will be tweeted and retweeted. Here is a visual example of what that looks like.

Dental Humor

You’ve got to be innovative and think outside the box when it comes to being shocking and new. You can put things like this all across social media and ask people what they think. It getting people to talk about your practice doesn’t have to mean that they are responding to an advertisement. It means they are interested and are entertained by what they see in their newsfeeds that you do. It makes you human and relatable.

Here’s another one that does great contests and note the hashtags with the catchy title.

FB Contests Example Dentist

The dentist is Morocco Orthodontics and they have called It Club Mo as a bit of a parody for Club Med.

3. You aren’t reviewed sufficiently:

It is estimated that people rate dentists on wait time, billing and especially your front line office staff. This means working to clean up any crazy attitudes up there. They have to understand that though you are a medical business you are also a business—period and customer service with a smile is a must.

Listen, people are nervous when they see a dentist. They are apt to be a little edgy and your front-line needs to be able to put them at ease. In fact, that has to follow-through all the way to the bedside manner of the dentist. One bad encounter and here comes that bad review and if there are several reviews about the same attribute then there is big trouble.

You see, intelligent people know that a bad or slightly unfavorable review is bound to happen. When the bad review is a one-off it will get buried under feet of better reviews. Now, when a bad review is repeated by multiple patients and about a common factor than that needs to be attacked swiftly. And by the way, your digital marketing team knows how to do a save. It’s called reputation management and is the result of PPC {Pay per Click} ads and Organic SEO as well as other common practices in their field of expertise.Yelp Bad Reviews for Dentist

These are the type of reviews that turns down your practice.

4. You are stuck in a rut of the same mistakes being made time and again:

You know, sometimes we get into a rut in what we do for business. We have an idea that sticks and we don’t let it go. So, we tend to keep doing the same thing we’ve always done and get the same result we always have. This is why you need to be open minded. When you continuously get the same feedback or worse, lack of feedback and engagement something needs to change.

You need your business looked at from every angle and enlisting business mistakesprofessional help may not be a bad idea if it means that you get to keep your business. It’s a very positive and cost-effective move to get a fresh perspective from a non-biased professional as to what you may be doing wrong. If a lot of it is in your social media and content marketing then a digital marketer can do a lot for you in providing regular reports of what’s hot and what’s not.

The point here is to make sure you are taking steps and not stuck in the mire of what you think works. Marketing is an ever changing thing and you need to be on top of the changes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your business is immune to the new technology just because it’s a dental practice. So many dentists aren’t thinking in a business-like fashion in terms of marketing and this is what hurts them.

5. You are still relying on a 6 month scheduling system:

Your patient coordinator may be attempting to fill the gaps from no-shows to cancellations and dry periods the wrong way. Did you know that you may only achieve 76% patient retention with this method? You may also lose 50% more patients through the loss of pre-appointments.

Tcalendarhe best practice is recall. Make this a routine for your patient care coordinator. They could make a certain amount of calls to patient per day for example. Hygienists should be producing to the tune of 3 times their wages for daily. They can call to make sure that patients that have to come back to complete treatment do so in time. They can also set an appointment setting goal per day. You also have to make sure they’re producing.

5. You have high employee turn-over and the communication is really insufficient:

We can’t stress how much taking a look at employee turnover rates are affecting your business. Normally, communication failure is one of the key factors and the communication between you and the patient-care coordinator is especially important. As we said in point 4 the patient care coordinator may be unwittingly killing the business.

Also, ask yourself and take an assessment of how many employees you have. Do you have too many employees? Sometimes practices hire way more employees than what they need to. This is in an attempt to make the practice more efficient. It may actually achieve that and yes it will increase production; however, it will also raise overhead significantly.

You need to look at this from the perspective of what stage your business is in. Is it maybe too new to start with more than a handful of people? You may have to downsize. Have more than one office? You may be better off having your coordinator manage both offices etc. On the flip side, some dentists try to hire too little people. They are spreading themselves and their staff-members too thin. This can cause the same issue in the opposite way.

Then of course you have to consider other things like personality conflicts. Does everyone get along in the office? What kind of boss are you? Do you have a good chemistry with your staff?

The bottom line is that you should be assessing the overall performance of the business and the people in it. Taking stock in the relationships and the marketing efforts, then taking action is the best prevention advice.


If your practice is suffering from dry spells and could use some help in actively generating consistent leads every month, get in touch with us.

Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam is the Founder & CEO of Omnicore, a leading Healthcare Digital Advertising & Marketing Agency helping clients across the globe. You can follow him on Twitter for tweets and rants about latest news, tips and advice on digital marketing.

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