3 Simple Things to Be the Best Dentist In Town

When you’re assessing a potential practice to buy, look hard at the office’s operations. There’s a lot to consider, and the list could get long. Instead, I’m going to keep it to three parts of practice operations that are all about patient experience.

Keeping patients happy is, no surprise, how you have a successful practice that brings in plenty of cash for you.

If you as a practice owner only do these three things, they’re already in the top 5% of dental practices nationwide in terms of their operations. Namely:

1. They answer their phones when they ring during business hours.

How quick and friendly are staff when answering the phones? How do they respond if they don’t know an answer? (You’d be surprised how many offices fail at this!)

2. The dentists and hygienists use plain English when they describe dental work.

Focus on treatment planning and what the conversations sound like. (Before the purchase, if at all possible, get in the practice and listen to this. If not, then carve out some time for it after closing.)

3. Appointments start within 5-10 minutes of when scheduled.

How often are appointments starting on time? This is easy to measure if you can get in during opening hours. Use your phone timer and take some notes. How well do start times match up? Why didn’t the appointment start on time? Is this the typical experience?

If you can’t get into the office during business hours before the sale, do your best to find answers to these questions anyway. Call the office a few times over a couple of weeks. Check Google reviews for customer feedback on treatment clarity and appointment start times. Find a former employee of the office to get their impressions. Or just ask the seller! Have your grains of salt ready, but use that primary resource.

If start times are egregious, that could be a small red flag in terms of the culture and habits of the staff. If start times are just a little off, though, look at it as a way you can immediately improve patient experience.

Here are some bonus good habits of successful practices:

During your operational due diligence, there will be plenty of other considerations, and you should give them a look, too:

  • Where do new patients come from? How is the advertising budget spent?
  • Who makes orders for labs and supplies? Is everyone responsible for their own, or is it one person? Is there a budget that’s adhered to?
  • How is hiring/firing done? Is there an employee manual? Are expectations clear for pay, holidays, etc.?
  • HIPAA compliance? How often do they do it? Has everyone completed their annual compliance training?
  • Which procedures get referred, and how do you know they’re going to good places? Which procedures get referred to THIS office, and by whom?

But those are a different story for a different day! When I give advice around operations, I talk about those three things above, first and foremost. I focus on those three because they’re the ones patients care about. If you can get these right, you’ll be among the best in the business, and word will get out.