It might feel risky to invest in your dental practice right now given the recent shut downs and cautious patients. However, it is possible to grow your dental practice in a recession, even in the unprecedented times we face now. It is not only workable but also imperative to invest in your dental practice right now as we see the country teeter-tottering between opening up and shutting down again. Here are four ideas to get you started:
Strengthen Relationships with Current Patients
The Balance’s Small Business experts suggest that one of the best ways to invest in your small business during a recession is to deepen your relationships with your current customers (your patients and those who manage their care). From a business standpoint, one of the greatest things about your patients is you do not incur any new expenses to get them. Furthermore, existing patients are the most likely to be your loyal patients, presenting opportunities to follow up on unmet treatment plans or bring them in for routine care. These relationships are vital to maintain during tough economic times like these. Don’t assume your current patients will visit your website for updates, especially your older patients. Proactively calling patients to ask about their health gives a positive impression that you care about their well-being and that they aren’t just another name in the system. People want to be valued and reaching out can have a positive impact with very little cost – a high value opportunity to invest in your practice during tough economic times.
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Teddy Roosevelt
Reach out to inactive patients
However, your loyal patients are also likely worried about coming into a dental office. They may need a reason to feel comfortable coming in for treatment. Patient communication will be essential in this effort. For example, you can reach out to your current patients with a rundown of how you are changing business-as-usual to keep them and your team safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. You have already invested in new PPE to keep yourself and your staff safe…sharing this information can reassure patients that you are proactively reducing their risk! From patient and staff health screening protocols to infection control measures aimed at reducing contact in the practice, conveying these details helps patients feel safe to come in for routine oral health care or pending treatments.
Differentiate your practice
Communicating your competitive difference is vital when you are interacting with patients as well. Think of it as giving patients a reason to choose you over any other dental practice. Remember that staying competitive means more than maintaining the status quo. Growing your dental practice during a recession could mean investing in new technology. If you invest in new technology for your dental practice, you should tell patients why and how it benefits them.
Add Treatments that Patients Need
Another essential reason to invest in your dental practice in a recession is to meet patient expectations to provide an environment that treats the patients’ overall health and their oral health. The current COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that patients with certain systemic conditions are at higher risk of complications with COVID-19. These same systemic conditions are also associated with periodontal disease. Successfully treating gum disease and reducing bacteria are essential in maintaining overall health, and also, it appears, in fighting off the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Laser-assisted regeneration or the LANAP® protocol is the only laser gum disease procedure that is FDA-cleared for True Regeneration and has the histology to prove the results, which is re-growing the hard and soft tissue lost to gum disease. In addition to the clinical advantages, LANAP benefits patients with less pain, sensitivity, swelling, bleeding, and recession. Many patients treated with LANAP also have little downtime after treatment for recovery and have fewer post-operative complications. Perhaps most importantly, patients perceive that healing is faster and more comfortable than conventional gum surgery. In other words, investing in laser technology that can treat gum disease and reduce bacteria in the mouth is an essential service that improves the patient experience and oral health.
There are many reasons that you should invest in your dental practice right now and there are many ways you can do so. By communicating about how you care for their oral health, promote improved overall health, and provide it in a safe and infection-free environment with useful technology that gets the job done, you have everything you need to grow your dental practice during a recession.