As of 2020, there were 201,117 professionally active dentists in the United States. That equates to one dentist for every 1,638 individuals. This is quite a significant number, and it means that there are many, many professionals from which patients can choose.
Separation in a competitive market is key. Not only does this allow you to thrive as a dentist, but you’ll understand more about yourself, your dental practice, and where you need to improve to make a positive impact. Here are some tips on how to separate your dental practice from your competitors.
Invest in Your Employees
Investments are an essential component of running and expanding any business or practice. This includes resources, advertising, research and development, social media, partnerships, new technology, security software, and more. The most essential investment, however, is your employees. After all, it’s the people that create positive patient experiences. It’s the people that represent your company values and carry out the actual services. People are key.
Hiring is the first part of this equation. You must hire the right people for positions that fit not only their resume and qualifications but also their personality. After all, you can’t have a low-energy character as a customer-facing employee, but you could hire them as a research analyst. It’s essential to consider a candidate’s entire profile when making a hiring decision. For more tips on recruiting in the dental industry, check out our blog on hiring the best talent.
Once you have the right team in place, it’s essential to invest in your staff experience. This starts on day one. From an excellent benefits plan to incremental raises, health and wellness offerings, events, perks, and programs, today’s employees expect their company to care for them the way they care for their company. After all, today’s employees spend, on average, around one-third of their lives at work. They would like their time to be spent well with individuals who genuinely care about their mental and physical wellbeing, thoughts and opinions, and development as professionals. One excellent rule of thumb in providing an exceptional employee experience is to remember to fuel your actions with empathy. Consider others’ wants and needs, and remember that a happy employee ultimately leads to many satisfied patients.
Invest in your office’s leaders, the dentists, and yourself through training, educational courses, and supporting these individuals however they need it. Whether it’s doing things or lending a helpful ear, it’s essential to identify your staff’s needs and make sure you give them that. Keep focusing on those pillars of support and education for doctors and their teams. After all, the success of your team begins from the top-down. You have to have humble, intelligent, and personable leaders to thrive. They must be accountable for their actions and the actions of their team and be able to provide feedback and make difficult decisions. Having an exceptional leadership team in place can elevate your entire organization.
Invest in Your Customers
Once you have the groundwork for an outstanding team, invest in your patients. This ensures a higher retention rate and organic growth through positive word-of-mouth marketing. Supporting your patients includes
- providing top-notch service,
- continuing internal research and development, and
- adding new technologies to the dental practice.
For example, 20 years ago, airway dentistry was practically nonexistent. However, with recent studies and a focus on education, we’ve come to understand the connection between our airway and orofacial structure, mouth, and quality of life.
Airway dentistry is on the rise, and many dental professionals are implementing sleep with their practice to provide a more optimal patient outcome. After all, what good are braces, fillings, etc. if they never hold due to bruxism and other symptoms from sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)? By fixing the root cause, you fix all the downstream problems. This also helps set patients on a better, healthier long-term path as you prevent many known associated comorbidities, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more.
It’s also necessary to continuously bring in new technology as equipment—from imaging and X-ray to molding and materials—is improved upon year after year. By staying at the forefront of advancements, you are showing your patient base that you truly care about quality and their health.
Invest in Your Practice
The final way you can separate yourself in a competitive market is by investing in your practice. This includes bringing in additional resources, expanding your public image and brand recognition through advertising and social media, and building out advanced security software to ensure provider and patient safety.
Bring in Additional Resources
One way to do this is to bring in additional resources: other dentists, orthodontists, orthopedic surgeons, etc. In short, become a one-stop shop for patients by building a highly skilled network of providers. By housing everything in one location, you allow for streamlined communication, improve efficiency, and decrease costs for patients and providers. You also shift the focus from administration to quality of care.
While personal success is significant, remember that solid partnerships create mutual prosperity. Plus, everything in life is more fun with good friends and business partners.
Expand Your Image
Another way you can invest in your practice is by expanding your public image and brand recognition through advertising and social media. In the 21st century, having a stellar website, social media presence, patient app, and clear, recognizable branding is directly associated with success.
To do this, you first need to understand your story and the story of your practice. You can do so by asking yourself a few questions:
- Why did you become a dentist?
- What do you hope to help your patients achieve?
- What sets you apart from others in your industry?
Once you determine the answers to these questions, you can move on to the following steps: establishing a brand. From your color palette to a logo, UI/UX design, and written and visual content, maintaining a clear image that’s consistent across all platforms is paramount.
Finally, building out advanced security software to ensure provider and patient safety is critical in today’s world. Patients want their personal information to be secure at all times. HIPAA-compliant software includes apps or services for healthcare organizations with all the necessary privacy and security safeguards to meet HIPAA requirements. This can consist of secure messaging solutions, hosting services, and cloud storage. Investing in this technology not only benefits your internal staff but also your patients, fellow providers, and, well, everyone. It’s certainly worth considering implementing if you haven’t already.
Separation in a competitive market such as dentistry is vital. Not only does it allow you to thrive as a dentist, but you’ll understand more about yourself, your dental practice, and where you need to improve to make a positive impact. By investing in your employees, your patients, and your practice, you can thrive and benefit all those around you.