30 Apr 2018  •  Practice Management  •  3min read By  • John Clarke

Invest to impress – does your practice make the right first impression?

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is a phrase we often hear in life, whether it’s attending a job interview, going on a date (not that I can remember!) or buying a house. Regardless of whether you agree with the validity of the statement or not, the chances are you will have endured contrasting experiences with other businesses and sometimes formulated a poor first impression as a result.

The same is true in dentistry, particularly now more than ever due to increasing levels of competition and patients having a wider array of treatments and practices from which to choose from. The day-to-day challenges of running a dental practice are arguably rising as fast as patients’ expectations are for receiving modern treatments utilising innovative technology and services.

It’s worth taking a step back for a moment to consider whether your practice is providing an exceptional customer experience? What impressions are new and long-standing patients forming and how could this be potentially impacting your retention rates and bottom line?

Investing in new digital technologies is now arguably essential to grow your business and transform your services. Treatments will be more streamlined and you can make faster and more accurate diagnoses to deliver the highest standards of oral healthcare. Furthermore, improving your efficiency levels will enable your practice to see more patients and therefore maximise revenues and profitability. A win-win scenario for all concerned.

Don’t underestimate also how IT solutions and technology can affect your business’ image. Outdated software systems, hardware and dental equipment can reflect poorly on your service expertise and damage patient confidence which may prompt them to look for a new dental practice. In contrast, integrated IT systems and mobile applications can help patients to never miss an appointment through automatic reminders, cancellations can be easily re-allocated to other patients and you can more effectively communicate with them based on their preferences – voice, text or email.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”

Perhaps this might be the year to refurbish your practice so that patients form a favourable impression when driving into your car park and stepping foot into reception? Whether you are looking to build a new surgery to include additional services, or refurbish your whole practice, there are a number of important decisions to be made. Will you appoint a specialist company to project manage the job so you maximise all available space or would you prefer to oversee everything yourself? Similarly, what criteria will you choose to select tradesman and how will you pay for the work to be carried out?

Specialist finance providers can offer funding through an unsecured loan facility to assist dental practices to spread the cost of refurbishments, practice relocations as well as specialist equipment and technology in a convenient and affordable way. Once the funding has been obtained, you have the flexibility to pay builders and other tradesman over time as opposed to a one-off lump sum. Such an arrangement may suit everyone’s requirements and ensure that your refurbishment project progresses smoothly.

First impressions tend to stick, particularly for new patients. By continually investing you will not only give patients the best possible experience, but also give them a reason to talk glowingly about your practice to others.

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