Challenges for conventional dental practice
Today, it's all about getting back to basics. After all, in order to turn patients into long-term fans, nothing is more fundamental than having a coherent and well-structured practice concept. A concept like this is not only advisable for branches, it should also be a consistent part of the dental practice’s activities and one which should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Who am I? Where do I want my practice to be in the short, medium and long term? Who is my patient target group in age distribution and monetary terms? How do I want to be perceived? What services do I want to offer?
This list of questions could go on and on as the objective analysis of the current and target situation is a constantly recurring process. The rule of thumb here is that you can’t go far wrong as a practice owner, as long as there is one concept underpinning everything and the practice’s activities are arbitrary and spontaneous in nature.
Key components of positioning
Would you have thought that, in a small-town setting for example, a dental practice specialising solely in aesthetic dentistry can be just as successful as a practice with a universal service? Well, this does appear to be the case as, ultimately, alongside professional ability the key factors are authenticity and personality. You can demonstrate both of these qualities in each case by communicating to your patients that you are experts in veneers and prosthetics, and therefore do not offer services such as tooth implants.
It is important here that, from a conceptual perspective, you focus on your personal core competences and, of course, meticulously scrutinise the competition. What are my colleagues offering? What can I do better? Which services should be communicated more prominently in the catchment area? Is there a niche that I can occupy? With regard to the increasingly fast-changing field of dentistry, occupying a niche discipline can be a particularly successful concept, which means the example of the small-town practice mentioned before can function in the long term with an exclusively aesthetic focus.
Tip: When looking at the competition, pay attention to their reviews on dental review sites. This will give you an initial indication of any trends – what works well, what doesn’t work, why is your colleague particularly valued by the patients? Seeing things from the patient’s perspective can be a real help.
Challenges for conventional dental practice
It is particularly important in dental practices with a comprehensive range that there should be an underlying basic concept. This is because practices with an integrated orientation are particularly open to the risk that their patients will not have a clear understanding of what the approach is. If you want to offer high-end dental treatment, you can also charge accordingly – you will therefore need a patient clientèle that can afford quality dental treatment and wants to make use of it. If your practice is located in a pedestrianised area, it may be passing customers with short-term needs who frequent the practice the most.
If you praise your practice lab with your own ZTM (Master dental technician) on your website, it may cause people to ask why there is also a CEREC machine ostentatiously positioned in the practice. That said, it may make sense to offer both variants depending on local conditions, in order to offer treatment options for a wide audience and range of budgets.
Two essentials: concept and communication
Once your practice's basic concept has been designed and formulated, the next challenge is communication. Here, special emphasis should be placed on added value and USPs that set your treatments apart from the rest. Appeal to people’s desires. If, for example, it is normal for you to work in a minimally invasive manner with minimal tissue damage for all treatments, this may not be the case for the patient. Communicate this to them. Always treat the patient as an individual and don’t just work by the book – discuss this with your patient. Use magnifying glasses for all treatments, let your patient know about this quality standard. This list could also go on and on – organise your personal added value for yourself and your practice team and communicate it. This requires transparency.
Unfortunately, coming up with a clear concept in no easy task and an individual approach is always required. It is important that you also let your target group know about your concept – a practice concept is therefore also a central part of all forms of practice marketing and patient communication.