When dental practices want to increase productivity, the natural instinct is to increase their marketing efforts. After all, new patients are the obvious way to increase productivity. And since we can use Facebook to attract new patients on autopilot, increasing marketing efforts is an easy choice.
But most dental practices ignore a factor that is even more impactful on productivity than new patients and even easier to improve. I am talking about production per visit.
Productivity is not just about how many people you are seeing each month. It is also about what you are doing with those people. If you have been focusing only about the number of patients and visits, do not worry. The number of patients and visits is important. But you can exponentially increase profitability by increasing production per visit as well.
How Focusing Only on New Patient Acquisition Limits Production . . . and Profits
The real problem with focusing only on number of visits is the trickle effect it has on the rest of your practice.
We see it all the time in dentistry. We get more patients in and fill up our hygiene schedules. When our hygienists get busy, we shorten hygiene appointments and double book our hygienists. That makes it so hygienists do not have time to talk about oral health with patients. They do not have time to assess whether somebody is actually brushing and flossing. They do not educate patients on dental options. They get in, scale people’s teeth, and move on. We’re not educating patients on their overall mouth health.
Yet, no matter how much we shorten hygiene appointments, double book our hygienists, or even give them assistants, we do not see a huge jump in the amount of production coming out of hygiene. We might see some increase but not the type of growth that really moves the needle.
Too many dentists get almost addicted to gaining new patients. Yet new patients take time and some money to acquire. We have to do the Facebook ad or Facebook Lives. We have to give away some dentistry, excite people, give them office tours, sell them on our practice, or even give them gifts. We then have to spend time learning about their health history and diagnosing them. That takes time and costs money.
How Focusing on Production Per Visit Drives Production . . . and Profits
If you have been attracting patients to your practice, you probably have hundreds or thousands of patients. You already know them. You know their issues. You have already done dentistry on them. And they know, like, and trust you. They are the most likely patients to make appointments and move forward with treatment plans. Yet they have fallen through the cracks.
When you shift your mindset from a singular focus on new patients to increasing production per visit, something shifts in your practice. Your mindset shifts. Your team members’ mindsets shift. You all focus on doing things to increase production per visit and get current patients all the care they need as efficiently as possible.
Instead of looking for new marketing methods, you stick with what is working, leaving your Facebook marketing bringing patients in on autopilot. But your time and energy are focused on production per visit. So you talk with your team about scheduling all care for patients in one visit. You schedule more time for hygiene visits to give your team time to educate the patients who already trust you. You start booking more higher-profit procedures that change your patients’ lives for the better. You place dental implants, perform teeth whitening, and other higher-profit procedures. You make more money while giving patients life-changing improvements to their smiles and mouth health.
Production Per Visit and Profits in Action
Team WOW member, Josey has five offices in North Carolina. Over Thanksgiving 2017, Josey spent about twenty-five hours digging deep into her productivity data. She pulled reports. She looked at historicals. She did month over month and year over year. She looked at everything she could to determine proper staffing.
What Josey found was she was better off with six hygienists doing 40% chair capacity than three hygienists doing 90% chair capacity. When she was operating with three hygienists at 90% chair capacity, the hygienists were almost forced to just go through the motions and move to the next patient. For example, the six hygienists sold a total of eight sonic air toothbrushes in the prior six months. That was terrible production.
Josie analyzed and made a list of all the relevant products and procedures hygienists with sufficient time and the proper focus could offer to patients. She discussed them with her team and then adjusted scheduling so the hygienists had more time with patients. All of a sudden, everyone on her team was working together to give patients all the time and attention they needed.
She went from below $200 production per visit, to more than $300 per visit for hygiene. Her goal was $225 per visit, and she now regularly sees them doing $300 or $325 production, or more, per visit. One office with six hygienists hit $42,000 in hygiene production in a week. Another with six hygienists hit $39,000.
How much effort have you put into increasing production per visit?
If you focus only on attracting new patients, you might be missing out on the easiest and fastest way to increase production. By setting up your team with the time and training they need to increase production per visit, you create a true triple win. Your patients get more time and attention from your team. They also get the care they need to achieve improved feel, function, and health of their mouth. Your team members do not have to rush from appointment to appointment all day. And you get increased productivity and improved patient and team member satisfaction.
For more help increasing productivity in your practice, check out Dental Profit Academy. You can also sign up for my next Dental Facebook Bootcamp where we show you how to bring in 30+ new and profitable patients per month on autopilot while you focus your efforts on productivity per visit.