Do you know what makes your clinic different from the practice down the street? It is a long-held belief in dentistry that clinical proficiency is the key – and only – ingredient for a successful practice. Many people think that the essential difference between any two dental clinics is the quality of work they do and the price they charge. In all other respects, one clinic is as good as the other. But is it true?
Why Do Your Clients like Your Practice?
If the above scenario is correct, we have the concept of the generic dentist and the generic patient. Every patient is looking for identical features in a dental clinic. They will try to find a balance between work quality and prices. To the generic patient, all dental clinics are the same.
We can observe that it is not true in real life. Patients have several different reasons for going to their dentist. Maybe the location is close to their home or work or the waiting room is comfortable. Some like the ability to pay with a credit card and others like the attitude of your team. Most people will have more than one reason to keep going back to the same practice.
So, dental clinics are not interchangeable. Then we come to the important question – what makes your practice different? The answer to this question is the key to attracting new clients and converting them into loyal patients.
Differentiation and Market Segmentation
These two concepts are widely known in the business world. In spite of that, practice owners have been late to use them. Differentiation is what makes your practice stand out from the crowd. What makes your clinic better? Market segmentation means identifying a part of the population which is attracted towards the services that you offer.
Differentiation and market segmentation go hand-in-hand. The features that distinguish your services will make it more attractive to certain market segments. Others may not care for them at all. Suppose your practice caters to senior citizens and older patients. The ability to pay with credit cards may not matter to them. But your clients may appreciate multiple reminders for visits instead.
Understand the needs of your target market. Then differentiate your services to cater to their requirements. Any changes you make should offer clear benefits to your clients. After all, why should you bother opening the clinic on weekends if it doesn’t bring you more patients? Offering late or weekend appointments should fill up your appointment schedule, not leave your staff bored with nothing to do!
What Can You Do to Differentiate Your Practice?
There are many areas you can focus on to differentiate your practice from others. Take the front desk as an example. Most people don’t like going to the dentist. You can train your employees to greet everyone with a smile and make your patients comfortable. Change your waiting room into a welcoming space where people can relax before meeting the dentist. Small changes can make a difference to the customer experience.
Keep in mind that your changes should target a particular market segment. If you treat children and teenagers, every aspect of your clinic should reflect it. Decorate your waiting room in bright colors and have some games or toys for the kids. Introduce features such as patient portals that parents can use to schedule appointments online. Offer to send reminders to both the patient and their parent about upcoming visits.
Differentiate your practice and make it unique. No client should consider going somewhere else if they can help it!