There are nearly 197,000 dental practices in the United States. Many of them are struggling with the growing challenges they face.
There is a significant decline in healthcare brand loyalty today, as more patients demand convenience. This is one of the biggest challenges in running a dental practice. Patients no longer see the need to drive to a practice or waste time on phone calls to schedule dental appointments, so they will not hesitate to switch to a provider who offers the experience they need.
If you are deliberating whether or not online booking is suitable for your dental practice, here are 11 benefits of implementing online scheduling for you and your patients to help you make an informed decision. These tips can help differentiate your dental practice.
1. New patient acquisition
If you are looking to acquire more patients for your dental care, you should consider investing in online booking software. Scheduling an appointment is often the first interaction a new patient has with your dental practice, so the booking process should be convenient and seamless to create an excellent first impression. Through online scheduling, patients can request and book appointments without playing phone tag or driving to your clinic, enabling you to acquire more clients. Online booking is also an effective way to convert your dental care’s website visitors into new clients when your office is closed, or the phone lines are busy.
Most dental healthcare providers, such as Trident Smiles, often outsource the scheduling tasks to third parties or hire an in-house employee to help their patient’s book appointments. This is usually costly, especially when you hire in-house staff, as you incur additional expenses, including employee wages and salaries, recruitment and onboarding costs, training, and benefits, to mention a few. Investing in an online booking software allows you to automate scheduling tasks from appointments and reminders to follow-ups, which you access with a few clicks. This eliminates the need to hire a secretary, leading to significant savings.
In the traditional appointment booking systems, a patient must wait for business hours to schedule an appointment with a dentist. This is often inconvenient, especially when experiencing a toothache in the middle of the night. However, with online booking systems, patients can access their dentist’s calendar at any time and book appointments when available.
4. Reduced broken appointments
Some dentists are hesitant to implement online booking systems because they argue that patients can easily cancel appointments, especially at the last minute, as they can quickly schedule them. However, patients often cancel appointments due to forgetfulness, fear, financial implications, reduced urgency or lack of trust, and not the ease of scheduling or canceling appointments.
An online booking system can reduce broken appointments because patients can look in your calendar to determine an appointment time that suits their schedule. Patients will review their children’s schedules or consult their spouses for a convenient appointment time, reducing the chances of last-minute cancellations.
5. It helps you to schedule evenly
Underbooking or overbooking appointments can significantly compromise your productivity as a dentist. When you are overbooked, you will dedicate less time to patient care as you are constantly in a hurry to meet other patients in your day’s appointment schedule. Underbookings mean more empty chairs and consequently low income and productivity.
By allowing online bookings, you can easily even out your workflow to enable you to provide quality patient care while maximizing your staff’s productivity. This helps create a healthy personal life and work balance and increases your monthly revenue due to improved customer experiences. Be sure to invest in an online scheduling solution that synchronizes with your office’s booking applications to distribute workload according to your needs.
6. Reduces employee burnout
Did you know that over 43% of healthcare workers complain of burnout every year? You could help your employees combat burnout by decreasing tedious administrative duties and increasing tasks that provide value while streamlining your dental office’s operations.
Through online bookings, your front desk staff does not have to juggle between attending to patients during their visits, answering inquiries and phone calls, and scheduling appointments manually, which can be time-consuming, exhausting, and overwhelming. Online bookings also allow your staff to focus on other office activities, enabling them to accomplish more during the day, eliminating the need to work overtime, another cause for employee burnout.
7. Minimizes appointment errors
Managing your dental appointment schedules manually is subject to many mistakes. For instance, your front desk staff could double-book patients at the same time. If you have many dental branches but limited hygienists, your team could book them in some offices on the wrong days, frustrating your clients.
Online booking services can help you eliminate appointment mistakes. An online booking software allows you to create a custom booking availability for every employee, enabling your patients to know when their favorite dentist is open for bookings.
8. Help you to fill appointment openings
Keeping a full schedule by maximizing your appointment volume is crucial to running a successful dental practice. Unfortunately, some patients cancel appointments last minute or fail to show up, reducing your appointment volume, which results in consolidated revenue and practice growth.
With online booking, a potential client looking for a time-sensitive appointment can check your booking availability promptly and choose a slot that could have otherwise been lost or unfilled due to no-shows or last-minute cancellations. Consider investing in online scheduling software that offers automated appointment reminders or confirmations to help you minimize last-minute cancellations and no-shows. This will help you achieve your long-term objectives and bottom line because reduced schedule disruptions mean more revenue.
9. Increased efficiency and speed
Patients spend much time in a waiting room on their initial dentistry practice visit. One must fill out medical history forms and pre-treatment questionnaires. However, an online booking system allows patients to fill out the forms before their initial visit. This reduces the time spent in the waiting room and increases your client turnover time for your dentistry, enabling you to attend to more patients.
10. Establishes your practice as up-to-date
Dental patients prefer to complete most tasks, including booking appointments online. They also expect the best care, latest technology, and products in their chosen dentistry practices. Suppose your practice does not offer online bookings. In that case, potential clients may think that you are also behind on other crucial technologies necessary for oral healthcare and opt to make an appointment with other dental practices.
11. Better patient experiences
Online booking systems set the stage for positive customer satisfaction even before the initial visit. Most patients are frustrated by waiting on hold when booking an appointment. Having patients spend hours in the waiting room as the receptionist answers phone calls instead of attending to them contributes to customer dissatisfaction, so you should consider implementing an online booking system.
Online scheduling systems allow clients to self-book their appointments from your practice’s website, so they do not have to work around your schedule to make appointments. They also do not have to spend hours in the waiting room or hold calls as your front desk staff members attend to other duties. This improves patient satisfaction and experiences, leading to lasting relationships and increased revenue.
Online booking systems help you stand out from the competition and create a great first impression among your patients. Allow online bookings in your practice today to reduce broken appointments and employee burnout, ensure convenience, minimize errors, boost speed and efficiency, broaden your client base, and improve your patients’ experiences.