For most dentists, there’s one key performance indicator that stands out from the rest. Amid a messy pile of practice reports on their desks, they snatch the one that shows them the number they want to know more than anything else. Accounts receivable? Nah, they’ll look at that later with their front office team. Average hourly production per hygienist? Please . . . they’ve never looked at that.
No, the number they want to see every month, above all others, is new patients. And that’s for good reason. You don’t need an MBA to understand the tremendous value of having new business walk through your front door. More new mouths mean the potential for more work to do. It’s a reflection of how well you’re treating your current patients; word-of-mouth referrals are a tried-and-true source of new patients. It’s also a direct indication of whether your external marketing is working—indeed, why else would we market if not for new patients?
The journey of a potential new patient into your practice can be a long and winding road. I doubt you’re the only dentist around for hundreds of miles, so why are these new patients choosing you over your colleagues in the neighborhood? Will they scout your website and Yelp reviews for hints at your skills and personality? How will they be greeted by your front office ambassador when they make that critical first phone call? How far into the future will they have to wait for an appointment?
In this issue, we’ve invited experts to help you consider these important steps your next new patients will be taking. We shouldn’t take for granted that vote of confidence these strangers are giving us. They’re betting their time and money that you and your team will be their new dental home. Let’s figure out how to have that bet pay off, time and time again.
Chris Salierno, DDS
Editor's note: This article appeared in the July 2021 print edition of Dental Economics.