Janice Charlton discusses how to implement processes as habits that will help to boost business

We all know that consumers are fickle creatures, so if the service you provide isn’t quite up to the mark, your patients will inevitably drift elsewhere. So, how do you consistently ensure you are offering the best? In order to stay at the top of your game, you need to have an effective plan in place. This is where instilling a ‘process culture’ into your practice can work wonders; it’s all part of how an efficient organisation works. Linking your business goals to the way your staff behave and act in the workplace on a daily basis creates a process to help you achieve your objectives. Thus, you have a process culture.

A process culture

This might sound like something that is more suited to a large, corporate organisation rather than a dental practice, but stick with me here, there is plenty to learn from the way the big guys do things, it’s all about applying the strategies to your own scenarios. The first thing for any business owner to do is look at things through a customer’s eyes; you need to experience exactly what they do when they visit you. Take, for instance, the patient journey, a crucial place to start when considering how to boost your business, because this is where you will find the clues to help you do just that.

To do this properly, you don’t just need to assess things from your front door, you need to look a little further afield than this. Ask yourself, what is it like getting to your practice? Are the transport links good, is the parking sufficient, are there particular times of day when traffic is heavy nearby? These factors are the first things that people will consider when thinking about joining your practice, so be sure to tell your patients essential information, like the nearest train stations and bus stops, the best places to park and whether it’s free or chargeable, etc.

Of course, the experience within your premises is crucial, so it is important to analyse that, too. Is every aspect of your practice clean and inviting, do the surroundings set the right tone for your business, is this then backed up by an efficient team who mirror your ethos? All of this is individual and unique to your own dental practice, which is why you and your team are perfectly placed to carry out the journey and discuss areas of potential improvement together. Not only does this help to constantly improve the practice, it creates a process for which to go about it.

As you can see, what originally seemed to be a fairly simple task of analysing your patient journey can very quickly escalate into a much larger job than you may have originally thought. This is why building a process culture into your business can have maximum impact, because it essentially creates an environment whereby these types of practices become part of the everyday. Once this culture is properly instilled as your ethos, your team will automatically see areas for improvement as part of their daily activities, negating the need to schedule time to carry out a large task, such as an annual audit of the patient journey.


The most important thing to do is decide on your objectives. Think about where things are now and where you want your business to be one, two, or three years down the line. Once you have ascertained this, you can begin to think about the factors that need to be worked on in order to reach that end goal. All of these aspects will become the areas that will require processes to be applied to them in order to keep that final aim within range.

Gaining the support of your team is essential; sit down together and work out the objectives and discussing as a group all the factors that need addressing to help you all reach that end point. Build in regular training and continually communicate to encourage feedback from your team.

Patient Plan Direct offer a low-cost, simple, flexible and practice-branded solution to running patient payment plans, with a focus on delivering first-class support and expert advice to ensure you reach your plan objectives.
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