Steps to Help Achieve Growth, Satisfaction During and After the Pandemic

January 19, 2021
Bruce Bryen, CPA, CVA
Bruce Bryen, CPA, CVA

Bruce Bryen is a certified public accountant with over 45 years of experience and is a part of Baratz & Associates CPAs. He specializes in deferred compensation, such as retirement planning design; income and estate tax planning; determination of the proper organizational business structure; asset protection and structuring loan packages for presentation to financial institutions. He is experienced in providing litigation support services to dentists with Valuation and Expert Witness testimony in matrimonial and partnership dispute cases. He is also a financial writer for several dental journals. You may contact him at 609-502-0691 or at Bryenb@baratzcpa.com.

Dealing with COVID-19 can be a challenge, but those who implement successful measures can attain success during the virus, and really thrive down the road.

Without question, the lengthy amount of time that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has existed has hampered dental practices as well as the entire world, both it terms of routines and the emphasis on growth.

There are some dental offices that have done quite well while others have regressed. We are going to examine how those successful dental practices prepare to see growth and an increase in their worth as well as their net income. We will compare those to the others who have not kept up with the times and have not been creative or business minded and are in failure or regressive mode.

Many dental practices across the country have failed because of the virus and their inability to adjust to it with service or operating hours. Those closed offices have a quantity of patients who will now become the clientele of the viable dental offices. Other new patients will come from the referrals of existing patients who value the dentists’ professionalism, hours of opening and “bedside manner.” Their staff was almost assuredly trained as how to proceed with the patients and office during the pandemic. There were also probably little to no employee terminations thanks to many of the government loans that were available with no repayment requirement.

With these successful practices, there was the setting of the office providing comfort and ease of access that would also be instrumental with retaining existing patients and obtaining new patients as well. Any skill set not available from the dental practice professionals will surely have been referred to excellent outside the office specialists, so the patient did not have to wait for service.

Other indications of progressive ideas from successful dental practices who succeeded during the pandemic
Since new patients who come from existing patient referral or offices that have closed, a first encounter may be by the telephone or internet website and then a call to the office. The employee tasked with the job of answering the phone will have been trained carefully. This is the person who will set the tone for the new patient as to the ease in communicating with all of those in the office.It is the first impression that will stay with the prospect even before physically entering the dental practice for the initial appointment. The training or the lack of it is one of the separations of comparison between the successful office before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those offices that were doing well before the virus affected dental practices will follow their guidelines for success and will continue their prosperity during hard times and when things settle down again. Pleasant personalities begin with the dentist and filter down to the employees. A happy employee will pass on the atmosphere of the office to the patient. The patient expects the dentist, hygienist, and any professional staff member to have the clinical skills available to meet their needs. It’s the personality, especially for the new patient, of the entire staff that will impress that person who comes from a referral or a closed office. The pleasant atmosphere and “bedside manner,” will win over the new patients as it had been used to retain the older ones.

Additional items to consider while surviving the pandemic and staying upright
While striving for income, practice growth and value increases to the dental practice, an approach almost the same as preparing for a practice transition may bring some helpful thinking to the dentists under the stress of the current virus. When considering what steps need to be taken to improve the gross revenue, net profit and dental practice value, think about what the dentist and his or her advisors would be discussing with them as they were preparing the practice for the sale. When they were giving advice about signing a listing agreement with a qualified dental practice broker what would be the approach these consultants would suggest? The office should be cheerful and comfortable, with the staff showing big smiles and good attitudes when speaking to anyone present or on the phone. Where would the marketing be concentrated as if there were no virus?Who would be responsible for the clerical staff, hygienists’ and associates’ training responsibilities?The patient awareness of the cleanliness of the office should be impressed upon. The cost of sanitation because of the virus should be brought up to the patients in a subtle manner so that they understand that someone needs to pay for it. Even a minimal charge will let everyone know that there was a lot of thought and work completed to keep the office as safe as possible.

Continuing towards prosperity before and after the viral pandemic
All the writings about the virus and the necessary steps to take not just to hold on, but to prosper, definitely need implementation. It’s not just talking about things to do with the employees and the office staff, it’s also the action that the owner/dentist takes to guarantee a successful practice during and after this pandemic has stopped jeopardizing the world. Being innovative, having good “bedside mannerisms,” and not forgetting about training will give an edge to the dental practice that carries out these initiatives. This type of practice will be even more successful when the virus has gone away since almost all aspects of the dental practice will have been addressed. Everything begins with the dentist and his or her attitude towards the employees and the patients.

The attitude of the dentist transfers to the staff and then to the patient. A happy patient refers new business to the dentist. A patient who is distressed because of a bad employee attitude towards them will not refer anyone to the practice and may even talk badly about the practice as well as probably leaving to find a new dentist. It may be more stressful to the dentist during COVID-19 but huge dividends will be attained when the practice remains successful during the virus and really thrives as the virus slows down and then ends completely.