Welcome to the most hated economy market cycle in U.S history. One day the market is up and everything is fine and then the Fed comes in with some unnecessary commentary spooking the economy.
Basic economic principles indicate that when the economy goes into a recessionary environment consumers or in this case patients turn from luxury items and procedures to a need based care system. Dental patients are in fact going to stop coming in for the elective type of dentistry and even question if they really need that cleaning. In a slumping economy, unemployment rates rise, meaning that your client pool that had insurance might not have that same insurance.
It is better to be prepared ahead of time with a Recession proofing strategy that can be easily implemented. (Disclosure not all of these items are for everyone.)
Be Flexible when it comes to Insurance Types
Flexibility in financial matters is never a bad idea. Now is a great time to revisit the types of insurances you accept, and maybe it’s time to add a few more carriers. Even if you are philosophically opposed to insurance plans, patients will be paying closer attention to the bills. This has been proven over and over through simplistic economics. Researching major employers in your area to find out what they offer on their employee benefit side is crucial to maximizing your insurance patients.
Individuals leave dental practices for various reasons, more often than not it is because of insurance coverage (money issues) and not that of poor customer service.
Are you Fees Justified by the Marketplace?
Most dental practices increase their yearly fees by 1-3% per year or some equivalent of an inflation adjusted rate. One sound method during an economic down turn would be to freeze your current fee increases due to recent economic developments. This would easily make your patients feel that you understand the true cost of dental care and that you are in trenches with them. Market, Market, Market this benefit to current and new patients!
Most dental offices offer different forms of financing at this point…I mean it is 2019. Extending more friendly credit terms might entice patients that want to do the treatment plan but just can’t front that huge payment from the start.
Focus on Team Building and Systems
One item that is always difficult to find time to do is training staff. Especially when the economic climate is BOOMING. This is a great time to invest in C.E courses or on the job training with your expanded function assistants. When the economy picks back up down the road you have a better trained staff that feels more empowered to take on more difficult restorative work.
Last but not least, this is the perfect opportunity to look at all the technology that your firm uses, and compare it to that of newer systems currently in the marketplace.