Customer satisfaction has improved dramatically for dentists, who should be very proud considering the increasing challenges they face to maintain that level of satisfaction. The biggest headache for dentists has been and continues to be insurance payments. Carriers often take several weeks or even months to pay dentists for their services, which is a surefire recipe for cash flow problems.
Patients don’t tend to be as punctual with payments as well, but they are now footing more of the bill following a spike in high deductible plans.
Waiting too long for receivables to come in whittles away at profits and makes it more difficult to cover recurring and growth-related expenses. Many expenses, like up-to-date equipment and inventory, are too important to be postponed. More and more dentists are promoting the use of advanced technology that makes most procedures virtually painless. Speaking of promotions, dentists must now ramp up their marketing to let potential patients know that having poor or no insurance doesn’t mean they can’t afford regular cleanings.
Industry outsiders are also likely unaware that like any other business, dental practices are subjected to seasonality. Their busy season is so chaotic that it requires additional resources. This wouldn’t be an issue were it not for the aforementioned delinquent payments and the lack of a steady stream of revenue to maintain day-to-day operations. And the busy season comes right after the slow season, when there is little cash available to prepare for the massive surge in appointments.
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