Improve 4 x 10 & Increase Dental Production SIGNIFICANTLY!

Practice ZEBRA™ is taking the dental industry by storm. ZEBRA, powered by Patient NEWS, is our proprietary dental software that helps improve practice AND marketing performance at every phase of the patient journey. It’s been developed exclusively for dentists because we only work with dentists! Can you imagine, we’re at 27+ years as a dental marketing agency and 100% exclusively committed to our amazing industry!

Today I’ll zero in on 4 pretty typical dental practice key performance indicators, which when improved upon by just 10%, could add significant dollars to your top and bottom line … without you or your team really even trying all that hard!

These key performance metrics are from actual dental industry data in Practice ZEBRA which connects to 98% of all dental practice management systems. You’ll see industry averages and what the top 10% of practices are doing.

If you’re a dentist, dental office manager, or dental consultant/marketing manager and you haven’t had a FREE Demo of Practice ZEBRA – you need to schedule one now and see how your metrics line up.


Change is hard. We all know it. The follow-through on New Years' resolutions tells the story. You experience it every day when you coach a patient to change behaviors for better health and they just don’t follow through. We’re all guilty of getting used to the way we do things, and implementing major changes are just sometimes too big of a hassle.

Implementing change comes back to putting the goal back in focus.

What if I told you that minor change, just a 10% incremental move to this or that metric, could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars for your topline? Not. Even. Joking. As I said above, these are real examples from real dentists who are using Practice ZEBRA. With visibility to your key metrics and where they stand today, you can implement small changes for big reward. It’s black and white.

To begin change, you need to log the metrics. And to motivate change, goals (that are perceived as achievable) need to be set, and you need to have success and monitor the progress to influence continual effort. Small wins ignite engagement and consistent success produces positive feelings of job satisfaction.

So which metrics can give a big win with a small change?

New Patients.

You may know how many new patients you average each month. But do you know how many NET patients you lose or gain each month?

As a dental marketing agency, most of our clients are patient- and marketing-centric, so their metrics can be stronger than those who haven’t stayed consistent with internal and external patient communication. This practice has done an exceptional job over the past year, keeping patient loss and their NET GAIN at +465.

But the following practice hasn’t done such a great job. After adding almost 800 new patients in the past year, they’re out with a NET LOSS of 173 patients. All that hard work adding new patients for fewer patients on the roster. Yuck.


It’s important to monitor your communications through the patient journey to ensure that when you add a new patient, you also keep them coming back. Benchmark your metrics in Practice ZEBRA with a free demo to see where you could improve patient communications and strengthen patient retention.

BUT new patients will help with practice recovery and they are as important as keeping existing patients.

Across the board, the data in Practice ZEBRA shows that new patients contribute much more than that of an active patient to annual production. Of the top 10% of practices, the average patient is worth $2900 and a new patient is valued at $4550. Start by knowing your numbers. It’s black-&-white clear in Practice ZEBRA.


The loss of new-patient flow through COVID-19 closures will impact production unless there’s a focus on these important, new, high-value patients. Share these metrics with your team so they can support and assist you in bringing on more new patients. Many clients have extended appointment times, added weekend visits, dedicated new-patient days, introduced enticing referral programs, and even increased marketing spend.

Quantify what a minor 10% bump to your monthly new patients would mean financially. Using the practice above as an example, with 726 new patients added in the last year at a value of $1974, increasing new patients by 10% would have added over $140,000 in production. That’s just 6 more each month. Not reaching for the stars, just a minor incremental bump.

Call Handling.

This is one of the most revealing metrics dental offices find once they begin scoring inbound calls. The average dental office misses 30% of inbound calls and coverts less than 60% to appointment. On the other hand, cranking practices answer 99% of their inbound calls and convert 97%. That means it can be done.

BUT what if you’re around industry average and could incrementally increase each of these metrics by just 10%. Based on this practice, with the average new-patient value of $2785, they would add over $800,000 in annual production without spending another penny on marketing!


There is power in knowing your metrics. When one of our favorite clients, Dr. Hazel Glasper, saw this data for her practice, she said, “I’m competitive. Why can’t we do that?” And she and her team made it happen! It’s just a little clarity and a little focus and BAM, you can be there too. 

Patient Scheduling.

Every office has a different take on patient scheduling. It’s one of the most complicated tasks at the dental office – making sure that you’re hitting the right mix of treatments per day to hit your daily production goal. What we can tell you right now is that patient scheduling is down by 10%.

Right now industry average has just 39% of active patients scheduled – however, top performers are scheduling over 70% of patients, and we have several clients in the 90% range – so we know it can be done. BUT patients need to know it’s safe and they need reassurance – and probably quite a few more touches before they engage.

According to recent data from the Health Policy Institute, of patients who were active in 2019, 86% are somewhere in the “ready” stage, 26% having been recently active, but more importantly, 60% ”ready to go” with encouragement from the dentist. The final 14% are waiting for a medical breakthrough.

Practice ZEBRA can help you identify your non-scheduled patients, and when combined with marketing tactics from Patient NEWS, you can work to re-engage all patients of record. Talk to your team and our team about the various tactics you can implement to get more patients scheduled back in.

Every patient who isn’t scheduled isn’t connected to you at all. Benchmark your scheduling metrics now and set incremental goals to add 10% of your patients back … and then 10% more. Small steps. Big production.

Patient Retention.

Okay, the last metric to worry about today – but don’t worry, Practice ZEBRA can give you your metrics so that you can move on this – is active patients versus “danger” patients.

Danger patients are those who have not had a visit in 9 months. Here we have two hefty productive practices with 5,000 patients. The difference is that Practice A has 26% sitting in the danger report, whereas Practice B has 54% – HALF of their active patients have not visited in 9 months. This is likely going to be a painful situation for them when we hit 2021.


The industry average danger patient percentage is around 27% right now, slightly higher due to COVID. The good news is that overdue danger patients can be tackled and brought back into your practice schedule. Just go after 10% at a time. COVID-19 may have pushed more patients than usual into this category, but when you know who they are, you can put communication into play. Start now – isolate your danger patients and speak with them.

So that’s it. 4 metrics x 10% and you just found a lot of production.

  1. New Patients Drive Important Revenue
  2. Call Conversion Adds More New Patients
  3. Strong Scheduling Keeps Patients Connected & Production Steady
  4. Positive Communication Improves Patient Retention & increases referrals, reviews & treatment acceptance.

Take a look at your overall patient communication strategy from practice awareness, through buying decision, and then the experience they have when they engage and are part of your practice. Patients need good communication at all stages.

It’s good to overshare what you’re doing to keep everyone safe, and why oral health is critical, particularly during COVID. People need to know that you can’t fight the COVID-19 virus if you’re also fighting other diseases like gum disease.

When you put the focus on these metrics, you can quantify where it and how best to adjust or enhance patient communication, new-patient communication, community communication … positive reinforcement of the safety and importance of dental care will help you push each of these metrics up by just 10% (or maybe more depending on who you are)!!

If you’re using Practice ZEBRA, log in and check these four important metrics. If you’re not yet a ZEBRA dental office, schedule a FREE Demo today.

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