Conversion and business metrics for Dental or Healthcare Clinics to prioritize

My dental hygienist was asking for advice for his friends who were thinking of starting their own practices so here it is. This will apply to any healthcare professional who’s out to establish their own practice.

If you haven’t already read my post: How to leverage “Hidden Differentiation” to outperform your competitors, start there. The tips in that article are highly relevant given the hyperlocal nature of retail.

What to prioritize

Good news, you can skip almost everything in business courses related to market validation — Don’t worry too much about customer interviews. You already have a clearly defined target customer who has a problem and wants your solution.

Instead, do some location specific market research

  • Population
  • Foot traffic
  • Retail rental rates
  • Search demand/trend
  • # of competitors in your vicinity

and focus most of your attention on optimizing sales/marketing/operations.

Optimize your business with Pirate Metrics

“AARRR” like a pirate — coined by Dave McClure, Founder of 500 Startups, is a simple acronym for the 5 key metric categories that encompass the entire customer journey.

Acquisition — How you get your customers

Activation — Their usage of your service

Retention — How long they stay with you

Revenue — How much money you’re making

Referrals — Them telling other people about you


High Priority

Google Maps

  • Set up your google business listing ASAP.
  • Ensure it’s comprehensive and up-to-date (holiday hours too).

RateMyMD — Or other popular platform in your region.

  • Create or claim your profile.
  • Encourage patients to review you on that platform (and on Google Map).

If applicable, register with matching services like

Low Priority

Website — focus on your

  • About Us (your unique philosophy, values, approach, team)
  • Testimonials

Social Media

  • For collecting & responding to reviews or inquiries.
  • Centralize all inquiries from your website & social accounts with a tool like Intercom.

Don’t bother

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — not a priority for hyperlocal businesses.


As a service provider, your revenue is directly tied to:

  • The value you give to your customers
  • Your time

Since you’re no different from another doctor with identical qualifications, value is a reflection of your patients experience. Focus on designing and delivering an amazing experience that will keep them coming back and motivate them to make referrals.

Optimize your time

Batch schedule similar tasks like assessments, check-ups, surgeries.

  • Your brain requires more time to reorient when you switch between different tasks.
  • But be mindful of diminishing returns, it might be too taxing to have a day full of surgeries back-to-back.
  • Leverage automation where appropriate to maximize the number of patients you can serve (it’ll also reduce cost and save time).


Not limited to software, create standardized processes, workflows, and templates to speed up repetitive tasks.

Use a proper booking management system that’s designed for your practice. There are a variety of options available, you’ll want something that can:

  • Manage your calendars
  • Manage rooms
  • Manage staff (who’s in what room and their schedules)
  • Automate appointment reminders (for your staff & for the patient)

Automate administrative tasks like:

  • Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Insurance filing (For patients to claim from their healthcare benefits/government)
  • Following-up with patients after their procedures
  • Asking for feedback/reviews


  1. Remember, delivering a good experience is the most important thing you can do to improve retention.
  2. Book their next session while they’re there with you (at the end of their current session)
  • So you won’t have to go through the trouble to get a hold of them on the phone to schedule.
  • Reduces the likelihood of them going somewhere else for their next session.
  1. Automated appointment reminders to reduce no-shows


2 main ways to increase revenue are:

1. Get your customers to buy more when they do buy with you

Example: Offering to do a CAT scan in preparation for a wisdom tooth extraction to better identify nerve location and assess the complication/risk of the procedure

  • Up/Cross sell whatever’s available to give the customer a better experience, put them at ease, or make their recovery more convenient.
  • No excuse not to, their procedures are covered by medical benefits/government healthcare and customers WANT the best treatment possible.

2. Get them to buy more often

Example: Patients who don’t enjoy scaling may come back less frequently.

  • Emphasize the recommended schedule of doing it every 6 months.
  • Actively solicit feedback about their experience and do what you can to improve it.


Word-of-mouth, Reviews, and Ratings are your bread and butter.

  • Automate the solicitation of feedback and reviews.
  • The best time to ask for a referral is after a positive experience/emotional milestone (think after a procedure or after they’ve fully recovered).

Understand conversion

To expand AARRR into actionable tasks that you can address, let’s next explore the funnel. The funnel is a concept of conversion that will lead to a sale.

It’s not a linear process, and customers may skip certain steps, but you’ll need to understand how your customers convert in order to identify improvements that you can make.

Here’s an oversimplified example:

In reality, there are usually multiple methods to convert someone. Map them all out. It might actually look closer to this:

Now that you know your key conversion points, track metrics at each point to understand how they’re performing. This will allow you to identify weak areas and determine if your attempts at improving them are effective.

Prioritize optimization in the following order:

  • Start at the top — It’s pointless to optimize the appointment booking process if you don’t have enough people using it.
  • Tackle low hanging fruit — Start with bottlenecks that have glaringly poor conversion.
  • Prioritize channels with the most volume — If most people find you via Google, you may not need to have amazing signage.

Final word: Despite this article focusing on metrics and revenue, it all boils down to your patient’s experience. They won’t come back/recommend you if they don’t like you/your staff/their experience.

Customers can tell if you’re just going for a sale/profit. Never treat a patient as a transaction, focus on serving them as a human and you’ll never go wrong.




Startup go-to-market and sales specialist, father, avid packrafter

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Chang Chin Hing

Chang Chin Hing

Startup go-to-market and sales specialist, father, avid packrafter

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