Are you looking to improve and grow your pediatric dental office? Today, I’m going to share several dental practice management ideas for your pediatric office. You may want to print out this article and discuss these ideas with your team. Together, come up with a plan that will help you become/remain the “go-to” pediatric office in your community.
Before we get started, keep in mind that the way to mom and dads’ heart is to treat their children well. The way to keep mom and dad loyal to your office is to treat their children exceptionally well. Why? Happy Kids = Happy Parents. As a mother of two children, I know this to be TRUE!
Here you go, Dental Practice Management Ideas for the Pediatric Office…
Reception Room –
- Up-To-Date Décor
- Video Games – Stationary or handheld devices
- Books – Lending library bookshelf.
- TV (children’s movies and short dental education videos)
- Pictures – Wall of fame, digital photo frame or photo album filled with pictures of your patients.
- Photo “booth” area with backdrop and photo props.
- Tablet/Cell Phone charging station for parents.
- Bottled water (beverage & snack station for parents.)
New Patient Experience –
- INTRODUCE yourselves to the parents & the child.
- Give a tour of the office. Point out where the restroom is located.
- Explain what they can expect during their visit
- Free stuff – children love to pick out a prize after their visit.
- Sign them up for your kids’ club/team.
- Send them a welcome card after their first visit. Kids love to get mail!
Okay, time for a personal experience… I took my children to a new dentist. The hygienists’ took my children back for their cleaning appointments without introducing themselves to me or the kids first. Also, I was never invited back to meet the doctor before, during, or after his examination. Yes, I could have insisted on an introduction but seriously? common courtesy here, how difficult is a simple introduction? Turn off for me. And I can’t be alone here – I suspect most parents and children for that matter would appreciate a greeting and introduction.
Kids Club/Team –
I’m not a fan of “no cavity” clubs because I like to see all children have the opportunity to be part of the office kids club/team and sometimes, a child’s unfortunate cavity is the fault of the parent. Have a club/team that is just for fun and that rewards healthy habits, report cards, community involvement, etc. Take a picture of each child to hang on your wall of fame or in a digital photo frame or picture album, as well as for your website, newsletter and/or social media sites. Present the child with a certificate/wristband/t-shirt when they sign up for your kids’ club. Have monthly contests/drawings that the children can enter to win prizes.
Give-Aways – Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Floss/floss threaders, Toys, Puzzles, Kites, Books, Gift Cards, Bubbles, Stickers, Balloons, Fidget Spinners, Kites, Small Stuffed Animals, Glow items, etc. Children love to leave the office with a small treasure.
Reviews/Recommendations – Ask for reviews and recommendations on Google and Facebook. Parents appreciate hearing from other parents about their experiences with your office. Most often, it is as simple as asking mom or dad if they would please take a minute to leave a review/recommendation.
Referrals – Acknowledge all referrals with a thank you card/letter signed by the dental team. Consider offering thank you gifts/raffle items. Prize ideas: Gift Cards, Family get-away, Gift Baskets, Etc. See Gift Ideas – Pinterest Board
Website – Have an attractive, informative, and up-to-date Website.
Social Media – Utilize social media platforms to keep your current patients up to date with all of your office happenings, to build relationships with local businesses, and to connect with potential patients. Be sure to connect with community mom groups and all kid-related businesses on your social media platforms. (See this Pinterest Board for a plethora of posting images.)
Facebook Videos – Share (live) videos about brushing & flossing techniques, what to do in a dental emergency, why baby teeth are important, what age should a child first visit the dentist, how much sugar is in your favorite drink/cereal/snack, healthy snack ideas and so on.
Answer Your Phone –
Sure, you know that the office phone should be answered within the first couple of rings by an unhurried, friendly scheduling coordinator whose goal is to schedule an appointment and wow the caller with excellent customer service but if you want to see greater results from your marketing efforts, then you must be certain that your office phone is answered during times when patients are calling. Minimum: Monday – Saturday 8:00am – 6:00pm, including lunch hours. Invest in your entire team by providing training on how to effectively answer the phone.
Forward your calls to an answering service if needed. Having a live person for the caller to talk to is so much better than your caller getting an answering machine or voice mail and then deciding to call the next dental office on their list in hopes of talking to a “live” person.
Also, despite our best intentions to not put a caller on hold we know that it still happens from time to time. Consider having an on hold message for these times, this way, you’ll have the opportunity to share office information, special offers, social media sites, etc. with the caller rather than them listen to nothing, an annoying beeping sound or lame music. See also: Should I Use A Message On Hold Service
Missed calls and calls poorly handled are missed opportunities and those missed opportunities mean missed dollars…big dollars!
For more telephone success tips, take a minute to read this helpful article: How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone
Blog/Website – Become the dental expert in your community. Post articles, videos, and pictures on your website and social media sites about different dental treatments/products, sports safety, what to do in a dental emergency, etc. TIP: Pin your blog posts, articles, videos and pictures to your office Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a GREAT way to drive traffic to your website. If you don’t already have Pinterest for your office, add that to your to-do list. Have a variety of family-related boards such as dental health tips, recipes, crafts, party ideas, healthy snacks, book ideas and more. Feel free to check out my Pinterest boards for ideas.
Distractions/Safety – TV’s in the treatment rooms, Ceiling Tile Scenery, Sunglasses, Etc. Make the experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for every child.
Contests/Drawing – Coloring contests, Monthly Gift Card/Gift Basket drawing, Wristband, Photo, Etc.
Post-Op Calls – Each evening place a “just wanted to see how well you’re doing call” to any patient that had an extraction or maybe was nervous or had a rough time during their visit.
Treatment Recommendations – Make it easy for mom or dad to say yes to your treatment recommendations. Have effective financial plans in place. For convenience, offer more same-day treatment. For example, if you’re recommending sealants at the hygiene visit, if possible, do them at that time. This is coming from a busy mom, convenience matters!
Hygiene Continuing Care – Schedule their next hygiene appt. while they’re in the office. Be certain that your hygiene continuing care reports are being monitored and calls are going out to schedule appts.
First “Happy” Visit Experience – Take a picture of the child in the chair (holding a first visit sign or certificate) and give to their parent in a cute picture frame. Share these pictures on your social media pages. Tag the parents in the post.
Are you ready for the #1 Way to Grow your Pediatric Office? –
Consistently Exceed Parent & Patient Expectations and Consistently Be Great! Give your patients something positive to talk about to their neighbors, workmates, friends, and family members. Make it easy for them to refer patients to you. (If you need some ideas to help Improve your Office, be sure to check out 30 Little Things That Make Big Things Happen for your Dental Practice , Cleaning Checklist for your Dental Office
I know this is a lot of information but if you’re serious about wanting to grow your practice, then it’s worth it to take the time to implement some or all of the ideas that I have shared with you today. Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you don’t have to do this on your own, I’m here to help.
Reminder, keep track of your new patient referral sources. Put specific referral source codes into your software system, this way, when you ask “How did you hear about us?” you have the correct referral code to enter in and you’ll be able to acknowledge that source with a thank you as well as know what marketing is working to bring in new patients. Speaking of marketing, stay tuned as I will be sharing several pediatric dental practice marketing tips and ideas very soon!!
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Yours for Greater Success,