Dental Office Practice Management Tips and Ideas for October

Dental Office Practice Management Tips and Ideas for October

Hello Friends,

The ideas that I’m sharing for the month of October can be done any time of year but sometimes, it helps to have a little push. So here is your gentle push to make plans now to have a great start to the final quarter for the year.

 

Fall Dental Office Practice Management Ideas

Use it or Lose it Reminders – Get your letters (& phone calls) out to your patients reminding them to use any insurance benefits they have remaining for 2017 to complete any needed treatment or for their continuing care hygiene appointment before they lose them.

SEE Remaining Maximum Tips and Ideas (Sample Letter)

Improve Your Office Day – October 4th – (It is also Taco day and Vodka day, coincidence? I think not.)

Take this opportunity to examine ways to improve your office. Here are some ideas to get you started:  SEE Improve your Office

Customer Service Week – October 2nd -6th  – This is a great theme for your next team meeting.  What ideas can you come up with as a team to exceed your patients’ expectations by consistently delivering excellent customer service?

Boss’s Day is October 16th  – Plan now to make this day special for your boss(es).

Get to Know Your Customers Day is October 19th Perhaps you could have a Business Card Drawing for a Free Lunch. Have fun with this day or turn it into a week or month-long event. This will allow you to get to know your patients better as well as learn what local businesses you want to focus some of your marketing efforts on.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month – What can be done to improve your hygiene department? Examine your current protocols and systems…both clinical and administrative.

Combine these practice management ideas with my Marketing Ideas and you will have a great October (and final quarter) as a team! Not to mention, your patients will love you for it!

As always, I would love to hear your ideas! Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer… I’m ready to help!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Please share my blog with your dental friends.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

Please follow and like us:
Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Hello Friends,

I OFTEN get asked the question, what should we say when a patient calls to cancel their hygiene appointment?

Today, I’ll share with you some scripting examples for handling calls from patients that want to cancel same-day hygiene appointments.

what do I say when patient calls to cancel their dental hygiene appointment

Please note: this isn’t scripting for perio appointment cancellations. You would use different scripting for those types of appointments.

Scenario #1:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: NOOOOO!

What do you do? It’s 9:00, how are you supposed to fill that time slot?

Scenario #2:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 4:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: YESSSSS!

What do you do? Celebrate, of course! Now you can get out early.

I’m kidding! We hate cancellations (even the “just a cleaning” ones) at any time of day because they all kill profitability.

So what do you say to the patient when they try to cancel? How do you save the appointment?

You can’t save them all, there are unavoidable, legitimate reasons that some patients are canceling their appointment. For help filling the schedule with those inevitable last-minute cancellations, please see: Ideas to Fill Holes in the Dental Hygiene Schedule

For all others, try this:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: (with genuine concern) “Oh no! I hope everything is alright. Jenny was really looking forward to seeing you today for your appointment. Is there any way you can make your reservation?” or

“Oh no, Jenny will be so disappointed, she reserved this time just for you, is there any way you can keep your reservation?” or

“Oh no! Thank you for calling, I know Jenny will be concerned, is there anything we can do so that you can be here today?”

or, if you have a broken appointment policy…

Admin: “Oh no! I’d hate for you to have to pay the broken appointment fee, is there any way you can make your reservation with Jenny?”

Now, if the patient is sorry and truly can’t make the appointment and this is the first time they’ve canceled an appointment, say this:

Admin: “I know that Jenny was looking forward to seeing you, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to provide us with 48 hrs notice due to (whatever their reason was) – we’ll go ahead and waive the broken appointment fee this time. Let’s get you rescheduled…”

For patients calling to cancel due to work, try the following…

Patient: I can’t take time off of work, or I have to work…

Admin: “My job is important to me too. We really hate for you to not be able to make your appointment. Is there any way you could have someone cover for you for that time or would it help if we wrote a note to your supervisor?”

STILL NO:

Admin: “We obviously made an appointment for you that isn’t convenient. Since your appointments are important I want to make sure we never do that again. Is there a time we can schedule that you know you will be convenient?”

Document your conversation and that you waived the fee for this time and that the patient is aware next time they’ll be charged.

If the patient refuses to reschedule their appointment…

Admin: “That’s fine, but if I don’t hear back from you, I will call you on ______, how does that sound?” (Follow through on that promise.)

For patients that habitually cancel, I urge you to charge them your broken appointment fee and do not reschedule their appointment.

Admin:  “Mr/Ms (use their name), I can see that you have a really busy schedule and that makes it difficult for you to commit to an appointment time. I thought I was a busy person!
What I recommend is that we place you on our “same day” call list. If we have an unexpected change in our schedule we’ll give you a call. How does that sound?”

Document your conversation! Follow-up accordingly.

Work together as a team to come up with scripting that works for your office. Think of all the different scenarios and reasons patients call to cancel (cost, illness, no babysitter, schedule conflicts, etc.) and role-play the best responses. Your goal should be, if appropriate, respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.

If you have created this cancellation monster, it will take some time to re-train your team and your patients. How do we train our patients that it’s ok to cancel last-minute?

  • Not creating true value for the appointment through patient education.
  • Constantly rescheduling patients appointments because of some change to the provider’s schedule.
  • Not respecting the patients time by running behind and not giving the very best experience from start to finish.
  • Telling the patient, no problem or that it’s OK when they call to cancel.
  • Poor and inconsistent appointment reminder systems and protocols.
  • Not acknowledging no-shows with a telephone call 5 minutes after their scheduled appointment time and with a follow-up letter/text/email.

Sadly, I have heard many offices tell the patients, no problem when they call to cancel. They don’t even attempt to reschedule. They just say OK and hang up. I’m not joking. This really happens.

Ultimately, preventing cancellations starts with creating value for the appointment before it’s even scheduled… it’s never “just a cleaning” that they are trying to cancel.

Create a strong hygiene continuing care protocol for your team and consistently follow it.

If your office needs help in creating a protocol for how to track hygiene continuing care reports/numbers, appointment scripting, patient correspondence, etc. please contact me today for a complimentary consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on  FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

 

Please follow and like us:

Dental Marketing Ideas for December

Hello Friends,

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sharing ideas with you for the start of the year and here we are, at the end of the year and I’m sharing dental marketing ideas for December.

winter dental marketing ideas betty hayden consulting

How does your final quarter look? Make plans now to have the best December ever in your dental practice. These ideas should help…

Incomplete Treatment:

Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that will expire at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month. Some offices invite their patients to take advantage of “today only” special offers that they share via their social media sites, email blasts, and telephone calls.

Be alert to any patients that are coming in with the doctor or hygienist and have incomplete treatment or are due in hygiene. If the schedule allows, encourage them to take care of both at the same time. This means carefully reviewing all charts in advance of the appointment.

December is a great time for Special offers on Teeth Whitening, Electric Toothbrushes, and Invisalign.

Consider having a drawing for a gift basket or gift card to a local business that your patients can enter to win when they come in for their dental appointment before December 23rd.

 Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will be attending holiday parties/events during the month of December. Typically with these special occasions come a lot of picture-taking. Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures.

Remember, Gift Certificates for Teeth Whitening should always be available for your patients to purchase as gifts for their loved ones.

.Here are 3 More Ways to Help Your Patients

& Team Smile in December!

 National Cookie Day: 4th / National Cocoa Day: 12th- Package up a cookie with your office label and a packet of hot cocoa to hand out to your patients on this day or do it for the entire week or month. Your patients will love this sweet treat. A great way to exceed their expectations. See more patient gift ideas here: Patient Appreciation Gift Ideas

 It’s About Time Week – 25th – 31st – What is it time for? Employee Reviews?, A Team meeting?, To give your employees the continuing education and training that they need?, To finally, let that toxic employee go?, To Strengthen your Hygiene Continuing Care Protocol?, New Office Equipment?, New Office Uniforms?…. you get the idea 😉 If you aren’t sure, ask your team, I’m confident they’ll have a list of ideas for you.

 National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day: 12th – Great Dental Education Opportunity to discuss with your patients in the office as well as in a blog post and on your social media sites. As well as a service/treatment opportunity in the office.

 And one more bonus idea…

Travel Toothbrush Bags – Many of your patients travel during the holidays – Surprise them with a small gift for their travels. Put together toothbrush bags that include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and a “what to do in a dental emergency” handout. You could also include other travel sized items such as lotion, Advil, lip balm, etc.

If you find yourself with some open time in the schedule that you haven’t been able to fill, use the time to:

  • Clean the office really well
  • Have some team building mtgs and/or team mtgs to discuss marketing, production and collection goals for the new year, create and schedule posts for your social media sites.
  • Complete Employee Reviews & Goals

 I would love to hear all about your plans to make December a great month. Please comment below to share your ideas.

If you’re not following my free dental marketing ideas via your email each month, please do so today. If you send me your email address, I’m happy to send you an invitation to follow my blog. That way, you won’t miss out on any ideas.

Feel free to share this post with all of your dental friends!

 Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInandPinterest

Please follow and like us:

Ten Ways to Stay in Touch with your Dental Patients

Hello Friends,

How do you encourage referrals and build relationships with your patients when the average dental patient comes in only 2 times per year for their continuing care hygiene appointment? Think about this, you get to spend 2-3 hours out of 8,760 hours per year with those patients. With all of life’s distractions and responsibilities, how can you ensure that they don’t forget about you in between appointments? Stay In Touch. Keep your name in front of them by planting little reminder seeds.

Today, I’m going to share with you 10 Ways to Stay In Touch With Your Patients. Ten easy & effective ways you can stay in touch by planting “reminder seeds”.

how to build relationships and encourage referrals betty hayden consulting dental

  1. Social Media Active Social Media pages are a must. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest are excellent ways to engage  and build lasting relationships with your patients. If you struggle with what to post on your pages, visit here for social media content ideas.                                                                                                     
  2. Freebies –  Give away free items imprinted with your office name, website and phone number to each patient at their appointment. Such as; toothbrushes, magnets, calendars, pens and lip balm. ( If you’re wondering where you can order some quality imprinted items, check out Bizarre Marketing.  I share this particular company with you because their customer service is awesome!)                                                                             
  1. Cards – Send cards to your patients, Just Because, Thank you for your referral and/or Special Occasion cards. People appreciate getting an “old fashioned” hand written greeting card via snail mail.   Make it convenient by keeping a variety of greeting cards on hand.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  2. Telephone – Pick up the telephone and call your patients. Here are a few reasons you may have to call: Continuing care appointment reminders, Thank you for your referral, Post-op (just checking in to see how well you’re doing), Refill reminders (due for a refill on whitening gel, toothpaste, electric toothbrush head replacement, etc), and Special Occasions.                                                                     
  3. Letters – Send out letters for incomplete treatment, congratulations on completed treatment, welcome to our practice and thank you for your referral. Tip: providers and team members should personally sign their letters. Include a  brief note or comment if appropriate.  In addition to letters, send continuing care appointment reminder postcards and text messages.                                                                                                                                                          
  4. Newsletter – Send newsletters out to your patients. Include sharable content, dental health tips, recipes, community news, office happenings, dental education and special offers.                                                                                                        
  5. Emails – Dental Hygiene Tips, Office Happenings, Continuing Care Reminders and Special Offers. Be sure to ask and record email addresses of your patients. Email communication is inexpensive, easy and effective. Just don’t spam your patients with too many emails.                                                                                                   
  6. Website – Keep your website fresh, easy to navigate and attractive. Include videos, info & pictures about the doctor(s) and team, community events, special offers, ability to schedule appts online, FAQ, dental services and education, office hours, directions, social media pages, contact information, etc.                                                                                                                                                                  
  7. Patient Appreciation Events – Host a fun event for your patients – In-office Patient Appreciation Days and Open House events. See Open House ideas. Out of office events, such as; Roller Skating, Indoor Bounce/Trampoline, Movie Theater, Public Pool, Bowling, Local Park, etc. Invite your patients to bring a friend. Be sure to have imprinted giveaways and information about your office at these events. Encourage all attendees to visit and like your social media pages.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  8. Community Involvement – Be involved in local health fairs, charity events, sponsor local sports teams, etc. Just a thought, when you and your team are out participating in community events, consider wearing t-shirts that clearly identify (advertise) your office and give away a lot of imprinted gifts.

There you have it, 10 ways to stay in touch with your dental patients. Doing some or all of these things will help to build lasting relationships with your patients and encourage referrals.

Of course, the very best way to ensure your patients remember to come back and to refer their friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers is to get them talking about their experience after they leave your office. How do you that? Be consistently great! Consistently exceed expectations! Plan to make sure that each and every appointment is great from the initial greeting at arrival, during their appointment, and when you say your thank you and goodbyes as they leave. (See Earn The Privilege To Serve Again)

At your next team meeting, discuss what you are currently doing to stay in touch with your patients and how you can improve in planting more reminder seeds.

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please subscribe today. Feel free to tell your dental friends all about us so they can start benefiting from these dental ideas too. If you liked these ideas, please let me know by hitting the “like” button. Thank you!!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest

 

Please follow and like us: