Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips for your Dental Practice

Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips for your Dental Practice

Hello Friends,

Is your office past-due for a good cleaning and organizing? Maybe even some remodeling or redecorating? It’s that time of year when many take advantage of the warmer weather to “spring clean” their homes. This is also a great time to spring clean your dental practice.

I encourage you to make a checklist of all the areas in your office that may need some cleaning.  I’ll help you get started by showing you how to take advantage of using your 5 senses while cleaning your office. This is by no means an exhaustive cleaning list but it will give you ideas of where and what to clean.

Before you read on please remember that the patients’ (and potential patients’) perception of you, your team, the office, and the quality and safety of the care you provide is your reality. This means that everything that you do or don’t do…matters!

Even if you feel like you’re just too busy to tackle a project like this you’ll want to make the time; why? The long-term growth and success of your practice depend on it.

dental office cleaning and organizing checklist betty hayden

Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, and Taste.

SIGHT

What do your patients and potential patients see?

Areas to “see” include;

Office Exterior (Curb Appeal)

  • Signage
  • Windows
  • Landscape/Weeds
  • Garbage/Debris
  • Safety Concerns/Handicap accessibility

Office Interior

  • Reception Room – Sit in your reception room, what do your patients see, touch, hear, smell and taste? Look high and low. What do you see? Dirty carpeting/flooring? Outdated magazines & decor? Stained or worn chairs? Peeling wallpaper? Cobwebs? Dusty plants/floral arrangements? Light bulbs that are out?  Look over at the front desk area, if you see a sliding glass window that is full of signs and papers telling your patients what to do and what not to do…remove them immediately. It’s very unwelcoming!
  • Restroom – Most if not all of your patients that visit your restroom WILL determine the quality and safety of your care from that experience. (Isn’t that true of you when you’re at a restaurant or any public restroom? No one wants the gas station bathroom experience…not even when you’re at a gas station.) Your restroom should be clean, nicely decorated, and well-stocked with quality paper products and soap.
  • Front Desk Area – Clutter represents indecision. Make a decision to get rid of the clutter! (That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitors, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, and fast-food drink containers sitting out on the counters.) Purchase hot/cold beverage tumblers, preferably with your office logo on them for your team members to use at their workstations – this looks much nicer than your patients seeing soda bottles or coffee shop cups.

While you’re visiting the front office area, don’t forget about cleaning these areas too…

  • Current Protocols–  Hygiene Continuing Care, Incomplete Treatment Reports, Confirmation, A/R-Collections, Greetings, Patient Hand-off,  New Patient Welcomes, and Referral Thank you’s, etc.
  • Paper Communication Materials –Intake forms, Letterhead, HIPAA forms, Financial Policy & Postcards.
  • Job Responsibilities/Descriptions –Have every team member write down a detailed list of all of their job responsibilities. This is VERY helpful in determining more effective ways of doing things as well as finding out what is NOT being done.

Moving on to other areas of the practice…

  • Operatories – Sit in the treatment room chairs. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? Again, your patients don’t measure the quality of care, they measure the quality of their experience. Keep your patients loyal to your practice by making certain they consistently have great experiences.
  • Closets – Make an inventory checklist. Throw away any expired or outdated products, equipment, manuals, etc. While you’re at it, if there is anything that isn’t be used properly due to lack of education or training, go ahead and schedule a time for continuing education/training.
  •  Equipment/Technology – What needs repairs, upgrades or to be tossed? Computers, Software, Internet Speed & Access, Printers, Scanners, Copiers, Telephone Systems, TV’s, Postage machines, including…dare I say, typewriters?
  • Employee breakroom(area) / staff lounge – don’t forget about the employee break area. Is it clean and organized? Check out the refrigerator, microwave, cabinets, counters, and tables. There is no reason for this room to be messy and/or dirty. While you’re at it freshen up the room decor and stock the cabinets/refrigerator with snacks and beverages for your team.
  • The Team – Appearance – Wear clothes that reflect the excellent care you give your patients. Professional, clean, and wrinkle-free clothes.  Clean hair, nails & body).  Attitudes – Remove any toxic attitudes.   
  • Office Policies – Review and update employee benefits and expectations. If you don’t have an office manual and/or employee handbook please get one asap.

TIP: Make a cleaning schedule – including the who, what & when.  When will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked & cleaned? This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.  If the flooring needs to be vacuumed… vacuum it. If the glass on the windows/doors have fingerprints…clean them. If the restroom toilet and sink are dirty… clean them.  Make a promise as a team that if you see it (and you know you do) clean it.

Online Presence – What do your potential patients “see” when looking for a dentist in your area? Remember to spring clean your online presence too. Your website, Google My Business listing, and Social Media Pages. See: Dental Office First Impressions – Online Presence

SMELL

  • Get rid of the dreaded dental office smell. There are products out there that will eliminate that smell without aggravating patients with allergies. Bake chocolate chip cookies if necessary.  Be cautious when using scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils that they are mild and won’t aggravate those with allergies.

SOUND

  • Keep the noise down! Patients want to be put at ease; they don’t want to hear the latest office gossip or a TV that is too loud. Avoid using patients’ full names or complaining about patients when you can be heard from the reception room or treatment chair.
  • Music – Consider playing music in the reception and treatment rooms. Wireless headphones will allow patients’ to listen to music or the TV while in the chair.
  • Telephone Greetings/Messages – What do your patients and potential patients’ “hear” when calling the office? Be sure that what they hear is a reflection of your goals and vision. See How To Effectively Answer The Dental Office Telephone

TASTE

  • Beverage Station in the reception room. Complimentary coffee, tea, cold bottled water, juice, etc. See this Pinterest board for beverage station design ideas.
  • Snacks – Offer snacks such as fruit, granola bars, etc. This is especially nice for patients that may have been in for a lengthy appointment and need a little boost in energy.
  • Allow patients to rinse with mouthwash before and after the appointment.
  • Offer pre-pasted toothbrushes for patients that didn’t have time to or forgot to brush their teeth before their appointment.

TOUCH

  • Reception Room – Is it comfortable & welcoming? (Please keep COVID safety guidelines in mind before implementing some of these ideas/recommendations.)

Reading Material – Have a variety of magazine and books for patients to read.

Temperature – Keep the temperature in the reception room at a comfortable setting.

Lighting – Be sure that the sunlight from the windows isn’t blinding some of your patients during the day.

  • Treatment Rooms – Be sure that your patients are comfortable during their visit. Your treatment rooms should be exceptonally clean from top to bottom. Get rid of any clutter sitting out on the counters, floor, or shelves.

Massage Pads on Chairs

Blankets (If you have a patient that is always cold, pop the blanket in the dryer for them right before appt). Consider offering a weighted blanket during treatment to help reduce anxiety.

Distractions –  (Movies, Music, Digital Aquarium, Etc.)

Give Painless Injections…always.

Put your patients at ease by talking with them before you start looking in their mouth.

  • Free Stuff – Give away items imprinted with your office name, website, and phone number to each patient at their appointment. Such as; toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, calendars, pens, and lip balm.

Using your 5 senses, look closely at yourself, your team, the exterior, and interior of your building, all office systems, your lab, sterilization procedures, website & social media sites, marketing materials, marketing programs, and the patient experience.

Your goal should be to find ways to consistently exceed your patients’ expectations and remove anything that is hindering you from reaching that goal.

If you’re struggling to reach your goals each month or struggling to get your team on board with your vision for the practice maybe a coaching relationship is just what you need. Feel free to reach out to me to set up a complimentary 30-minute call to discuss how a customized coaching program will help you to reach/exceed your goals.

If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your email? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com 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

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Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Hello Friends,

So which is more important to your practice growth – obtaining new patients or retaining established patients?

The short answer, both are very important to successfully grow your dental practice.

Yes, new patients are very important, in fact, we should have a monthly new patient goal that we are working toward each month. Offices love new patients. I hear doctors and teams all the time saying “we need more new patients!” They believe that is the answer to all of their scheduling, production, and collection woes. But is that good enough to grow your practice, just ensuring that you’re getting fresh new patients each month?

Well, if you want to spend lots of money and ultimately work harder instead of smarter, then yes. But, I think it’s safe to say, that isn’t your intention or end goal.

And yet, that is exactly what I am seeing many doctors doing in their practice. They are investing time and money to bring in new patients but are not giving the same attention to retaining those new patients. Like they are just spinning their wheels and will eventually just burn out.

Oftentimes, I will see healthy new patient numbers each month, and yet, the office isn’t growing at all and their production is weak. Why is that? When I examine the data, I learn that far too many of their new patients are one-timers. They left the office without scheduling a future appointment. Why is this a bummer situation? Calling, emailing, texting, and snail mailing our patients to get them to reappoint can be a drag. It’s tough to reach patients once they leave. It’s possible of course, but it takes money, time, and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, we don’t even see those attempts being made to reach out to those unscheduled new patients. No one really knows what happens to the patient after their first visit. Or they make minimal attempts to reach out to the patients before giving up after a couple of months.

What does your new patient experience look like from the initial call, and first visit, to how you stay in touch with them after they leave?

Do you know what your new patient retention numbers look like?

So if the most expensive patients to acquire are your new patients, the easiest and best patients to fill your schedules are those who have come to you before.  BUT, you may be thinking… that takes time and money to reappoint established patients too. That’s true but you have a huge advantage when reaching out to established patients of record; It’s the power of pre-existing relationships.  (Oh, by the way, on average, it can cost up to six times more to gain a new patient than it does to retain an existing patient.)

What does retaining, reactivating, and reappointing established patients mean for you and the patient?

  • We are creatures of habit.  It’s easier to do something we are already doing than to do something different.
  • Established relationship. (They already know, like, and trust you. You just need to focus on strengthening that relationship)
  • No marketing costs – you’ve already paid the initial investment in getting the patient.

What are you doing to keep track of your established patients? What are you doing to ensure your established patients don’t slip through the cracks? Here are some ideas and tips for reactivating and reappointing your patients: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/12/31/dental-patient-reactivation-and-reappointment-tips-and-ideas/

Friends, Do you know how many of your active patients have a future appointment and how many do not? Do you know how many new patients you are welcoming into the practice AND how many patients you’re losing each month?  To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge and with absolutely no obligation to do anything further with me. 

What are you doing to keep your new and established patients loyal to your practice?

Loyal patients, isn’t that what we want? Patients that return year after year, accept your treatment recommendations and refer their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They are loyal to your dental practice because they like and trust you. You’ve earned the privilege to serve them not just for a moment but for life.

Is it really a privilege to serve them? Absolutely! Any office that struggles with getting and keeping new patients, struggles with getting patients to accept their treatment recommendations, struggles with the hygiene department’s continuing care reports and Swiss cheese-like appointment schedules, struggles to keep up with all the record transfer requests from patients for their new dental office, will learn (hopefully quickly) that having loyal patients in your practice is an earned privilege. The best part with loyal patients is the aforementioned struggles are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

Of course, this takes some work – implementing and following closely, effective office systems/protocols are critical to you successfully retaining your patients and reaching/exceeding your practice goals.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

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. Or send me your email address (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

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