Dental Office Tips and Suggestions Regarding COVID-19

Dental Office Tips and Suggestions Regarding COVID-19

Hello Friends,

With the Government guidelines and regulations regarding COVID-19 rapidly changing, it has been especially challenging for dental practices to know what the best way is to care for and protect their employees and their patients.

Earlier today I shared some suggestions, tips, and advice regarding COVID-19 with my coaching clients via emails and calls but I thought you all might find the information helpful as well so I am sharing here too.

While we don’t want to contribute to the panic that is happening all around us or create more fear in our patients’ lives – we need to be able to effectively communicate how we are following recommendations to keep employees and patients safe and healthy.

My biggest recommendation to you is to take a deep breath, remain calm and think before you act and make any decisions for yourself, the office, your employees, and your patients.

Some offices are choosing to remain open while others are closed due to State-mandated closures and/or strongly recommended suspension of nonessential and nonurgent dental care for 14 days.

Coronavirus Dental Practice Tips and Ideas from Dental Coach Betty Hayden

UPDATE: I know that many dental offices have made the decision to close the practice to all non-emergency appointments. Several have reached out to me asking what they can do to still be productive during this time to help grow and improve the practice. If you would like a list of recommended and suggested tasks and things to do during this “downtime” – please send me an email at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will get that out to you. 

Here are some questions, tips, and suggestions to consider whether you remain open, are at a reduced schedule, or are closed…

If you Remain Open:

  • Who can work and when?
  • Will you continue seeing hygiene patients?
  • Will you reduce the hours or days worked?
  • Will you
  • What will you say to patients calling with concerns?
  • How will you care for emergencies?
  • What is a true dental emergency?
  • What happens if an employee or the doctor gets sick?
  • What happens if a patient comes in for their appt and you suspect they are sick?
  • Do you have the supplies necessary to care for your scheduled patients?
  • Be sure that you hold times in the schedule to accommodate reschedules, emergencies, and NP’s
  • What happens if you need to close the office? Do you have a written protocol?
  • Do your automated electronic appointment reminders need to be adjusted?

If you Close the Office:

  • Who is responsible for rescheduling appointments? And what is the scripting?
  • Where will you reappoint the patients?
  • Do you need to pause your automated electronic appointment reminder system?
  • When will you reopen?
  • Who will answer the office telephone calls?
  • Do some employees still work in the office?  Who and what are their tasks?
  • Who will collect the mail? Who will post checks?
  • How will your employees be paid?

 Patient Communication

Write down what to say regarding:

  • Rescheduling Patients Appts
  • Patients Calling to Cancel/Reschedule
  • Patient Safety Protocols
  • Patients in the office with symptoms of illness
  • Patients that want to delay treatment
  • Office Closures
  • What is a dental emergency?
  • Preventive dental health home-care tips

The biggest thing to remember when communicating with your patients – is to reassure them that their safety and the safety of your employees is of utmost importance. By now, they all know what is going on and it’s no secret that big adjustments are being made all over. If any appointments need to be rescheduled, assure them you are making arrangements so they won’t have to wait too long for an appointment. Be real with them but don’t cause any unnecessary panic. It’s best to keep messages simple and helpful.

In-Office Appointments

  • Patients should not come to the office if they have any cold/flu-like symptoms.
  • Request that patients call or text from their car when they’ve arrived for their appt.
  • Advise patients to not bring in anyone else with them to their appt.
  • Remove from the reception room any difficult to clean items (books, magazines, toys, beverage station items, etc).
  • To minimize exposure, avoid having patients stop at the front desk at appointment arrival and dismissal. Rather, do all that you can from the treatment room (ie: Scheduling and Collecting Payments).
  • Make the most of each appointment – Continue to provide the very best experiences for every patient. If you can care for any diagnosed treatment needs while they’re there instead of reappointing them that would be great.

Stay in Touch

  • Patients with scheduled appts – reach out to your scheduled patients with what you’re doing to help keep them safe at their appt.
  • Older Patients – Check in on your elderly patients to see how they are doing.
  • Appointments – Keep careful track of all cancelations, broken appts, and reschedules!  We don’t want any patients slipping through any cracks
  • Social Media – Use your social media platforms to stay in touch with your patients as well as with potential patients. SEE Dental Practice Social Media Platform Tips and Content Ideas.
  • Create short Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram videos with at-home preventive dental care tips and a video or post(s) to answer the questions: what is a dental emergency?/ what to do in a dental emergency?

  During Downtime or Office Closures

  • External and Internal Marketing Plans (critically important for the growth of the practice especially in times like this) – Create your plan to exceed current patients’ expectations, welcome more new patients, retain and reactivate patients, as well as build relationships within the community.  SEE Dentist Office Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for April 2020
  • Office Cleaning and Organization – SEE Is Your Dental Office Pastdue For A Cleaning?
  • Continuing Education and Training – spend some time together as a team to watch dental education webinars and on-line courses, team role-play, and create and refine new office protocols, and systems.

Employee Illness Policy

Employees experiencing influenza-like-illness (ILI) (fever with either cough or sore throat, muscle aches) should not report to work.

What is your policy for employees who become ill?

Who will cover for that employee and how?

Doctor Illness

If the doctor is diagnosed with COVID-19 (or any illness suspected of possibly being COVID-19) what is your plan for patient care?

Temp Employment Agencies

Even if you don’t have a need right now to use a temp agency you may need one soon. Who do you call? How do they work? It would be wise for you to create detailed job descriptions and protocols for each department should you need to bring someone in temporarily.

Supplies

Do you have the necessary supplies to care for your scheduled patients? If not, are you able to obtain the supplies in time?

Remote Computer Access

Should the office be closed, are you prepared to access your PMS at home? Who can access this information?

Employees working from home

What is expected of the team over the period working from home?

Which jobs and tasks are essential, and which can wait?

Overhead

Now is a good time to review all overhead expenses.  Evaluate all categories for any possible reduction opportunities.   If you don’t know your overhead percentages or recommended benchmarks I strongly encourage you to learn this information.

Review your business interruption coverage

Do you know the details of your insurance policies? Immediately speak to your insurance expert and get detailed information about your business interruption coverage.  What is covered?  What is the amount of coverage?  What is the deductible?  When does it kick in?  A 14-day interruption for self-quarantine might not be covered.

I understand that this most likely doesn’t answer all of your questions and concerns but I hope it does help some.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address (to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Sending you wishes for health, safety, and much happiness!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

UPDATE: I know that many dental offices have made the decision to close the practice to all non-emergency appointments. Several have reached out to me asking what they can do to still be productive during this time to help grow and improve the practice. If you would like a list of recommended and suggested tasks and things to do during this “downtime” – please send me an email at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will get that out to you. 

Dental Coach Betty Hayden Tips and Ideas to improve dentist office

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Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Have you scheduled for some R & R in the new year? No, I’m not talking about rest & relaxation (although, you definitely want to schedule for that 😉 ) – the R & R that I am referring to is your patient reactivation and reappointments.  Why is this so important?

Because when your patients are healthy – your practice is healthy.  For your patients to smile healthy they need to schedule the treatment you’ve diagnosed and to come in regularly for their hygiene continuing care appointments.

Last year did you struggle with any of the following?

  • Low treatment plan acceptance from your patients.
  • Not knowing your active and inactive patient numbers.
  • Hygiene continuing care reports were a nightmare.
  • Too many holes in the schedule.
  • Poor treatment presentation skills.
  • Too many patients left the practice and you don’t know why.
  • Not enough time to keep your office social media sites current.

Don’t struggle another minute, plan now to make 2020 your BEST year yet! Get whatever help and training you need and want to make the necessary improvements. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.

Today, I’d like to help you tackle one of those struggles… your inactive and unscheduled patients. Let’s reactivate all of your patients that haven’t been in for one year or longer and schedule your active patients that are currently unscheduled.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Patient Reactivation Letter and ideas

The start of the new year is a great time to make a plan for reactivating and reappointing your patients…. (attack that File Cabinet…or computer patient database!)

Ideally, daily, weekly and monthly efforts should be made to develop and maintain relationships with your patients in order to keep them active.

The best way to keep your patients active is to be sure to reappoint them for their next hygiene visit when they are there at the office. Also, help more of your patients say yes to your treatment recommendations and have them reserve their appointment at the time of treatment presentation. You should be tracking both your pre-appointments and your re-appointments.  This is important if you want to reduce patient attrition and reduce the amount of money and time spent trying to reach these patients later on down the road.

Quick Side Note: Friends, if you do not know what your office numbers look like, or how many of your active patients are unscheduled, and so many other important key practice indicators; please take note of what those numbers look like. That is the only way to successfully grow your practice. You need to know where you’re at currently to know what your potential for growth is. 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.

Now, back to Reappointments and Reactivations…

Control the Schedule – Same-day cancelations attempts and broken appointments must be handled effectively. The goal is to greatly reduce the number of same-day schedule changes and for the appointments that you can’t save be sure to reschedule them while the patient is still on the phone. (Unless of course, they’re a habitual offender!) See more tips here: How to Reduce Same Day Dental Appointment Cancellations and No Shows

However, if for whatever reason your inactive patient database is growing (you are tracking this, right?) – take steps now to welcome those patients back into the schedule. You can start by reaching out to them with a We Miss You reactivation letter and email.

If you would like a sample letter that you can customize to your practice for your patients – feel free to request one at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Some suggestions for your letter are:

  • Include a deadline to respond.
  • Use a handwritten colored envelope (Grab their attention!).
  • Have two offers: One for your patient and one for a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor.
  • Make a call to the patients about a week after mailing the letter.
  • Be sure to document all attempts at contacting the patient and the response.
  • Include Social Media & Office Contact Information.

I hope that these tips and ideas are helpful to you.

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.    Thank you very much!!

Friends, schedule some R & R and make it a GREAT Year!

Are you receiving my free Dental Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

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Ten Simple Ways To Increase Teeth Whitening Acceptance In Your Dental Practice

Ten Simple Ways To Increase Teeth Whitening Acceptance In Your Dental Practice

Hello Friends,

Many of your patients are thinking about all the pictures that they will be smiling for at their end of the year office parties and family dinners. Help them get their smiles camera-ready with teeth whitening. Beautiful bright, white teeth for Winter.

Ever wonder why it is that some offices have a lot of success with teeth whitening sales and other offices not so much?

Here’s why… No whitening system sales or whitening goals will ever be reached or work if the entire team isn’t on board with it and consistently offering it. How do you do that?

Here are 10 Tips to Help Make Teeth Whitening a Successful Service in your Office…

how to increase teeth whitening acceptance in your dental office betty hayden

Step One: 

White Teeth for Doctor(s) and Team Members –
Complimentary whitening trays for each & every team member. They need to have a beautiful white smile and an experience to share with your patients.

Step Two:

GOALS –
Set a monthly whitening goal! Talk about daily goals at morning meetings. Consider offering a team bonus or incentive for every whitening case completed.

Step Three: 

In-office Messaging
In addition to being ENTHUSIASTIC when talking to your patients about the teeth whitening services you offer…Team members can wear buttons and/or have a nice 5×7 framed sign in each treatment room at the patient’s eye level offering teeth whitening…

Get a Whiter, Brighter Smile with
Teeth Whitening!

Whiten yellow teeth & virtually eliminate
tobacco, coffee & tea stains!
Ask us how

Step Four:

Scheduling –
When scheduling hygiene appointments over the phone include these powerful words:
Would you also like to whiten your teeth at this appointment?

Step Five:

Take a Shade –
Let your patient know that you’re going to start the appointment by taking a shade match of their current tooth color for your records. You can show them where they are on the shade guide. This very often leads your patient to ask you about teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment options.

Step Six:

Listen to your patients –
What are they telling you about upcoming events in their lives? Wedding? Job Hunting? Recently Single? Holiday time? Special Events? Vacation? Class Reunion?
What a great time to ask if they would like to have a bright, white smile for their special event, job interview, etc.

Step Seven:

External Marketing –
Include offers for teeth whitening and patient teeth whitening success stories with your… Newsletters, Postcards, Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) Website, and Blog Posts.
Step Eight:

Reviews/Testimonials

Videos – Video testimonials are a powerful marketing tool for your social media platforms.

Photos – Take excellent before and after teeth whitening pictures to share on your office social media pages.  Display before and after photos in your office so your patients that may be interested in teeth whitening can see real-life examples.

Online Reviews/Recommendations – Ask your patients to share their teeth whitening experiences on Google and Facebook.

Step Nine:

Use only the BEST teeth whitening products and techniques!
Quality matters. As does comfort! Make this appointment as comfortable & sensitivity-free as possible for your patients.
Step Ten:
Buy Sunglasses –
Because your office is going to be filled with such bright smiles, you’ll need to wear shades!

If that’s not enough for you and because I love you all so much here are

Five Bonus Tips!…

#1 – Offer a fun promotion in the community to local businesses. A drawing to win Free Take-home Teeth whitening trays to one or more people. Offer this at local salons, restaurants and schools.

#2 – BOGO Special Offer – Buy One, Get One 50% Off Teeth Whitening. This special offer increases your opportunity to bring in new patients.

#3 – Make it convenient for your patients to say yes. Your patients are busy, assure them that this appointment will be quick. It’s helpful for all your team members to be cross-trained to take impressions and make trays.

#4 – Teeth Whitening makes a Great Gift! Make gift giving easy for your patients by suggesting that teeth whitening makes the perfect gift! Have Gift Certificates ready for purchase. See Dental Gift Certificates

#5 – Tracking – Be sure to set up computer reminders to call, text, email or send a postcard to your patients that have purchased teeth whitening trays around the time when they will be due for a refill.

Did you enjoy these tips and ideas?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please take a second to leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

I’m confident that if each step is followed closely and consistently you will see success with your teeth whitening goals.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Dental Coach

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

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