Dental Office Marketing, Leadership, and Management Tips and Ideas for September 2020

Dental Office Marketing, Leadership, and Management Tips and Ideas for September 2020

Hello Friends,

“What does the month of September typically look like in your office? Do you struggle to fill the schedule? Or do you find that it is a productive month for you?”

Those are the questions I asked you all last year because I always encourage my dental office teams to be proactive by taking steps to create/design what they want their schedules, production, collections, and patient growth to look like for each month. Why wait until the end of the month to say “wow, that month was awful” or “wow, that was a great month”… and wonder, how did we do that?

Little did we know that the year 2020 would bring so many changes to our world and negatively impact the schedules in ways we could have never anticipated.

Now, here in August 2020, many offices are facing the potential for the weakest fall schedules they have ever experienced. Your schedules may actually look pretty good for September as you have been reappointing patients that had appts during the shut down. It may even look better than ever. So if you’re busy right now does it even matter what the schedule looks like for October and November? After all, there is still plenty of time to fill all of those holes, right?

For numerous reasons, it matters greatly what your schedules look like for this fall and as for having plenty of time to fill those holes, well, we know what happens with time… it goes by very quickly, especially when we’re busy!

Typically, a full hygiene schedule today means a full doctor schedule tomorrow – why is that? Approximately, 75% of restorative needs are discovered during hygiene patient visits.

Unfortunately, when there is that open chair time with no production to collect on, your overhead expenses continue without letup.

This isn’t just about money though – our focus should always be on helping our patients smile healthier and happier. When Your Patients Are Healthy – The Practice Is Healthy. To help make our patients healthier we need them to schedule appointments.

The ideas that I am sharing with you for September will help you reactivate and reappoint patients, attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, as well as exceed your current patients’ expectations.

Dental Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for September 2020

dental coach betty hayden fall dental schedule tips

Leadership Tips & Ideas:

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” -John Maxwell

Empower your team to focus on the possibilities of what a healthy fall schedule can look like and how that is a benefit not only to your patients but to your employees as well. Think beyond what you’ve always done to get by or your current perceived limitations– get creative with your methods for staying in touch with your current patients, reaching out to inactive patients, welcoming more new patients, and learning new things as a team to keep things fresh and motivating.

Employee Appreciation Idea – September is Self-Care Awareness Month – Self-Care has never been more important than it is right now! Give a small gift of appreciation to your employees that encourages self-care.  It could be a gift card or actual gifts. (ie: spa products, chocolate, books, essential oils, teas, waterbottle, etc.)

Practice Management Tips & Ideas:

Unscheduled Treatment Plans & Hygiene Continuing Care – Reach out to all your patients with incomplete treatment plans or that are past-due in hygiene. Encourage them to schedule their appointment during the months of September, October, and November.

Insurance Renewal Letters – Send out your “Use it or Lose it reminder texts, emails, and letters.

Betty Hayden Dental Coach End of Year Insurance Renewal Reminders

Friends, do you know what your schedules look like for the fall months? 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. 

Marketing Tips and Ideas: (Exceed Expectations for your current patients and the potential new patients that you engage with in your community.):

Theme: Fall in Love with a Beautiful & Healthy Smile

Focus: Preventive & Cosmetic Services

Giving-Away – Drawing for a Fall Themed Gift Basket / Patients can enter the drawing by leaving a review on Google and/or Facebook, referring their friends & family, and for coming in for their appts in September.

dental coach betty hayden fall marketing ideas for September

Local Business Marketing Opportunity: 

September is National Honey Month: Give away little jars of honey with a label or tag that says, for example, “Thank you for Bee-ing an Awesome Neighbor!” or “Our Nurses are Sweet as Honey!”  OR  to your referring offices you can say” Your Referrals Are Sweet As Honey – Thank you!”

Patient & Community Educational Idea:

September 1st – 7th is National Nutrition Week – You could do a quick Facebook live video and/or post content to your social media platforms all about Nutritious School Snack Options. Perhaps, you could even create a cute, simple hand-out for your patients with a list of nutritious snack options and the surprisingly unhealthy snacks.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of September:

World Alzheimer’s Month

National Fruit & Veggie Month

Sweet Corn Week: 3rd – 7th 

Random Acts of Kindness Day: 1st

dental coach betty hayden kindness

Be Late for Something Day: 5th / But not your dental appointment! Here is why it’s so important for you to arrive on time for your appointments…

Mouthguard Day: 7th

Dental Office Tips and Ideas Sports Safety

Grandparents Day: 13th

World Heart Day: 29th

Do you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month?  I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave me a review/recommendation here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK . Thank you! 🙂

Wishing you all the healthiest and happiest September!

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.

Are you receiving my complimentary Dental Practice Management and Marketing Ideas via your email 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 – Dental Coach

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

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 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

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