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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Dentist Office Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for April 2020

Dentist Office Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for April 2020

Hello, Friends ~

How was your first quarter? I hope you reached (or exceeded) your office production, collection, and NP goals.

Now it’s time to welcome Spring and your second quarter. Be sure to review your plans to make this second quarter your best one yet!  Ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page.

Here are some practice management, leadership, and marketing tips and ideas to help you grow your dental practice, exceed your current and potential patient’s expectations, and to have more fun as a team during the month of April! (I am certain that less-stress and more fun at the office is something that we all want.)

Dental Coaching Spring Tips and Ideas

Leadership Tips and Ideas:

“A team that plays and learns together stays together.”

National Fun at Work Day: 1st   – Have a silly theme for this day. (For example, Crazy hair, silly socks, decades day, etc. POST pictures on Facebook and Instagram)

National Dental Hygienists Week: 4th – 10th  (note: this is for my Canadian friends)

Celebrate your hard-working front office team:

Administrative Professionals Week: 20-24th  /Admin Professionals Day: 22nd

Happy administrative professionals day dental office betty hayden consulting

See Employee Appreciation Ideas Here: Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas Pinterest Board

Practice Management Ideas:

Hygiene Continuing Care Reminders –  Reach out your past-due hygiene patients.

April 18th -24th  is Cleaning For A Reason Week.  Turn this into a “time(past-time)  for your spring dental health cleaning, examination, and oral cancer screening appointment”  reminder.

spring hygiene continuing care reminder dentist office

Oh, this also may be the perfect time for you to spring clean the office! See: Is Your Dental Office Past-due For A Cleaning?

Educational Opportunities:

Oral Cancer Awareness Month ~ An excellent opportunity for you to raise oral cancer awareness and the need for early detection in order to save lives.  See Dental Office Tips and Ideas for Oral Cancer Awareness Month April 2020

Stress Awareness Month ~ Share with your patients in-office and via your social media platforms how stress can negatively impact their dental health. Provide tips for reducing and dealing with stress. As well as how a bite-guard may be helpful.

Marketing Tips and Ideas:

April is National Garden Month 

Here are some ideas for you: (I have shared this one before, but it is so effective that I want to share it again.)

Theme: Spring Flowers

Focus: Spring into a Healthy & Beautiful Smile

Fun Give Away: Flower Seed Packets w/a label and business card attached.

Flower seed packets can be purchased at most Dollar Stores for around .20 a packet. Great deal!

The labels you attach to the flower seed packets can say:

Your referrals help grow our practice, Thank you! “

Our Office Blooms Because of you! “

Please enjoy these flowers growing as much as we enjoy your referrals growing our practice.

your referrals help grow our dental practice

Your patients will love these little flower seed packets give-aways! Make certain the office name & info is on the packet.

For awesome ideas for flower seed packaging/presentation check out my Pinterest board HERE.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of April –

 Vitamin C Day: 4th

National Siblings Day: 10th

Banana Day: 15th

National Jelly Bean Day: 22nd

National Superhero Day: 28th

Wishing you all a productive, stress-free, and very happy April! Remember, that I love hearing all about your plans and ideas to have a great month so please share them with me.

If you appreciated these complimentary ideas I  would love for you to please leave me a review/recommendation here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.  Thank you!!

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.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

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

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Dental Office On Hold Telephone Messaging Tips and Ideas

Dental Office On Hold Telephone Messaging Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Have you ever called a local business and were immediately put on hold only to hear every few seconds this crazy annoying beeping sound or there is dead silence? You can’t tell if you’ve been disconnected or are still on hold. Or what about the business that has a radio station playing as their on-hold message, except it’s all static or playing some lame music? 

What kind of message do you think this sends to your callers? What about the anxious and nervous potential new patients calling? Is your on-hold messaging welcoming or repelling?

Now, I believe the best customer service is to never put the caller on hold. However, we all know that from time to time it happens. Emphasis on from time to time.  And when it does happen it should only be a brief hold. If you can’t get right back to that caller – please take down their name and number and promise to call them back. Make good on that promise. (For how to effectively answer the dental office telephone SEE  How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone)

dental office on hold messaging ideas betty hayden

A while back I set one of my clients up with a message on hold service, created beautiful, short custom marketing messages for them and on the first day of using it, a caller said: “Oh, I didn’t know you do teeth whitening.” See how that works?

Having a quality message on hold system set up is a good thing. Use this service as an opportunity to educate and inform your callers while they are on hold.  Help them to see why they’ve made a good choice calling your practice. 

Every dental office has information, news, events, or dental health facts and services that should be highlighted while a caller is put on hold.

In addition to playing music, what are some things you can talk about?

  • Special Office Events
  • Information about your In-Office Savings Plan
  • Dental Services & Products
  • Dental Health Tips
  • Office Hours
  • Social Media Site Information (Invite callers to “like” / “follow” the office.)
  • Financial Expectations
  • Website Address

A message on hold system allows you to advertise to your patients and keep them informed on the latest and greatest office happenings. It will also distract them from the fact that they’ve been put on hold.

Please make sure that you keep your content fresh! One of my doctors’ offices has had the same on-hold message for years!! I think I have it memorized. Blah!

You can certainly create your own on hold-messaging but if you prefer to use a third-party source there are many on-hold messaging services out there.

My suggestions for what to look for in a message on hold service/system are: 

  • Quality Sound & Voice Talent.
  • Inexpensive – You don’t need to spend a lot of money!
  • Helpful – Exceptional Customer Service.
  • Allows you to change your message and music throughout the year.
  • Doesn’t lock you into a long contract.
  • Will help you create effective messages.
  • Makes the setup and process easy on you and your team!
  • Allows you to listen to sample messages before buying.

Have you ever called your office and were put on hold? (If not, please call your office and be placed on hold) – I know your patients and potential patients have, and what is it that they’re hearing or not hearing? Make the time they’re on hold count!

Those are my thoughts on on-hold messaging.

Real quick before I go, since we’re talking about putting callers on hold, might I add, never, ever answer the phone with “hold please” or “can you hold?”! Take a quick second, find out who they are and what they need. People prefer not being put on hold.  If you are habitually needing to put callers on hold, you need more people answering the phones.

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here 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 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 – Dental Coach

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

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