Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Hello Dental Friends,

Holes in the dental hygiene schedule, why do we dread this so much? Because, unfilled appointments, canceled or missed appointments all kill profitability.

So what do you do? You probably are desperate for a quick fix to fill the holes in the schedule. Right? Well, I’ll help you out by sharing some ideas to fill the hygiene schedule as a quick fix. However, I must say a quick fix is typically only a temporary fix. If holes in the schedule are becoming the norm around your office you need something more than a quick fix to figure out why this is happening and work to prevent your hygiene schedule from looking like Swiss cheese every week. Please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com or comment here if this is becoming an issue with your schedule. I can help you prevent these holes from happening.

On to the ideas for a quick (temporary) fix:

Note: If at all possible, try to avoid moving patients appointments around to fill in gaps. It can aggravate the patient. It’s always best to keep their appointment as scheduled.

Also, this isn’t the time to point fingers or start blaming someone for having holes in the schedule. Work together, as a team to fill these holes. Ideally, the hygienist should be involved in making these calls to patients, etc. Patients are more likely to respond when it’s their beloved hygienist calling them. Besides, the hygienist(s) are obviously the one(s) with the extra time. So the ideas I share are directed to the hygiene department with the goal of them becoming productive, happy and profitable.  (Again, you will want to at a later date, work together as a team to determine why this is happening and create solutions to repair the breakdown.)

how to fill holes in dental hygiene schedule

  • Call List – Do you have any patients that would like to come in at an earlier date for their hygiene appointment?  Call them and let them know you have a rare unexpected change in the schedule and can see them sooner.
  • Cancellation/Missed Appt List – Do you have any patients on these lists that can be called? (BTW: If you’re not looking at this report each week, you should be!)
  • Family Members – Check for other family members due for their hygiene appt. Is there someone coming in with hygiene that has family members that are also due in hygiene that may want to take one of those open slots.
  • Doctors Schedule – Check the doctors schedule for any patients that may be due for their hygiene appt and are coming in around the time that needs to be filled in hygiene. Invite them to take care of their hygiene appointment at the same time.
  • Incentives – Offer an Incentive for accepting a last-minute appointment. For example, complimentary fluoride, teeth whitening, small gift or gift card. Use your social media platforms to advertise this awesome today (or tomorrow) only opportunity.
  • Continuing care/past-due List – Get on the phone and with an enthusiastic and positive tone make some calls to your patients that are due or past due in hygiene. (Vary the times you make these calls. You’ll reach more patients this way.)
  • Social Media – Engage with your patients, potential patients and local businesses on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. For ideas see: Social Media Content
  • Spend more time with your patients. If you have open time that couldn’t be filled, take this opportunity to discuss better home care tools, update their information and medical history, do some perio charting, talk about cosmetic services, any recent continuing education courses, place sealants, apply desensitizing agent to any sensitive teeth, take impressions for whitening trays, review incomplete treatment with them, ask them if they’ll kindly leave a review on Google, Facebook or Yelp, mention how dental gift certificates make great gifts, etc.

Just a reminder before making any calls, it would be a good idea to check your patient’s account balance, insurance benefits and review their clinical notes. Also, be sure to document all calls, conversations, and correspondence made to or with the patient.

If the holes in your schedule are a few weeks out you can try these ideas:

  • Special Offers – Focus on a particular service or group of patients to target with special offers or prizes on a day that has a lot of holes. For example, Mouthguards  / Teeth Whitening / Sealants / Desensitizing Agents / Back to School / Kids day / Senior day.
  • Fun Themed days – Superhero, Luau, BBQ, Disney, Sports, etc.

Despite your best efforts to fill the schedule, you may still end up with some holes that just couldn’t be filled. That’s alright, there is plenty to do to remain productive during this time.

During downtime:

  • Get on the phone and make continuing care calls.
  • Pull Incomplete hygiene treatment report and call, send postcards, emails, texts or letters to your patients.
  • Make calls, send emails, postcards, letters, etc.to your patients that are due, past due or almost due in hygiene.
  • Thoroughly clean and stock treatment rooms.
  • Get out and visit with area businesses. Introduce the office, take them a small gift and a “let’s get acquainted” special offer.
  • Discuss some marketing ideas for the office.
  • Continuing Education. Watch a webinar or video, read a manual, etc. Improve your clinical skills, knowledge of new technology and procedures, telephone scripting, office protocols, etc.
  • Take a tour of the office and look for any areas that could use some improvements. See Clean your Dental Office for ideas.

I hope these ideas provide you with a quick fix to fill those holes in your schedule. Let me know how they work for you. 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 or FACEBOOK

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, PLEASE take a second and subscribe today. 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

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Cleaning Checklist for your Dental Office

Cleaning Checklist for your Dental Office

Hello Friends,

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 need some spring 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 you give you ideas of where and what to clean.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Marketing and Practice Management Ideas

Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, and Taste.

SIGHT

What do your patients and potential patients see?

Areas to “see” include;

  1. Office Exterior
  • Signage
  • Windows
  • Landscape/Weeds
  • Garbage/Debris
  • Safety Concerns/Handicap accessibility
  1. 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! In fact, remove the glass. 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 desk 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.
  • 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 time for continuing education/training.
  •  Equipment/Technology – What needs repairs, upgrades or to be tossed? Computers, Software, Internet Speed & Access, Printers, Copiers, Telephone Systems, TV’s, Postage machines, including…dare I say, typewriters?
  • 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. A Happy Dental Team is not just a dream!

TIP: Make a cleaning schedule – who, what & when will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked. This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.

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.

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?

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.

  • Treatment Rooms – Be sure that your patients are comfortable during their visit.

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).

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, 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!)

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

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

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

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Dental Employee Conflict Resolution Tips and Ideas

Dental Employee Conflict Resolution Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

The month of April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month – 

This is a topic that should be discussed at a team meeting. Why? Conflict Happens! Make a plan and an agreement as to how all office conflict will be addressed and resolved.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Team Conflict Resolution

Steps to deal with office conflict:

  1. Calm down and talk with the other person. (Don’t go to anyone else to discuss the conflict.)
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. Focus on behaviors and events.
  3. Listen carefully – listen to understand and not to be understood.
  4. Brainstorm solutions with a focus on the future, what it will take to move forward.
  5. Celebrate your Success.

For additional ideas visit Forbes.com for 5- Keys to Dealing with Workplace Conflict. 

To manage conflict, Excellent Communication is Essential.

Communication  – 

  • Job descriptions and expectations must be clearly defined. This is a great time to ask every team member to write a list of their job description and responsibilities. Have them indicate next to each task how often it is done (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, varies, etc.). This will help you determine if and when and by whom these tasks are being accomplished. You might find some important tasks are not being done at all or not often enough and so on.  

  • Team Meetings/Morning Huddles are essential for a happy and smooth work day. Visit HERE for some tips on how you can have a successful morning huddle.

  • Address quickly any needed discipline or correction, don’t wait for a staff meeting to address these problems. Instead, meet one on one with the offender.

  • Avoid office negativity, it’s toxic and will infect your team – Rather, focus on and share positive experiences.
  • Your team must know the why, what, and how. They may know the what and the how but not the why, often times, this is why employees are there just to collect a paycheck. Talk about what you believe and attract those who believe what you believe. People buy the why not the what. 
  • Positive Gossip Only! Entire team agrees to stop gossip. Refuse to listen to it. Rather, encourage the person to go directly to the other person they have an issue or complaint about. Unless of course, they can let it go and move on

In addition to communication, Proper Training is Imperative–  Don’t hold back in this area! Invest in your team. Thoroughly train any new employees on your practice goals, systems, software, telephone skills, dental procedures, protocols, etc.  However, training isn’t just for your new employees, everyone in the office needs regular training. This leads me to the next point…

Continuing Education – Continuing education, not just for the providers but for the entire team is a wonderful way to ensure practice growth. Not to mention, it’s a great team-building experience, one that will give you a happier and motivated team. Think about this, your administrative team is the first and last impression made on each and every one of your patients. This includes potential patients that call your office. Certainly, you want to have the very best training and education for not only your clinical team but your administrative team too. You can do this with in-office training, webinars, lunch and learns, and seminars/classes outside of the office.

For example, have you heard about The Best Seminar Ever? Better known as TBSE? For real, I attended TBSE last year and it absolutely was the best seminar I have ever been to. If you’re ready to boost your team and take your practice to the next level, please check it out here: TBSE -The Best Seminar Ever

It is my wish that these ideas and tips will help you and your team experience greater happiness at work without unnecessary negative conflict. If you have any questions or concerns about what you’ve read today or would like to set up a complimentary telephone consultation to learn how I can help your office grow and succeed, please contact me 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

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 and I will send you an invite 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 FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

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