To help you enjoy a fun and productive summer with you and your team I have some dental marketing (growth) tips and ideas for you for the month of August.
With some planning, enthusiasm, and implementation you have the chance to really set yourselves apart from the other offices in the community, welcome more new patients, exceed your current patients’ expectations have less stress, and more fun as a team. We all need more of that.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dental Office Marketing (Growth) Tips and Ideas for the month of August…
For many parents with school-aged children, August and September can be hectic months preparing for and getting back into the school routine. Here are some ideas to help make the back-to-school season fun (& healthy) for the community and profitable for your dental office.
Theme: Back-to-School with Healthy Smiles!
Target Audience: Teachers and school-aged children.
Focus: Preventive Dental Services.
What: Education, Community Involvement, and Special Offers
Send a press release to local papers and news stations with “Children’s Dental Health Tips for Parents,” such as healthy snack and beverage ideas, when to visit the dentist, what-to-do in a dental emergency, brushing and flossing tips, mouthguard information, sealants information, and more.
Facebook (live) videos sharing the aforementioned tips and ideas.
Share social media and blog posts with dental health tips for children.
Promote special offers just for teachers and students during August.
August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month – Send out a press release and promote social media posts that focus on kindergarten-aged children.
Send treats/snacks to your local schools along with some imprinted office items such as toothbrushes.
Donations – Use your office as a community donation site for school supplies or new & gently used books to be donated to local children and/or schools in need. Advertise in office, on your social media sites, to local businesses and the news media via press release that your office is collecting donations for school supplies or books.
This is a GREAT way to bring in potential new patients… when folks come into the office to drop off their donations, be sure to warmly welcome them, give a brief tour of the office, hand out small thank you gifts that are imprinted with your office information or have a raffle they can enter to win a prize.
Or you could do this…
August is “Happiness Happens Month” – Theme: Happiness & Healthy Smiles
Throughout the years, studies have shown that there is a connection between happiness and dental health. That means maintaining your dental health will lead you and your children, friends, and family, to a healthier, happier life down the line.
Patient Appreciation Gift Idea
S’Mores Day is Aug. 10th – Give away little s’more ingredient kits with a note that says: We Need S’More Patients Like You. Thank you for your Referrals!
Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of August
Happiness Happens Month Sister’s Day: 1 (First Sunday) National Fresh Breath (Halitosis) Day: 6 Book Lovers Day: 9 Kiss and Make Up Day: 25 Just Because Day: 27 More Herbs, Less Salt Day: 29
Hope you enjoy these ideas and are able to use some of them to help make the month of August a fantastic one for you, your team, your patients, and the community.
It truly brightens my day to hear from you! If you appreciated these complimentary ideas I would love for you to please take a minute to 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 email@example.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.
Baseball season opens today! (Yes, I am a little late to the game with this post 😉 )
Whether or not you’re a fan of baseball, celebrating Opening Day and the Baseball season with your team and patients is a great way to have more fun and exceed expectations.
Here are a few ideas for you that you can use today for Opening day or at any other time during the baseball season…
Wear your favorite baseball team gear.
Encourage your patients to dress up too.
Decorate the office.
Take lots of pictures to share on your social media pages.
Special Offer on Sport Mouthguards for the Month of April
Share sports-related dental health tips on your social media pages.
Sponsor a local baseball team.
Have a Raffle to win baseball tickets or a baseball themed Gift Basket in exchange for Facebook likes, check-ins, and Reviews/Recommendations on Google and Facebook
Hand out some patient appreciation gifts such as imprinted lip balm, popcorn, peanuts, or for additional gift ideas check out my Pinterest board HERE.
Remember that it is important to find and create more ways to have fun at work!
Doctors, if you’re struggling to reach your practice goals and not enjoying dentistry like you used to – feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation 30-minute telephone consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.
If you enjoy the 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. Thank you!!
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!
Are same-day broken appointments stressing you out? You leave the office at the end of the day with a beautiful, full schedule for the next day and arrive back at the office in the morning only to have the schedules fall apart at the last minute. Ugh! If this ever happens to you I know how frustrating that can be. Not to mention, it kills production.
In this article, you will find several ways to greatly reduce last-minute schedule changes. I am certain that if you follow each step, you will stress less, make more money, help more patients, and have more fun. Please print it out and share it with everyone on the team. We need everyone in the office following the same protocol/system for you to be successful. Consider reviewing this at your next huddle or team meeting.
Tips and Ideas to reduce last-minute cancellations and no shows:
Consistently Be Great! – Do everything to ensure that each and every patient has a great experience during their appointments. Give them something good to talk about and a reason to keep coming back!
STOP moving appts around! A sure-fire way to aggravate patients, cause them to disrespect your time and the schedule, or for them to think you don’t know what you’re doing is by moving their appointment times. Unless, of course, they have asked to be on your Priority List. Calling patients to come in early, come in late, or come in on a different day is annoying and I promise you it is hurting your schedule and production. I can’t emphasize this enough – Respect their time and they’ll respect yours.
Appointment Reminder Systems – Ensure that you have an effective interval set up to remind patients of their appointments and that your message is helping not hurting the practice. For example, Don’t say “Calling to confirm” – it should be “We’re looking forward to seeing you on ____ at ____. OR ____ is looking forward to seeing you…” When is the last time you reviewed your electronic appointment reminder messages and intervals and your appointment confirmation protocol?
Unconfirmed Appointments – If it is 1 day before the appointment and you have a patient or patients’ that haven’t responded to your appointment reminders, you must pick up the phone and call the patient(s). You shouldn’t be able to look at the day’s schedule during your morning huddle and see unconfirmed appts.
Cancels – Using the word cancel or cancellation sends a poor message to your patients. It tells them that cancellations happen and are expected. We don’t want that. You can say ”this doesn’t happen very often but if for some reason you need to change your reservation with ___, we ask that you please provide us with at least 48 hours notice.”
Stay on Time – See your patients at their appointment time. This means they should be seated in the treatment chair on or before their appt time. Avoid running behind schedule. (Tip: Make sure you are allowing enough time on the schedule for each procedure/appt type.)
Appointments ASAP – If a patient calls (especially a New Patient) to schedule an appointment and they can’t get in for 2 or more weeks you are at risk of that patient calling somewhere else to get an appointment sooner or other life’s distractions and priorities getting in their way moving them to cancel last-minute or no-show. If your schedules are so full that patients are having to wait to get in they might feel like you’re too busy for them or that their dental care needs are not important. If you do not have an immediate opening let the patient know that you’ll place them on your priority list and while it doesn’t happen very often if there is an unexpected change to the schedule and you can see them sooner they’ll be the first to know.
Doctors, if you’re struggling to reach your practice goals or that there is too much chaos in your practice– feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation 30-minute telephone consultation at email@example.com to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.
New Patients– Don’t rely on electronic reminders for your new patients. Instead, call and let them know you’re looking forward to meeting them and briefly share with them what to expect during their first visit.
Bad Appointment History – If a patient has a history of not showing up or canceling last minute, please don’t schedule any future appointments for them. However, if you find there are some patients on the schedule with a bad history (more than 2 or more broken appts)…call them at least 2 days in advance of appt. “Hello, this is ____ from ____. I am calling regarding your appointment on ____ at _____. I need you to please return my call by____ at ____. If I don’t hear back from you by that time we will assume you’ve changed your mind and will cancel your reservation.” This will you give you time to fill that appointment time with a different patient.
Treatment Plans and Financial Arrangements – Every patient that has an appt. scheduled with the doctor for treatment must have a copy of their treatment plan AND a financial agreement before the appt. Ideally, each patient should receive a copy of the treatment plan and a financial agreement at the time of diagnosis. DON’T ASSUME that the patient is OK with their financial responsibility simply because you gave them a copy of their treatment plan and they didn’t question the cost. What often happens is they say OK and schedule and then will no-show or cancel at the last minute. OR they come in for the appt. not prepared to pay their portion.
Regarding their financial responsibility – put their co-payment amount in the appt notes so that you remember to remind them to bring it in w/them.
Many patients will not tell you they can’t afford the treatment. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO SAY YES by HELPING THEM FIND A WAY TO WORK IT INTO THEIR BUDGET. The total investment is ____ and we can do it for as little as ___ per month using our partner Care Credit. Have them apply for CC while they are there in the office.
Hygiene Patients – Schedule their next 3, 4, 6-month appt when they are at the office. Preferably, the hygienist should always schedule the next appointment from the treatment room. Take a second to stress to the patient how important this appointment is and what you’ll be looking for at their next appt. (It’s not just a cleaning and there is a reason for the recommended appt interval.)
Scheduling Appointment – When scheduling appointments for your patients let them know that this time is being reserved exclusively for them. Also, consider having patients pay their co-pay or leave a deposit at the time of scheduling. Especially, if you’re reserving more than an hour on the doctor’s schedule.
VALUE – Walk-Out Statement – Consider itemizing the hygiene appt walk-out statement to include the no-charge services… ie: Oral Cancer Screening, Nutrition Counseling, Oral Hygiene Instructions, Etc. Be sure to ALWAYS give the full fee for that day even if they have “100 %” coverage with their insurance. They need to hear the actual dollar amount for each visit. Helps to put more value on the appt.
No-Shows / Late Arrivals – Always acknowledge your no-show/late patients with a call 3-5 minutes past their appt. time. If you get a voice mail – let the patient know you’re concerned because they missed their reservation. If the patient doesn’t reschedule or if they don’t return your call. Send them a kind letter reminding them they were missed and what your office appointment guidelines are for changing appts. The assistant or hygienist should be making these calls 3 – 5 minutes past the appt time. If they can’t make the call right away they are responsible for having someone from the front office make the call for them. Be sure to document the action/ response.
Telephone – The dreaded telephone calls for same-day cancellation attempts from your patients. They can destroy a perfect schedule in a matter of minutes. Stay in control of your schedules. Create a system for how to care and respond to same-day cancellation attempts. Cancellations are not OK. 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, work, no babysitter, schedule conflicts, etc.) and role-play the best responses. Your goal should be, if appropriate, to respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.
If you currently leave it up to the patient to call back and reschedule you are not only creating more work for yourself but you’re putting the office at risk of losing that patient due to inactivity. Reschedule/reappoint the patient while you have them on the phone.
Whatever you do and no matter how desperate you are to fill the schedule DO NOT REAPPOINT habitual offenders! You should never be able to look at the schedule and point out who will most likely cancel or no-show.I’m sure that’s never happened in your office, right? 😉
Sending you wishes for a full and productive schedule… one that doesn’t fall apart!
Friends, if you do not know what your office’s broken appointment and reappointment numbers and percentages look like, including how many of your active patients are unscheduled, and many other important key practice indicators; please take note of what those numbers look like and what systems you have in place to track these patients. You need to know where you’re at currently to know how to best care for your patients and 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. I am happy to assist you with this at no charge.
I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me 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 inbox each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.
Here you will find my Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021. They’re not just free to read, they’re free to implement. How awesome is that?! Ideas that when implemented, WILL help you increase production, attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, have more fun as a team, as well as exceed your established patients’ expectations.
Betty’s Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021
#1 – Mission, Vision, Core Values – Knowing why you show up every morning will help to create a culture of happiness and excellence.
Mission – A clear definition of the purpose and focus of the practice today.
Vision – It is about what you want your practice to be in the future. It is the outcome/result of your mission.
Core Values – Core Values represent the beliefs and principles that define your practice, your team, and the patient experience you aim for in your dental practice.
Involve the entire team in your vision, mission, and goals for the practice. Involving your team will help to keep everyone on the same page, working together for the greater good of the practice. Encourage and empower your team to not only come up with new ideas and solutions to problems but to implement these ideas and solutions.
#2 – Lead by Example– “Treat your employees how you would like them to treat your best patient!“
If you want to see a positive change in your practice, you must consistently lead by example… be the change. It starts at the top. You set the tone for the day, make certain that it’s a happy & productive one. This includes any employee in a management position – if you have employees complaining about your office manager, take it seriously. A toxic office manager will destroy your practice over time, at the very least, cause a staff turnover nightmare. In fact, any employee that is toxic to your vision, to your team, and/or your patients…needs to go. It’s not easy to make the decision to terminate someone’s employment, yet absolutely necessary if you want to improve your practice. It’s been said that “what you allow you encourage.” Once you make the decision to no longer tolerate or allow the poor behavior and attitudes in your practice, you’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.
#3 – Communication – “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
Job Expectations & Job Responsibilities – What are the performance expectations for your team? Does each employee clearly understand their role in the practice? Have every team member write down a detailed list of all 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.
Hello, Good Morning! – Make it a point to greet your fellow team members every morning. Let people know that you see them and acknowledge them with a hello.
Thank you – Express your appreciation. Saying thank you improves your office, your health, and the patient’s experience.
Commendation – Commend your employees when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale. Applaud & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of. Simply thanking your team at the end of the day goes a long way in making them feel appreciated. Little surprise treats and gifts every now and then are also much appreciated.
#4 – Know your Numbers – “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” – Maya Angelou
Knowing your practice numbers and doing something with what you know about those numbers is key to growing and improving your practice. Numbers tell a story. Numbers tell you if your practice is healthy or unhealthy.
Get a baseline of where you’re at in order to make a goal for where you want to go. For example,
Overhead – Evaluate your true costs of doing business. What does it cost you per hour to keep the practice running?
Supplies – What is your supply budget vs what you are actually spending?
Payroll – What is your payroll percentage? Are you hygienists producing 3.3 times their salary?
Collections – Are you collecting what you produce and how long is it taking to collect your money?
Adjustments/Write-Offs – Are you closely monitoring your adjustments and write-offs?
Production – What are your hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly restorative and hygiene production goals?
New Patients – How many new patients do you want per month? What are you doing to welcome more new patients each month?
Attrition – How many patients are you losing each month and why?
Treatment Acceptance Vs Diagnosis – How many of your patients are saying yes to your best care? How are you keeping track of your unscheduled treatment plans?
If your numbers reveal unhealthiness be quick to act and get help to restore your practice to health and happiness.
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.
#5 – Declutter – “Clutter in your physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit.”
Clutter represents indecision. Decide 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. Along with unnecessary things sitting on treatment room counters. What about your sterilization area? Does it look clean and sterile? Or cluttered and unclean?
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.
#6 – Stay on Time– “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.”
If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate the reason(s) why. If you know the why… change whatever it is causing you to stray from the schedule. Running behind schedule sends a message to your patients and your team that you don’t respect their time. Respect your team by sticking to the scheduled work hours. Be sure that they are not habitually working through their lunch or having to work late. They need breaks to refresh and refuel. Give them that. They have a life outside of work and making them work past their scheduled end time is a real drag. I understand that sometimes unexpected events may occur so they might be asked to work late or into a lunch hour but this should be a rare occasion, not a daily or even occurrence.
Arriving at the office with plenty of time before the first scheduled patient, expecting your patients to arrive on time, never wait on hygiene exams, calculate the actual amount of time it takes to do procedures, control the schedules, these things will help you stay on time.
#7 – Show you Care – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
Post-Op Calls – Doctors and Hygienists, call your patients at the end of the day to see how well they are doing. (Tip: Call all patients that received an extraction, perio treatment, difficult procedure, were fearful or new to the office.)
Pre-Op Calls – Doctors and Hygienists start building your relationship with a new patient before they step foot in the practice. Call and give a warm welcome, let them know you are looking forward to meeting them at their appointment. It’s unexpected, takes only a few minutes, and will really make your new patient feel special.
Say My Name – Everyone likes to hear his or her name. Greet your patient’s by name. Use their name during treatment. Thank them by name for coming in or calling.
Memorable Goodbyes– Make a great last impression with a friendly goodbye…be sure to use the patient’s name. Give them something good to talk about.
Thank you’s – Send handwritten thank you cards to your new patients and to your new patient referral sources.
#8 – Reappointments & Reactivation – “Do what matters, now.”
Reappointment – 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.
Reactivation – Stay in touch with your unscheduled and/or inactive patients.
#9 – Online Presence – “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
How are you presenting your dental practice, your services, your care, yourself, and your team online? Are you attracting potential new patients or turning them away? Consider briefly these four important areas…
Website – Your website should reflect the culture and personality of the practice and the team. The content should be fresh and relevant. The photos should be attractive and current. Think about this, when people visit your website are you welcoming them with warm and helpful messaging or inadvertently turning them away with poor messaging and unattractive pages?
Social Media – Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, Online Community News Pages, YouTube, and more help to build your dental practice. Even if you’re not a fan of social media, please remember that most likely many of your patients and potential patients are using these platforms regularly.
Google My Business – Are you consistently posting fresh content to your Google business page? If not, you should. It’s free, easy to do and people visiting your listing like to see fresh content.
Reviews & Recommendations – Ask your patients to please review your office on Google and recommend you on Facebook. Don’t simply rely on third party companies to do this for you. It’s so simple (& free) to invite your patients to do this for you.
#10 – Training – “There is no way the quality of your patient care and experiences will exceed the quality of the people who provide it.”
Don’t hold back in this area! Investin 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.
Is there a chance you might have some new dental equipment or training manuals just sitting on the shelf, collecting dust? It’s most likely because your team didn’t understand or appreciate the why and the how. Knowing why and how this new idea, technique, equipment, or procedure works, benefits the patient, the team, and the office is critical to enthused implementation.
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 email@example.com.
Wishing you all a healthy and happy start to 2021!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!
Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month? I would love and truly appreciate (seriously, it would make my day!) for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK