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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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? 😉
I would love the opportunity to work along with you and your team to help you set and exceed your practice goals. If you would like to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to learn how our coaching program works, please email me at email@example.com.
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.
It’s the little details, the little things that can make the biggest impact on your practice growth and the happiness of your team.
“Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.”
― Danny Wallace, Yes Man
Best of all, the little things (ideas) that I am sharing today are FREE or very low-cost and most only require seconds of your time. The fact that they take very little time is just what we need right now, isn’t it? It is hectic, stressful, and busy during the workday but now more than ever we need to do what we can to not let these little opportunities pass us by to have happier, successful, and less stressful days!
Here is a list of 30 little things you can do starting today to greatly improve your office and in turn, your personal life too! Win-Win!
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.
Smile More – Smiles are contagious. Smile before you pick up the phone, smile to passersby, smile to your teammates, and smile in the mirror. Smiling will boost your mood, put people at ease, and makes you more likable. (Wearing a mask? Smile with your eyes!”)
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. (Tip: Ask the caller’s on the telephone what their name is and use it during the call. They’ll love you for it 😉 )
Thank you – Express your appreciation. Saying thank you improves your office, your health, and the patient’s experience.
Choose to be Positive – Your attitude is a choice and that choice is 100% within your control. Avoid spreading negativity by sharing bad patient experiences, personal problems, or problems with other team members. Choose to be happy and positive.
Be Kind – Be kind to your patients, strangers, sales reps, and callers.
I’m Sorry – Accept responsibility when you are wrong. Be honest; simply say “I’m sorry I/We messed up”. (Tip: Keep small ($5) gift cards for coffee to give to your patients when you’ve messed up, i.e. running late, lab case mistake, appt. mix up, etc.)
Friendly Greetings – Warmly greet every person that visits the office. Even if you’re on the phone or taking care of a patient, you can acknowledge the other person with a smile.
Say Please – Make it a habit to say please everytime you ask for something.
Schedule Appointments – Make sure every patient leaves with their next appointment scheduled.
Check it Twice – Before you send that email, letter, or text, check it for spelling errors.
Social Media Sites – If your office is using social media sites be sure to like and follow the pages of local businesses within your community. Click the LIKE button or comment on their posts. This is an easy way to build relationships.
No Cell Phones – Turn down the volume and put your cell phone away while you’re on the clock. Ask your family and friends to call the office line in the event of an emergency. Be fully present during work hours.
Write it Down- Start and end your day with to-do lists. Write a note or set an electronic reminder to check on that claim, call your patient, check voice mail, etc. Writing things down prevents you from forgetting things that are important. (Tip: Avoid placing sticky notes around your workstation. Clutter is chaos to the patient. Place reminders in a notebook that you frequently refer to or set electronic reminders.)
Commendation – Commend a fellow team member when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale. (Tip: Commend & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of.)
Business Cards – Carry your business cards with you and use them! Get your team personalized business cards to hand out to patients and people they do business with. (Tip: Use the back of the business card with a call to action invitation.)
Stay on Time – If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate as to 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. 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.
Patient of the Day! – Select a patient from the day’s schedule to be your “patient of the day”. Give them a certificate, a small gift and take their picture to share on your social media sites. This is a fun and inexpensive way to exceed your patients’ expectations. SEE Dental Patient of the Day Ideas
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.
Send a Card – In this electronic age, rarely do people get “real” mail. Send hand-written thank you, get well, thinking of you, anniversary, sympathy, and congratulations cards to your patients. They will truly appreciate it! (Tip: Keep a supply of cards on hand in the office.)
Everybody Clean Up – Pick up the piece of paper from the floor, dust off the plants, keep your workspace, and the restroom clean. SEE Clean Your Dental Office
Replace the roll of Toilet Paper – Even if there are still a few squares left to spare, replace it with a fresh roll. While you’re at, go ahead and fold the toilet paper into a pretty fan. #kiddingnotkidding
Huddle Up – The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow these tried and true suggestions & tips for morning meeting success.
Negative Gossip – Refuse to listen to gossip and stop speaking & spreading gossip. Simple. As. That.
Dress the Part – If you want it to be a great day, start by looking great. Wear clothes that reflect the excellent care you give your patients. This means wearing professional, clean, and wrinkle-free clothes. Also, your hair and body should be clean and odor-free. (Yes, I went there.) P.S. Even with all the PPE there is no excuse to look sloppy and unkempt.
Verbiage Matters – Use these words often: Absolutely, I’ll be happy to, My pleasure, You are very welcome, Certainly, and Right away.
Acknowledge and Reward Referrals – For every patient you must have a referral source, how else will you be able to track what marketing works and what doesn’t? Especially if you want more referrals from your current patients, then reward the behavior that you want to see more of. Acknowledge and Reward your referrals.
Answer the office Phone – This one is KEY to your success. All of your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Answer the office phone during the times when patients and new patients are most likely to call. This includes lunch hours. SEE How to Effectively Answer The Dental Office Phone
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.
“I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually, they make the difference between winning and losing.”
Do the right thing, as a team work together to implement these little things in your office every day. Print this list and review it at your next team meeting. Enjoy practice growth with a happier team and happy patients.
Did you enjoy these tips and ideas? I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK
Seriously, your kind words always warm my heart! Thank you!
If you would like help implementing these or other ideas into your practice and daily life, contact me at email@example.com to learn more about my personalized coaching services.
Are you receiving my complimentary Dental Practice Management and Marketing Ideas via your email each month? If not, please follow today or send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.
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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.