Ideas to Fill Holes in the Dental Hygiene Schedule

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?
  • 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.

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 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

 

 

Advertisements

Dental Marketing Ideas for your Pediatric Office

Hello Friends,

Are you looking to grow your pediatric dental office? Well, get your pen and paper ready because I’m going to share with you several dental marketing ideas for your pediatric office. Better yet, you might want to print out this article and discuss these idea’s with your team. Together, come up with a marketing plan that will help to make this your Best Year Yet!

Before we get started, keep in mind that the way to mom and dads heart is to treat their children well. The way to keep mom and dad loyal to your office is to treat their children exceptionally well. Why? Happy Kids = Happy Parents.  As a mother of two children, I know this to be TRUE! 

Here you go, Dental Marketing Ideas for the Pediatric Office…

how to bring in new pediatric dental patients?

Open House Kid’s Day (In Office) – 

  • Choose a theme: Carnival, BBQ, Luau, Movie/TV/Book Characters, 50’s, etc.
  • Activities: Face Painting, Balloon Twisting, Hula Hoop Contest, Karaoke, Crafts, Carnival-like games, Photo booth/props, etc. (Depending on if the event is inside or outside the office)
  • Prize: Have a drawing to win a gift basket, gift card, bicycle, or team up with a local business for a donated prize.
  • Food: Hot dogs, Chips, Ice Cream/Popsicle, Water, Popcorn, etc.
  • Advertise: Promote via social media sites, local newspapers, in-office fliers, on continuing care postcards,  and emails/texts to your current patients.
  • Option: Book appointments in hygiene only, this way, you’ll have production for the day and doctor will be free to visit with guests and still do the exams.
  • Memories: Take lots of pictures during the event to share on your social media sites and in your newsletters.

See also Idea’s for hosting an open house

Host Patient Appreciation Events (Outside of office)

  • Skating Rink, Indoor Bounce/Trampoline, Movie Theater, Public Pool, Bowling, Local Park, etc. Invite your patients to bring a friend. Be sure to have imprinted give-away’s and information about your office at these events. Encourage all attendees to visit and like your social media pages.

Fun Dress Up/Theme Days –

What: Decorate the office, team dresses up, small prize give away’s and snacks.

Theme Idea’s: Luau, Superhero, Disney, Western, Carnival, Sports teams, (visit party stores or orientaltrading.com for a ton of theme ideas)

Children’s Dental Health Month

In-Office

  • Field Trips – Invite local schools and daycare’s for a free field trip to the dentist. (Serve a Healthy snack such as grapes, apple slices, string cheese and small bottled water, Present Education stations/demonstrations-visit the ADA website and Pinterest for great idea’s for presentations,  Toothbrush bags for the students and teachers/parents, show a short Video while the kids eat their snack)

Outside the office –

  • What: On-site Short Dental Education Presentations/Demonstrations and Toothbrush gift bags for the kids and teachers/parents.
  • Where: School’s, Daycare’s, Library, Mom groups, etc.

New Patient Experience

Give tour of the office, send a welcome card after first visit to the child (Kids LOVE to get mail), give a new patient gift bag, sign child up to join your office kids club/team.

Participate in local Family Health & Wellness Fairs –

See  Health and Wellness Fairs for some great idea’s.

Visit Local Businesses

  • Where: Pediatricians, Dental Offices, Children’s stores, Dance studios,Salons, Etc.
  • What: Introductions, Referral pads/cards, Small Gifts (Imprinted toothbrushes, flosscards, lip balm, etc.) Food (Bagels, Donuts, Fruit, Pies, etc), Contest/Drawing for Prizes, Lunch-n- Learn, etc.  TIP: When visiting general dentist and pediatrician offices, always treat their reception team wonderfully… if your goal is to meet the doctors and get patient referrals, you want/need them to like you. 😉

Back-To-School/School Break Visits –

Set aside some back-to-school and/or breaks from school special days in the office. Special pricing or promotion on Sealants, Ortho, Fluoride, etc. Consider doing a drawing for a Backpack filled with school supplies. Contest:  nominate your favorite teacher (use social media sites to promote), prize idea’s for winning teacher: Breakfast/Lunch at the school, free teeth whitening, or team up with local businesses for prize donations.

Book Drive 

Collect new or gently used books to donate to your local library or schools. Promote via social media sites, local newspapers, in-office fliers, on continuing care postcards and to your current patients.

  • Incentive: Gift Basket (put together a fun themed gift basket) Every person that donates books can enter a drawing to win a gift basket. You do not need to be a patient of record to donate books.
  • Once you have collected all the books:
  • Take pictures of the books
  • Put together toothbrush gift bags w/office information and special offer to deliver to the employees of the library and or school.
  • Deliver books and gift bags to the library and or schools.

Reception Room

In addition to being clean and with up-to-date decor consider having in your reception room: Video games (Stationary and/or handheld devices), Books (lending library), TV (children’s movies and short dental education videos) Wall of fame, digital photo frame or photo album filled with pictures of your patients. Photo “booth” area with backdrop and photo props. Tablet/Cell Phone charging station for parents.

Kid’s Club/Team

I’m not a fan of “no cavity” clubs because I like to see all children have the opportunity to be part of the office kids club/team and sometimes, a child’s unfortunate cavity is the fault of the parent. Have a club/team that is just for fun and that rewards healthy habits. Take a picture of each child to hang on your wall of fame or in a digital photo frame or picture album, as well as for your website, newsletter and/or social media sites. Present child with a certificate/wristband/t-shirt when they sign up for your kids club. Have monthly contests/drawings that the children can enter to win prizes.

Give-Away’s

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Floss/floss threaders, Toys, Puzzles, Kites, Books, Gift cards, Bubbles, Stickers, Balloons, etc. Kids love to leave the office with a special little gift. 🙂

Social Media –

Utilize social media platforms to keep your current patients up to date with all of your office happenings, to build relationships with local businesses and connect with potential patients. See Social Media Site Posting Content Idea’s

Answer Your Phone – 

Sure, you know that the office phone should be answered within the first couple of rings by an unhurried, friendly scheduling coordinator whose goal is to schedule an appointment and wow the caller with excellent customer service but if you want to see greater results from your marketing efforts, then you must be certain that your office phone is answered during times when patients are calling. Minimum: Monday – Saturday 8:00am – 6:00pm, including lunch hours.  Invest in your entire team by providing training on how to effectively answer the phone. 

Forward your calls to an answering service if needed. Having a live person for the caller to talk to is so much better than your caller getting an answering machine or voice mail and then deciding to call the next dental office on their list in hopes of talking to a “live” person. 

Also, despite our best intentions to not put a caller on hold we know that it still happens from time to time. Consider having an on hold message for these times, this way, you’ll have the opportunity to share office information, special offers, social media sites, etc. with the caller rather than them listen to nothing, an annoying beeping sound or lame music. See also: Should I Use A Message On Hold Service

Missed calls and calls poorly handled are missed opportunities and those missed opportunities mean missed dollars…big dollars!

For more telephone success tips, take a minute to read this helpful article: If I Call Your Dental Office Offer Me An Appointment

Host a Halloween Candy Buy Back –

For tips and ideas on successfully hosting a candy buy back see: October Dental Marketing Idea’s / Halloween Candy Buy Back

Are you ready for the #1 Way to Market your Pediatric Office?  

Consistently Exceed Parent & Patient Expectations and Consistently Be Great! Give your patients something positive to talk about to their neighbors, workmates, friends and family members. Make it easy for them to refer patients to you. (If you need some idea’s to help Improve your Office, be sure to check out my Improve your Office series: First ImpressionsMake A Change and The Little Things Matter.

While we’re at it, here are a few more bonus ideas 🙂 …

Blog/WebsiteBecome the dental expert in your community. Post articles, videos and pictures on your website and social media sites about different dental treatments/products, sports safety, what to do in a dental emergency, etc. TIP: Pin your blog posts, articles, videos and pictures to your office Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a GREAT way to drive traffic to your website. If you don’t already have Pinterest for your office, add that to your to-do-list. Have a variety of family related boards such as dental health tips, recipes, crafts, party ideas, healthy snacks, book idea’s and more. Feel free to check out my Pinterest boards for idea’s.

Sponsor local sport teams –Free or reduced rate for mouthguards for local sports teams. 

DistractionsTV’s in the treatment rooms, Ceiling Tile Scenery, Etc. Make the experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for every child.

Contests/Drawing Coloring contests, Monthly Gift Card/Gift Basket drawing, Wristband, etc.

Post-Op Calls – Each evening place a “just wanted to see how well you’re doing call” to any patient that had an extraction or maybe was nervous or had a rough time during their visit.

First “Happy” Visit ExperienceTake picture of child in the chair (maybe holding a first visit sign or certificate) and give to parent in a cute picture frame.

I know this is a lot of information but if you’re serious about wanting to grow your practice, then it’s worth it to take the time to market your practice effectively using some or all of the idea’s that I have shared with you today. Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you don’t have to do this on your own, I’m here to help.

Before I go, here are a few Important Reminders: If you’re going to take the time to visit schools and local businesses be sure that you leave them with information about your office, special offers and imprinted gifts with your office name, phone number and website.

Also, keep track of your events, the businesses you visit, any donation requests, etc. Put specific referral source codes in to your software system, this way, when you ask “How did you hear about us?” you have the correct referral code to enter in and you’ll be able to acknowledge that source with a thank you as well as know what marketing is working to bring in new patients.

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please subscribe today. Feel free to tell your dental friends all about us so they can start benefiting from these dental ideas too. If you liked these ideas, please let me know by hitting the “like” button. Thank you!!!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Dental Marketing Ideas for August

Hello,

While we are still very much enjoying summer, as a mother of two school aged children I’m forced to start working on our Back to School to do list. The Back to School season is a great time to market to and educate the community on the importance of good dental health for their children as well as for the teachers.

Dental Marketing Ideas for August

Which brings me to:

 Dental Marketing Ideas for August

What: Back to School With Healthy Smiles!

Target Audience: Teachers and School Aged Children

How:

  •  Send out a Press Release to the local papers and news stations with Children’s Dental Health Tips for parents. (ie: healthy snack/beverage ideas, visiting the dentist, brushing/flossing tips, mouthguards, sealants, and more.)
  • Facebook & Blog Posts with Dental Health Tips for Children.
  • Send a Press Release and Social Media Posts focused just on Kindergarten aged children as August is “Get Ready for Kindergarten” month.

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom “Back to School” campaign that includes ideas for special offers, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and recare/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Here are 3 More Ways to Help your Team and Patients Smile in August!

 Happiness Happens Month ~ Find ways during the month to make your patients and team happier!!

August 8th – Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night. (I’m serious, it’s a real day!) While you probably don’t want to visit your patient’s homes during the night you can easily have a basket of zucchini at the office for your patient’s to take. Wrap some ribbon and a business card with a zucchini recipe on it for your patients to sneak onto their neighbors porch during the night.

August 16th ~ Hug Your Boss Day! Or just take them to lunch… and if that’s too much simply give them a heartfelt thank you for being such a great boss. I’m confident they will truly appreciate it!

 Wishing you all a Very Successful and Happy August!

Please share with me any other ideas you may have! Also, be sure to subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month my free dental marketing and practice management ideas.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

*I have found that using Send Out Cards for these types of marketing campaigns works very well. If you haven’t yet checked them out, I urge to take a look. www.sendoutcards.com/59727 It is so easy to set up the card campaigns, the cards are impressive and it is inexpensive. Three very good things.  🙂