Spring is in the air! Doesn’t the word “spring” itself just make you feel more productive? It seems like everyone in the neighborhood is beginning an outdoor project to spruce up their yard. And, we’re all opening our windows to let in the warm breezes. Maybe you’re even in Spring Cleaning Mode, donating old clothes, and giving your house a deep cleaning. (That’s exactly what I should be doing, but I’d much rather be outside.)
In that same high-energy spirit of the season, it’s also time to increase productivity in your dental office. Especially now – since more and more Americans are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll be returning to the office for their regularly scheduled dental cleanings and check-ups. Here’s how to be sure you’re ready for them so you can enjoy a boost in productivity without feeling overwhelmed by the influx of new and returning patients.
Let’s start with the stats.
The American Association of Endodontists reports that more than half of all Americans skipped their biannual dental appointments during the past year of the pandemic. The same study also revealed that 31 percent of adults were snacking on more sweets and about 25 percent of them were not brushing or flossing as frequently as before the pandemic!
Even worse, as many as 21 percent of adults have been skipping their morning oral care routine altogether since working from home. Yikes! Collectively speaking, we need our dentists now more than ever. So, what can you do to get your existing patients back into the dental chair, and attract some new patients, too? Start with these three things:
1. Make it easy for patients to book dental appointments.
What’s the scheduling process look like at your office? Do patients have to call and navigate through a series of instructions and press several numbers before they get to a live person? Does your staff really have time to answer those phone calls and find appointment times for each and every new and returning patient? (We both know the answer: Of course not.)
If you’re not using an automated scheduling tool as part of your patient relationship management system yet, now is the perfect time to make that upgrade. Not only does online scheduling make it easier and more convenient for patients to request appointments, but it also takes the burden off your busy team and allows them to spend more time providing an outstanding patient experience for those in the office.
2. Use an automated recall system to get returning patients back on track.
Appointment recall is a time-consuming task – especially now, as you’re trying to get all those missed and delayed appointments back on the schedule for preventive care and follow-up treatments. Automated recall can help you save time, increase productivity, and generate more practice revenue – up to $95,000 per year!*
An ideal automated recall tool lets you send personalized messages to patients that the system identifies as overdue for an appointment. When you automate recall, you keep your schedule full, your patients improve their oral health, and your team spends as little as 30 minutes a day reaching out to long-lost patients.*
3. Send automated appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and boost productivity.
Once you’re using the online scheduling and automated recall features of your patient relationship management system, your practice is potentially going to be busier than you’ve been since pre-COVID. How will you remind all those new and returning patients to come in for their check-ups and exams? If you’re a savvy, forward-thinking office manager, you’ll send automated appointment reminders.
It’s the 21st century. We all lead busy lives with packed schedules, which makes it easy to forget to show up for a doctor’s visit or a routine dental cleaning – especially after we’ve been out of the loop for awhile. Additionally, 91 percent of today’s patients prefer to communicate with their providers via text. Sending appointment reminders directly to each patient’s phone is a personal, direct way to remind them of their upcoming appointments.
Appointment reminders helps your practice almost effortlessly get more patients in the door for their scheduled dental exams, or lets them request a new day and time right from their phone. And, perhaps most importantly, because it’s an automatic appointment reminder, you’re not adding more work to your team. Instead, you’re actually freeing up time so they can be more productive in other areas, such as sending newsletters, and growing the practice.
*Results for the average Solutionreach customer.
Want to know what comes next after these three steps? Download our free guide: