This time of year can be challenging for pediatric dental practices. But the holidays don’t have to mean you experience slowdowns or a bunch of missed appointments. In fact, there are a few things you can do to increase revenue in your dental practice during the holiday season.
Here are a few ways to rid yourself of the holiday havoc and make this time of year more productive.
Reducing Holiday Havoc
With the holiday season comes altered practice hours, vacation requests, family visits, the flu, and the subsequent missed or cancelled appointments. When patients are competing for a reduced number of spots on your calendar, the last thing your practice needs is a bunch of sudden gaps in your appointment book.
Use Appointment Reminders
To stymy the torrent of missed appointments that typically come this time of year, use appointment reminders. Your patients are likely just as busy with the holidays as you are, so help them out!
Perhaps your dental management software already automates this task, notifying patients via email or text message. If not, it’s worth the time to call your patients a day or two before their appointments. It will help save you time and headache down the road.
Taking Time Off
How does your pediatric practice handle time off? Do you grant requests from dental assistants and other team members on a first come, first served basis?
Handling vacation time can be difficult when there are few people available to cover and everyone wants the same time off. What’s a pediatric dentist to do?
Whatever your plan is, it needs to be structured and make sense, in addition to being fair. Be smart about it—you probably don’t want a single dental assistant to be the only help for multiple dentists, but you might not need several assistants if one of the dentists is out.
Make sure employees know how and when they can use time off, and what your policy is for paid holidays (should you happen to be open) and sick leave. Outline these policies clearly in your employee handbook and review them as winter approaches with your team during a meeting or two BEFORE the holiday rush hits.
Communicating well and often is always important, but it becomes even more so during the holidays. Tell team members and patients about your holiday hours, and post the information on your blog, social media feeds, and practice doors well in advance.
Draft your staff schedule earlier than usual during this time of year, too, and be prepared to update the schedule should things change (as they probably will).
Show Your Team You Care
With shortened holiday practice hours, smaller team sizes, and (somewhat) unpredictable patient schedules, the holidays can wear down even the most seasoned of team members.
This year, show your team you truly appreciate their hard-work, dedication, and loyalty with a surprise “thank you”. Something as simple as cookies and coffee, or even a catered lunch, can make a lasting impression on your team that will help get them through the holiday blitz!
It really is the little things that can make the biggest impact. Here’s some healthier office meeting food idea’s to get you started.
This is the time of year when teams that have received ample cross-training thrive, while those that fail to use their dental assistants to their fullest potential often struggle to handle the workload.
If you aren’t capitalizing on the most flexible role in the dental practice, find out how you can get a big return on your investment in pediatric dental assistants with the PDTA. Discover all of the benefits afforded by the PDTA.
And if you need a little help making your dental practice more profitable, download our FREE dental practice profitability guide!
~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth