Holes in the dental appointment schedule are a huge challenge in today’s world of dentistry.
How much does one hole in your schedule each day cost your dental practice over the next year?
The truth is that is costs your dental practice hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars over a year, if you have just one hole in your schedule.
Does your dental hygiene schedule include a black hole?
Does your dental hygiene appointment include a black hole?
How many times does a dental patient call your office to change their appointment and they tell you they will “Call you back when they have more time?”
In the video I share today, you may think, “this is not our office!.” Your’e saying to yourself we never let patients leave or change an appointment without scheduling their next appointment!
We hear this statement all the time.
THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE
Our team of consultants and dental coaches currently evaluates dental practice key performance indicators (important measurements of success in a dental practice) and I can tell you that it is all too common that we see a huge, long list of patients who left the office without scheduling a next appointment.
Until you look at your numbers, it may appear that you are scheduling every patient with a next dental appointment.
The administrative team is responsible for most of the patient schedule. It’s important that every team member who will schedule a patient appointment understands the dental practice system for scheduling patients.
Working together as a team to have strategic systems and protocols are a key component of every successful dental practice.
The best way a dental hygienist can help reduce the holes in your dental practice schedule is to create valuearound what is completed at a dental hygiene appointment.
? What does your scheduling system look like?
? Does your team know what is included in your scheduling system?
? What do you say when a patient does need to change their dental appointment?
? How can you reduce the number of patients who call to change a dental appointment?
Much of this relies on your verbal skills, the words you use to add value to the dental services your provide.
Words like “teeth cleaning,” scaling and root planing and even the word decay,” do not add the same value as words such as, “preventive care appointment, gum therapy or gum treatment and cavities or hole in your tooth.” Try using Portland Pothole or just the word “Pothole” next time you see a cavity.
Patients can relate to these words.
One important point to make is this, until your patients say, “Do NOT call me anymore,” continue to follow-up.
Let your patients know you miss them, that you care about them and that a healthy mouth more likely means a healthy body.
No one I know has ever complained because I told them I cared about them.
I must ask, what is your scheduling and change of appointment system?
Does a dental hygiene appointment ever go into a black hole?!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DEBBIE SEDIEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder and CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is also a former dental hygiene program director. Her expertise is optimizing the hygiene department by taking a total team approach; including the doctor as the leader.