Start Right Now to Stay Busy All Year
Even though 2015 is just a few weeks old, it is not too early to start thinking about your office plan for generating patients throughout the year. Promoting our practices is important! If your January was not busy this year; do something so it will be better in 2016. Was the office slow around the Christmas holidays? Plan now for keeping all chairs full and hygiene occupied. Is October a slow month? Think of a promotion that could generate interest at that time. Do your patients leave insurance benefits “on-the-table” at the end of the year? Help them to get the treatment for which they and their employers pay.
For example, many of your patients have insurance that runs from January to January. This means they have new benefits kicking in right now. Don’t wait until their next recall appointment to talk about it. Today, give them a call or send a professional letter advising them to use their benefits. To get started, run a report showing patient treatment identified but not yet completed. Then assign a staff member to look into each instance. Compose a letter (with empty spacing that can be filled in with personal information and needed treatment) and have the dentist sign it personally. Follow up with a phone call asking that the patient set up an appointment.
I hope that you are well and looking forward to a healthy 2015. As your dentist, I am sending you this letter to let you know that you still need to have (a crown on your top left molar) completed. This was treatment that we identified for you last year, but did not accomplish. I don’t want to let a manageable problem become a large, difficult problem for you. In addition, your insurance coverage starts over at the beginning of a year. You and/or your employer are already paying for a good share of your needed treatment!
Call our office at your earliest convenience and we will be glad to set up a time so we can get started on what you need.
I appreciate being your dentist, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr. Mike Jones
It is best if the section where the personal treatment is listed does not look like a mass produced “fill-in-the-blank”. That can negate the effect of a “personal” letter! Also, if the patient needs quite a bit of care, don’t try to put it all in. Instead, choose the most pressing issue. These letters do not have to be a “clerical only” duty. Your hygienist or dental assistant can work on them as well.
To help prevent a slow October, run a postcard promotion in August. You might send this to all patients of record, or even purchase a zip code label list for families in your area. The postcard can feature a smiling family on one side, and a very brief message next to the mailing label on the other.
For example: Stay healthy and look your best this fall. Call us and save 20% on your next professional cleaning. Or: Stay healthy and look your best this fall. Call us for your professional cleaning and check-up today. Or: Stay healthy and look your best this fall. Call us for your professional cleaning and check-up today. If you have insurance benefits, use them before they run out at the end of the year. We also offer affordable payment plans.
To stay busier for December, let all your insurance and Flexible Savings Account patients know during the first week of September that they have benefits that will expire at the end of the year. Use ‘em or lose ‘em! If a report can be run with the amounts each patient has left, all the better. Again, a personalized letter with the amount left on their insurance highlighted goes a long way toward encouraging patients to come in before the end of the year. If that does not seem practical, send a simple note saying: “Use your dental benefits and Flexible Savings Account before they expire at the end of the year. Call us today.”
For the spring and summer, think about graduations and weddings. You might want to run a promotion beginning in March for reduced cost tooth whitening in time for cap and gown pictures in May and wedding photos in June. If you don’t want to offer a reduced cost, send a card saying: “Look your best for special occasion pictures. Call us for a professional cleaning and teeth whitening today.”If you have cell phone numbers and email addresses for your patients, you can also use those for your messages. However, don’t underestimate the appeal of a simple, colorful, professional-looking postcard. With electronic communication so pervasive in our modern world, regular mail can often stand out.
A little advance planning can help keep your chairs busy all year!
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email email@example.com.
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