The holidays can be an unpredictable time for many dental practices. Sometimes, your patients are so overwhelmed with their never-ending holiday to-do lists that they haven’t got time to attend their appointments, leaving your staff twiddling their thumbs. Other times, patients are begging for last-minute teeth whitening appointments and your staff are requesting time off for the holidays, leaving you with much more on you plate than you ever bargained for.
Whether your practice is in over its head or you’re waiting for patients to walk through the door, there are always techniques you can use to boost business during the most wonderful time of the year.
How to get your practice into the festive spirit
Encourage your patients and staff to look forward to stepping into your dental practice by turning it into a winter wonderland bursting with festive cheer. Creating a merry atmosphere will boost staff productivity within your dental practice and help anxious patients feel better about attending their appointments.
Decorate the dental office
Add a festive flair to your dental office by decorating it. It’s important to remember your dental practice is still a professional place, so don’t go too crazy. But feel free to add some cheery cushions to your sofa, brightly coloured decorations hanging from the ceiling and a Christmas tree with fake gifts nestled underneath. If your office has received holiday cards from patients, it’s a nice touch to display them, too.
You can keep it simple and decorate your practice with ordinary holiday adornments. Or get super creative and add a dental twist to your decorations. You could dress up your tree with toothbrushes and toothpaste, make tooth-shaped garlands, provide patients with teeth-friendly sugar-free candy canes...whatever you can think of!
Throw a party
Commemorating important events together is one of the best ways to build an excellent dental team. So round up all your staff one evening and celebrate the hard work everyone put in over the last 12 months with an amazing end-of-year party. With so many different holidays at this time of year, it doesn’t have to be event-specific. Simply a celebration of everything that’s gone on over the past year is enough.
If you’ve got the space, consider hosting the party within the staff communal room or reception of your dental practice. Lock the front door, put on some lively music, have some delicious nibbles available, add in some festive cocktails or mocktails and enjoy! If it’s not possible to throw the party within your practice, you’ve always got the option to host a little get together outside the office.
Spend a day outside the office
Most workplaces host a party at a restaurant with a lavish meal to celebrate the end of the year. But this isn’t your only option.
If you want to do something a little different, consider closing your dental practice for the afternoon and doing something a bit more interesting, like indoor skydiving, go karting, wine tasting or paintballing. Hold a meeting a couple of weeks in advance to see what your employees would like to do and book it.
How to boost business over the holidays
With festive parties, gift shopping and extravagant meals to plan, it’s easy for people to forget about going to the dentist over the holiday season. Instead of just accepting this as one of the inevitable quiet times of the year, entice your patients back into your practice with irresistible deals and offers.
Sell Christmas gifts
Many people find shopping for gifts incredibly stressful. So help take a load off your patients’ shoulders this year by providing them with fantastic dental gifts their friends and family will love. From electric toothbrushes wrapped with big red bows to baskets filled with oral care goodies and gift certificates valid for any dental treatment, there are loads of ways you can help your patients out with their shopping and boost your business at the same time.
Send insurance reminders
Most dental insurance policies only last until the end of the calendar year. So any benefits patients haven’t used within the past 12 months vanish as soon as the new year begins. Customers hate losing money just as much as business owners do. So take the time to go through your patient records and contact those with outstanding benefits and remind them to take advantage while they can.
Promote teeth whitening
Many of your patients will be attending end-of-year parties, family get togethers or vacations during the holiday season. Encourage them to achieve beautiful picture-perfect smiles with your practice’s teeth whitening treatment. To make the procedure even more tempting, consider tying it into some kind of deal, such as a referral discount if they encourage a friend or family member to get their teeth whitened, too.
Hire more staff
With pre-party teeth whitening and staff absences due to the holidays, this time of the year can put a lot of pressure on a dental practice. To help keep stress levels low and festive spirits high, considering hiring temporary staff.
Whether you hire a dental assistant to cover your regular dental assistant who’s taking some time off for the holidays or hire a dental specialist to do a complex procedure you don’t typically offer at your practice for a patient who wants to have an amazing smile for the holidays, hiring extra staff means your employees can take some time off for the holidays and your patients can receive the top quality care they’re used to.
Enjoy the holidays
The holidays don’t have to be a stressful, unprofitable time for your dental practice. A little bit of preparation, creativity and flexibility is all you need to ensure your patients and staff enjoy the last few weeks of the year, while your business continues to grow and generate income.
This is part 1/2 of our series: "Your Dental practice and the holidays". Here's part 2: "A stress-free holiday season without dental staffing issues?"