Does your appointment book look a little gappy?
Particularly as we head towards the holiday season, many practices face an anxious time regarding an appointment diary potentially filled with gaps (dental pun intended). Here, we round-up our top tips to ensure, regardless of the time of year, a more healthy looking appointment book.
Ensure that your practice systems and procedures are keeping up-to-date with technological advancements as are your patients.
- Ensure your website is mobile friendly
- Don’t ignore the power and capabilities of social media to help you promote your practice
- Make better use of email to communicate with patients
- Offer new patients the option to book a consultation online
- Utilise text/email reminders for your recalls.
Reconsider your opening times
Does the practice really need to be closed at lunchtime? Could the practice open earlier one day a week and late on another? Ensure that your practice opening times offer patients flexibility.
Set in place a cancellation policy
Ensure you have a robust cancellation policy whereby you charge patients for missed appointments without adequate notice. It acts as a deterrent and ensures that the reserved time can be used by someone else who is waiting for treatment or perhaps in pain.
Communicate the ethos of ‘prevention is better than cure’
Regularly and consistently remind your patients about the importance of regular attendance to keep their mouths healthy and avoid unnecessary pain and potential expense.
Run special promotions to pull people in
Promotions are excellent tactics to help improve sales but they should be used sparingly. Consider seasonal offers for Whitening, New Patients, Implants or Orthodontic Treatments – these are all great ‘pulls’.
Follow up procedures
Are all enquiries and treatment plans appropriately followed-up? By having a robust follow-up mechanism in place your conversion rates will be much higher. You will find out the reasons why patients aren’t converting and therefore can act and improve accordingly.
Actively promote dental membership plans
Please refer to our earlier posts:
- Making the most of your dental plan http://www.ident.co.uk/blog/making-the-most-of-your-dental-plan
- Why your practice should promote dental plans http://www.ident.co.uk/blog/why-your-practice-should-promote-dental-plans
Ideally, the majority of your new patients should be coming to you via word of mouth referrals. Ensure that your patients know that you’d be delighted to welcome their friends and colleagues as patients to the practice. You may even wish to consider incentives for both parties to encourage and reward referrals.
Are there more fundamental reasons as to why your appointment book has gaps? Are your patients going elsewhere? If so, why and how can you rectify the situation?
For more information, contact us on 01463 223399, we're here to help and can even arrange a visit to the practice to discuss things further.