Unproductive Dental Restorative Schedule? Let’s Fix That!!
Unproductive Dental Restorative Schedule Fix #1!
The first step in turning around an unproductive dental restorative schedule is to accept responsibility and decide to take action. That doesn’t mean that you beat yourself up over the unproductive schedule. It simply means that you consciously acknowledge that it is within your power to make a change!
It is all too easy when the restorative or production schedule slows to begin to look for reasons outside of the office. “It gets slow this time of year”. “School is on vacation this week.” “The weather forecast is bad for tomorrow.” I may have said so myself. And I’ve heard them all too.
Unproductive Dental Restorative Schedule Fix #2!
Business is either growing or dying. There is no in between or stagnation in business.
One of the things I have seen people do when their restorative schedule “lightens up” on any given day, is move patients up to an earlier time in their schedule and leave the office early.
Leaving the office early is a big mistake!
Keep the dentist in the office even when the restorative schedule is quiet or lose all hope of improving an unproductive restorative schedule.
Let’s say, for example, you owned a store. There was a “slow day” and no one seemed to be coming into the shop. So.. as the store owner, you decide to close the doors an hour early. What you just missed was the shopper who planned to come in 30 minutes before close to spend $500.00 on an anniversary gift for his wife. He had to go to another shop.
If the dentist leaves the office early, there is no chance of any restorative production happening! Stay open to all possibilities!!
Unproductive Restorative Schedule Fix #3!
Another big mistake that is often made, is when the team member responsible for answering the telephones also leaves early! It is absolutely essential that the office phones are answered during regular business hours, and keep those hours consistently.
I managed a dental practice with 2 separate locations (one in Acton, Massachusetts & one in Andover, Massachusetts). It was owned by a husband and wife who were both dentists and took turns working in both locations.
Both of these dentists believed strongly in the power of the telephone and wanted their phones answered by a dental team member as much as possible.
To make this happen, they would pay team members to take home an office cell phone each evening and on the weekends. Everyone took a turn and earned extra income in doing so. Additionally, each team member would receive a bonus for a new patient scheduled after hours.
I’m not saying that this is the way to go. I am saying there is tremendous missed potential coming through the office phones every day! If you are seeing a decline in your dental restorative schedule, take a good hard look at how the phones are being answered.
Ask yourself some questions about the office phone. 1. Is there a trained team member answering the phones consistently during regular business hours? 2. How is the phone activity? What kind of calls are coming in? Are reschedules being handled well? Are new patients scheduled soon?
Unproductive Dental Restorative Schedule Fix #4!
Evaluate and analyze new patient statistics to see improvement in the dental restorative schedule.
If you are not tracking new patient information, begin to track how many new patient calls are coming through the office phones each day. Also track how many new patients that call are scheduling appointments and where are they being scheduled (how far out?).
You can even download some forms here to help you with your tracking! New Patient Calls
If the new patients are not being scheduled immediately, you may need to look at your current scheduling policies and make sure you have blocked time for new patients each day!
Unproductive Dental Restorative Schedule Fix #5!
Flexibility and getting your emergency patients in immediately will improve the dental restorative schedule.
Make sure when your existing patients call that you are getting them in that day or worst case scenario, the next day! Even if you can only get them in to smooth a tooth, do a sedative filling, or prescribe an antibiotic, your patient wants and deserves immediate attention.
Make sure you are not only getting them in right away but communicating how important they are to you and that you will take care of them now!
You might be thinking that it is strange for me to say this. However, I have heard some strange things happen when patients call asking for emergency dental care. I have heard the person answering the phone tell the patient that if they are not having pain, then it is not a true emergency.
I have heard the dental administrative professional tell a patient in distress to go to the emergency room because the doctor’s schedule is just too busy.
I have even heard another dentist’s name and phone number given to an existing patient who calls their own dentist looking for help. The possibilities are endless!!