How do you respond when you look at the schedule and see huge openings? While it is normal to be concerned, it is important to not become consumed with worry. There is an old saying that outlines the best response: “If you’re going to panic, panic constructively.” That means turning your worry into steps that will help fill the schedule.
First, assess what has been done to schedule past-due recall patients. During busy times, recall is often put on the back burner. Not only reach out to past due patients, but also consider the most influential person to make the contact. For example, when past-due patients hear from their hygienist, it has a much stronger impact than hearing from anyone else other than the dentist.
Next, look closely at unscheduled treatment. If patients have not been contacted about scheduling (assuming financial reasons were not given as the reason for waiting on treatment), reach out to them. And be prepared to use value-building phraseology. For example, if you simply tell patients they need to schedule because crowns were diagnosed, how much value are you building for the appointment? Instead, when you talk to people, let them know the doctor is concerned about cavities, infection, or fractured teeth, whatever the case may be.
Finally, use downtime constructively to consider how to make the patient experience even better, how to improve treatment acceptance, and/or how to effectively ask for referrals and reviews. These efforts will make you more effective in the future at improving patient retention, adding more new patients, and scheduling more treatment.
When you encounter slow times, commit yourself to checking your panic at the door. By focusing on constructive steps, the schedule will soon rebound.