I know, I know. We’re all sick of hearing about anything that has to do with the word “pandemic.” I wish I didn’t have to bring it up. Unfortunately, there’s a new “production pandemic” on the way, and we need to get ahead of it. If we don’t, October through December is going to be a very unpleasant time for the dental industry. Here’s what’s up:
Hygiene appointments weren’t happening back during COVID-19 lockdown. That’s obvious. But there’s a hidden problem here. Since hygiene appointments weren’t taking place, they weren’t getting rescheduled 6 months down the line, as they usually are. So in the last quarter of 2020, hygiene schedules will be 80% empty, when they’re usually 80% full.
If you’re like most practices, you can’t afford that financial hit. So what do we do? Here’s the action plan that LocalMed and Dental Intelligence are suggesting, after analyzing 8,000 practices all across the nation.
First, we need to figure out how many hygiene appointments we should have in an average month. Then, since there are 3 problematic months, multiply that number by 3.
For a hypothetical practice with 1 doctor and 2 hygienists, that’s probably about 750 appointments total.
Next, we subtract the number of appointments that we already have scheduled.
Say we already have 350 appointments scheduled. That leaves us with 400 appointments to schedule before October.
Now we’re ready for the final step: try not to panic.
It’s definitely scary territory, but you have options that can help you get ahead of this situation before it gets out of control. How can we schedule 400 appointments before October?
We have 3 options that probably won’t work, and 1 that will.
DO NOT plan on your team being able to fill the schedule manually. There simply isn’t enough time to schedule that many appointments in such a short amount of time. Even if your staff works double time, this is probably not feasible.
DO NOT rely on a 3rd party call center. Yes, they’ll be able to help you fill the gaps. But they come with all the standard problems - scheduling issues, keeping patients isolated from your staff, etc. But the main reason I don’t recommend call centers as a solution to this specific problem is because they’re expensive, and 2020 is not the year for unnecessary expenses.
DO NOT blindly spend more money on marketing. Not only is that expensive, you can’t guarantee results.
DO get real time online scheduling.
Why? Because real online scheduling like LocalMed allows you to send a scheduling link directly to patients. If you send those emails and texts liberally, then patients can schedule their own appointments according to rules that you set.
Your patients will do the work. It sounds too good to be true, but let’s get into the numbers.
If you have to schedule 400 appointments, you send 400 messages with LocalMed scheduling links included. About half of your patients will click the scheduling link. And of those who clicked, about 46% will actually schedule an appointment.
200 clicks x 46% conversion = 92 appointments with a single mass email
And since LocalMed clients see an average return on investment of 44:1, the technology can pay for itself, for a whole year, with just a single new patient scheduled.
If you’re already using LocalMed, start putting this plan into action now. If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time to take action before winter finally comes.
Try it yourself today by visiting www.localmed.com. Tell them I sent you, and use PROMO CODE: DENTALMARKETER10 for 10% OFF your set-up fee.