You hear the word “unprecedented” a lot these days associated with the COVID-19 crisis. But with unprecedented challenges come the equally unprecedented opportunities of how to prepare your dental practice to reopen when the time arrives.
No doubt a disrupted routine has given you a useful amount of free time. Though you’re technically “closed for business” – with exception of providing emergency dentistry – you can keep your door “open” to increasing your practice’s viability when you and your team return.
Your future outcomes depend on how you prepare your dental practice to reopen
According to economist, Paul Romer, – “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
Additional insight from a relevant Harvard Business Review article agrees…
”Downturns can shine a spotlight on the long-term health of a business, revealing vulnerabilities that might not have been as visible in good times. Leaders should use the downturn as an opportunity to create a sense of urgency within their organizations, helping drive the large-scale change that will be necessary to succeed in the future.”
And a related thought…
”Companies that take a long-term view during a difficult time achieved four percentage points higher annual growth during the downturn.”
It’s challenging to look beyond the short-term conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. But there’s measurable hope if you pause (only briefly) and take a “long-term view” during this downturn season.
Actions you can implement now that support how you prepare your dental practice to reopen viable and strong
Evaluate and upgrade your online presence
Begin by evaluating your dental practice website.
- Explore your homepage as if you’re a first time visitor to your site. Is it easy to navigate and fast-loading? Does it contain compelling benefits that keep them reading?
- Briefly review each of your dental service pages. Observe and eliminate any dental-speak that could confuse and cause readers to click-away.
- Confirm that the copy is conversational (like you’re “talking” to one person).
- Check your site’s device-friendliness. Does it adapt to mobile devices? Is it easy to navigate on a smartphone or tablet?
- Review your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Are relevant industry and local keywords peppered throughout (without overstuffing)? Do your pages (e.g. blog pages) contain internal links to other relevant site pages?
- Look for clear, compelling, calls-to-action on each page. Are you asking your site visitors to “schedule,” “contact…,” etc?
- Re-energize your blog page. Are you answering real questions people have about their dental care? Do you publish solution-focused content on a consistent schedule (i.e. weekly or bi-weekly)?
Maintain your patient and public relationships through engaging social media.
- Stay consistently present and front-of-mind via social media. What insights do you gain by social-listening?
- Curate content that your patients would find useful and to engage with patients. Share it (with necessary attribution) on your social media “channels” (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).
- Increase your engagement by replying to likes, shares, and comments on your social media content.
- Keep your social content positive, helpful, and steered-clear of “tone-deafness” (especially during crisis or collective cultural events and circumstances).
Increase your mindfulness regarding online reviews.
- Meet positive reviews with gratitude. Thank them for giving you a thumbs-up!
- Treat negative reviews graciously. Seek clarification and offer a non-combative apology.
- Mine your reviews (positive and negative) for improvement strategies. What does a positive or negative review reveal about your practice culture, chair-side demeanor, team-building, etc? How can you improve your practice systems across all departments (front-desk, clinical, etc)?
Apply innovation to your scheduling and patient communication systems
Circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic can cause you to lose site of the future. While it might seem a distant reality – social distancing will end and patients will schedule their dental care again! Society’s desperation for stability will prompt them to return to renewed norms – like their physical and oral health.
- Evaluate your scheduling techniques. This could be a good time to research and implement an online scheduling option or secure chatbot technology.
“A Pew Research study shows that 77% of people start their search for health information online, and online scheduling enables your patients to schedule an appointment when you aren’t there.”
- Maximize your scheduling opportunities. Who are the “best” patients to schedule once you’re fully operational (post pandemic)?
- Email your patient database routinely during the “lockdown.” Communicate useful oral health information (e.g. curated content you’ve shared on social media or links to content published on your blog). As lifting the quarantine nears, promote scheduling opportunities for vital dental services (e.g. exams, cleanings, etc).
Maximize your technology and dental practice management software capabilities
While your daily operations are currently at a standstill – with exception of emergency dentistry – your available technology and software can remain active. For example, take time to confirm the ROI (Return on Investment) of your dental practice management software capabilities.
- Access and search your patient records for trends. When you have the green-light to open your schedule you’ll have a clearer picture of who’s due for treatment.
- Review your outstanding claims. Electronic claims management systems built into your software can help you uncover errors, track denied claims, and more.
- Clean up your database. Archive inactive patients. Update email addresses. Verify insurance eligibilities and accounts receivables.
Planning a software upgrade…or recently did so prior to the pandemic lockdown?
The right software (at the right time) can increase your team’s efficiency, workflows, and improve patient relationships – including efficient scheduling and data tracking.
The keys: ease of use and training!
- Gather your team for a virtual meeting
- Share your screen to walk them through any trends you’ve noticed or to give them a virtual test-drive of your new system’s capabilities
- Email your team a bullet-point “re-launch/re-open list” to get them on-board with your discoveries or new technology highlights. Provide links to relevant content to orient them to the new environment prior to re-opening.
And if you have an upgrade in mind…
The Dental Dashboard streamlines IT operations and reduces hardware costs.
See these applications and more in action now through…
Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your systems and operational tasks now and when the time is right to re-open your dental practice.