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Why You Should Create A Patient-Centric Message For A Holiday Closing

By Planet DDS
December 15, 2021

Doctor wearing suit, Santa hat, and mask surrounded by holiday decorations



By Dr. Greg Grillo









Everyone needs time away, especially hard-working healthcare providers. But trust is earned incrementally in our professions, and it only takes a single misstep to erode the capital we’ve built. Dental emergencies don’t always pause for the holidays. And when pain strikes, nothing else matters much to patients. They need help, and we’re the first place that comes to mind.







Sometimes patients don’t need immediate treatment, but they’re looking for information. A generic “store will be closed” message or lack of clarity reflects negatively on our brand. Clear, patient-centric messaging resonates through everything we do, post, and record.






We’ve built strategies to help our brands shine when the doors are open. As a result, our patients enjoy exceptional experiences. But the same intention needs to go into preparing for inquiries after hours. Have you ever closed the office for a week without thinking about the calls, website visits, and social media surfing that occur while we’re gone? It happens more than we’d like to admit, and we wind up disconnected from our patients.






A patient-centric message about closing during the holiday season makes an impact in the moment, but it has a cumulative effect that extends beyond the call. Attention to detail separates the good from the great in every industry. A simple strategic adjustment helps:






  • Build a stronger family of patients






When we take care of people, they take care of us. People know when they’re valued, and our practices are more vital when there’s no doubt we’re there for them. A reputation for excellence takes nurturing every month of the year.






  • Generate glowing reviews







People are more likely to stop and leave a review when we’re their hero, and helping distressed patients is heroic. An automated text or email request from a system like



LEGWORK REVIEWS



makes it simple for a satisfied patient to leave a glowing review any hour of the day.







  • Earn the loyalty of new patients







When a new patient needs help, and they find it at our office, we’re likely to see them again. Include first-time visitors in



EMAIL CAMPAIGNS



to reinforce your relationship.



A Business Holiday Message For Clients Of Your Practice



In previous decades, should patients need a dentist during the holidays, they would open the Yellow Pages and call the office. After hours, they’d often get an answering machine and leave a message. Today, patients use a multi-media approach to gather information and find resources. When preparing for the holidays, we should implement these six essential components for a business holiday plan with patient-centric messaging:






1.Use Social Media To Get The Word Out








The time spent on platforms like Facebook and Instagram continues to climb. The average person devotes



145 MINUTES DAILY



, much of it on mobile devices. If you’ve developed a consistent



SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY


, followers expect to hear from you. Create a post that lets people know what’s happening during the holidays, and customize the message to fit your practice and resources.






2. Add A Pop-Up Message On Your Website







LEGWORK WEBSITES



include many integrated features. We’ve added a temporary pop-up window on the top of our homepage for the holidays with information about the office closure and ways patients can get help. At a minimum, a simple message added to the site where it’s visible provides patients with precise information such as when you’ll return to the office and how to email access you.







3. Send A Holiday Email







Consider sending an upbeat holiday email to your active patient database. With just a few clicks in Legwork software, your patients receive a custom message that offers an update on office closures and how quickly they can expect their emails will be answered during your time away. In our practice, we’ve made patients aware of virtual visit options in case we’re out of town and don’t have specific coverage. A holiday email offers another way to connect with patients and encourage them to take other actions, including preventive visits in the new year.






4. Use Old-Fashioned Word-Of-Mouth







As patients move through the office during December, make a brief holiday wish part of the check-out process. Let them know if you’ll be closed, and share any contact information that could be helpful. You could add a simple notice on the counter, statements, or recall reminders.






5. Send Business Holiday Cards







In our digital world, Christmas cards, postcards, and letters delivered physically to our patients’ doors stand out! Your holiday card message is a great space to thank your patients for their loyalty and notify them of your holiday hours. Feel free to include a cheerful greeting that fits your brand and audience, whether that’s “Merry Christmas,” “Happy New Year,” or “Enjoy The Holidays!”






6. Design A Phone Strategy That’s 2022








A thoughtful, informative phone message is a no-brainer, but make sure it’s customized with specifics. Better yet, use this time of year to modernize your phone system. Moving to VoIP opens up exciting features, and



LEGWORK PHONES



takes the functionality to the next level. Customize your call flow with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor that can be updated anytime. You simply outline how an incoming phone call gets handled by choosing from a list of operations, then drag them onto the dial plan. Click “save”, and your changes are set for the holidays.







Consider how it may work should a patient call on a holiday when you’re closed all day: the patient hears a welcome message. If they have an emergency, they choose “1.” If they need payment information, they choose “2.” If they need to leave a message about an appointment, “they choose “3”. If they’re on hold, they’ll hear holiday music in the background. The options are endless. You can set emergency calls for automatic forwarding to another number, too. Sometimes, patients just need reassurance with a phone call or virtual visit.


Need An Office Closed For The Holidays Message Template?



The main aim of using an “office closed for the holidays” template is to keep it simple, specific, and helpful. Start by writing out a message for social media, your website, and email formats. Then, adapt the content to a written script for a phone recording. A script that’s read with a smile conveys a consistent message and ties to the content on other platforms. Spending a few extra minutes developing a closure strategy for when you’re away ensures everyone enjoys a happy holiday season.






The holidays give our team members time to recharge and prepare to hit the ground running in 2022. But the world keeps spinning while we’re away, and patients need to know we’re still there for them now and as we welcome them back with cheers to the new year. A thoughtful message strategy for a holiday closing keeps us connected to our patients and serves them even when we’re away.







* Legwork customers, contact



CUSTOMER SUPPORT



if you need help setting up your office closed for holiday message template in your software automations.