Prepare Your Dental Practice for the Fourth Quarter With These Quick Tips

September 12, 2016 Paul Mauer

The weather's cooling down, the kids are back in school, and Halloween decorations will soon be reappearing in your practice. That’s right dentists and office managers, it’s that time of the year again. Welcome to Q4!
While the fourth quarter of the year is typically regarded as a stressful year-end sprint to hit goals and balance checkbooks, it certainly doesn’t have to be! There are countless opportunities to increase dollars in production, boost patient loyalty, and tighten up your marketing initiatives before the new year. 
If you’re feeling at a loss on how to leverage the last months of 2016 to maximize your practice, take a look at this 5 point checklist. Bonus: We’ve made this article into a downloadable graphic, so that you can make sure you’re getting your money's worth out of the most profitable quarter of the year.
Holiday Discounts: 
Not only do discounts and sales massively boost production, they also endear your patients further to your practice. Patients feel appreciated when they’re given a special deal for being a part of your practice – which means increased patient loyalty and patient retention.
Consider discounting teeth whitening treatments for the upcoming holiday parties or cavity fillings for that post-Halloween candy binge.
Free Money!
As the year closes out, so do many patients remaining insurance benefits. If they haven’t taken advantage of every dollar they’ve been given towards their dental health, they’re throwing cash down the drain.
Consider sending out postcards and email blasts to your patient list to remind them to take advantage of their remaining benefits. Encourage them to look in to their insurance plans and ask their employers if they don’t know exactly how many dollars they have available. You’ll see a huge boost in production from this small effort!
PS: Lighthouse 360 has an optimized template for exactly this situation.
Stay Open Later
Your team might take some motivating on this one – however, taking one or two days a week to stay open a few hours later can accommodate the last-minute rush of patients who work full-time. This can stack with your discount promotion and end-of-year insurance benefits newsletter to queue up a long line of patients.
Staying open just two hours later than usual two days out of the week means a serious increase in production, and your patients will feel appreciated to have you working around their schedule. Also, consider staying open on a Saturday. Weekend availability opens your practice up to a huge subsection of patients who simply don't have time during the week.
Just don’t forget to buy your team some pizza afterwards! 
Prioritize Patient Reactivation 
Promotions aside, there’s bound to be some slower days as your patients travel around to see their families and celebrate holidays. When your office manager has down time, help them prioritize what matters most: patient reactivation.
It’s no secret that patient reactivation is one of the easiest ways to boost production (see this article on patient reactivation for more information). Unfortunately, office managers typically don’t have time to tend to this task on top of their hectic day-to-days. Have a weekly meeting with your team about the importance of patient reactivation, and consider setting weekly goals to hit.
Bonus: Couple your patient reactivation efforts with your discounts, year-end benefits newsletter, and increased hours to reel your dormant patients back in.
Get a Jump on the New Year
If you only start thinking about your marketing and operations efforts in January, you’ll fall behind quickly. Take Q4 to review performance data from the past year and past goals and recalibrate your team. What was your average recall, how many cancellations were there, and how many no-shows did you have? If you notice significant problems, you can build solutions in to your goals for 2017.
Additionally, consider collaborating on a marketing plan for the new year with your team. You should look to double down on social media and email marketing efforts, as well as planning out what promotions and sales you can offer on next year’s treatments.  
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