How to run a stress-free dental practice this holiday season

November 24, 2014

The holiday season is in full swing, and we all know that can often mean it’s a stressful time of year. With holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and shopping runs taking up a majority of your time, running your business can sometimes take a back seat. As dentists, this stress can be compounded with an influx of patients trying to get their appointments in before the end of the year.

The holiday season is in full swing, and we all know that can often mean it’s a stressful time of year. With holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and shopping runs taking up a majority of your time, running your business can sometimes take a back seat. As dentists, this stress can be compounded with an influx of patients trying to get their appointments in before the end of the year.

This year, don’t let the holiday season stress you out. I have a few easy tips that can help you make the most of your time and eliminate some unnecessary stress in your life.

Reduce your number of broken appointments

Broken appointments are unavoidable, but when they occur during a busy time of year, they can become a larger nuisance as it’s often harder to reschedule. Now, all of a sudden, you have a hole in your day where you could have been seeing a patient.

During the holiday season, it’s important to realize that your patients are often busy too, and sometimes all they need is a small reminder of their appointment. Have your front desk staff call or e-mail the day before an appointment to give a friendly reminder, or use your marketing systems to automatically send out a phone call, text, or e-mail. Spending just a small amount of time doing this can help eliminate the possibility of waiting around for a patient who never shows.

RELATED ARTICLE: 2 steps to controlling cancellations in your practice

Keep your appointments on schedule

Staying on schedule is critical to a successful and stress-free day, especially during a busy time of year. One appointment that runs over can cause every appointment after it to start late, which creates stressed staff and unhappy patients.

To combat scheduling issues, it’s imperative that your front desk staff knows how much time to allot for each type of appointment. You also need to take into account at what pace your hygienists like to work. Some practices prefer to book appointments back-to-back, while others schedule a little time in between each one. Make sure to communicate the scheduling expectations at a morning huddle or on a weekly basis with your team.

RELATED ARTICLE: Simple tips to deepen connections with your patients

Set clear goals and expectations with staff

Before the holiday rush begins, it’s essential to set clear guidelines for vacation day policies and what days the office will be open over the season. If there are days when staff members are not allowed to take off, it’s always best to mention them well ahead of time so team members are well aware and prepared. This gives employees time to plan their vacation days around work and lowers the risk of an unhappy team down the road.  This also ensures your office can be fully operational during those hectic weeks.

Stay relaxed

What’s the best solution to combat stress? Stay relaxed. Remember that the holidays are a time to enjoy friends and family and also a great time to catch up with patients who you may not have seen for a while.  

To make the most of this holiday season, practices need to have strategies in place to keep things running status quo. So before making that Black Friday shopping run, think about how these tips can help your practice this season.

More from the author: 6 tips for better case acceptance

Note: This article is sponsored by Patterson Dental as part of the Dental Practice Management Partner Voice Program, which provides a way for leading dental manufacturers to share quality content with our audience. Patterson Dental offers a wide range of dental products including Eaglesoft Practice Management SoftwareCAESY Patient Education Systems and the RevenueWell marketing communications suite, which are backed by the renowned support and customer service team at the Patterson Technology Center. With multiple support options and more than 125 years experience in the dental industry, Patterson has the resources and expertise to help customers and practices reach their greatest potential.