Creative Marketing: 2021 Winter Dental Menu

How many of us ordered take-out and / or curb-side delivery in 2020?

We have, and it got me thinking about how the restaurants and service industry adapted to initiate / increase their revenue.

We can adopt the same strategy in our dental practices. 

Now more than ever before we need to let our existing and potential new patients know we are open for business, but there have been significant changes. 

Provide a seasonal menu or 2021 specials for the New Year. By using unique, current, and familiar marketing strategies like this, your practice becomes memorable. I challenge you to think outside the box and create a menu that is meaningful to you and your community.

Living in a tourist / ski town, I used the attractions in town to itemize the menu as an example.

2021 WINTER MENU

COVID CURBSIDE
• Detail your office and patient protocols for safety and reassurance
• Videos are very effective in communicating with patients that your office has made changes for team and patient safety

MAIN STREET SPECIAL
• Is your smile Camera / ZOOM-ready?
• 50% off in-office whitening with a new patient exam and evaluation

IN-HOUSE SERVICES
• In layman’s terms, list the in-house services your office provides. These are a few my offices have used:
• Whitening, Cosmetic Restorative Solutions, Oral Health Evaluation / Maintenance, Oral / Overall Health Coaching, Replace Missing Teeth, Crowns, Veneers, Various Orthodontics Solutions for straighter teeth…Think simple and creative

SPA DAY
• Appeal to the procedures that are driving dentistry: whiter teeth, straighter teeth, fresh breath
• Add this question onto your health history with three blank lines: “What would you like to change about your smile?” The answers above are 1,2, and 3.
• This is your golden opportunity to marry the patients wants with their needs!
• BOOM…production increased!

HITTING THE SLOPES

GREEN – Free Sonicare brush head when maintenance appointments scheduled in advance & attended regularly

BLUE – Take-home whitening touch up included with your maintenance visit

BLACK – Gift certificate to a restaurant, charity, or store of choice upon completion of prescribed treatment

2021 Copyright Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.

Time to Change the Tires

Winter weather is upon us in Park City, UT. 

One of the changes I make every year is putting snow tires on my car in November. This year, the snow came early and I was not prepared.

For dental practices, the end of the year gives us the opportunity to make necessary changes that will prepare us for Q4 success and beyond.

Having a plan to finish off the year strong will help practices continue to recover. Below are a few strategies to consider.

7 END-OF-YEAR STRATEGIES

  1. Intentionally remind your patient data base to complete inactive treatment to fully utilize their benefits.
    • Keep it lighthearted and use your technology:  text, email, video
  2. Run a report indicating patients that still have remaining benefits to use.
    • Hint:  Many software programs have this feature.
  3. Thank your patients for remaining loyal and wish them well through the holiday season.
    • No strings attached.  Just a simple thank you.
  4. Add additional staff, days, or hours to accommodate the end of year “rush.”
    • Accommodate students on holiday break
    • Help patients maximize insurance benefits
    • Schedule the patients that were postponing due to COVID-19
  5. Thank your referring offices and vendors for the support they continue to demonstrate to your practice.
    • All team appreciation CEU
    • Charitable donation
    • Gift Basket
    • Pay for one month of their uniform cleaning service
  6. Celebrate your practice achievements and recognize / reward the team members for an incredible year under unprecedented circumstances.
    • Plan a fun, all team event
    • Bonus vs annual raise
    • Individual employee choice
  7. Schedule your annual strategic planning meeting with your team.
    • Time to make changes, BEFORE they are needed (think snow tires)

7 Ways to Influence Employee Experiences

DENTAL PRACTICE CULTURE EXISTS WHETHER YOU CREATE IT OR NOT.

Intentionally creating a “Team-Centric” culture and employee experience is the most important action you can take to ensure practice success in these stressful times.

The impact of a strong culture will trickle down into a positive patient experience. Which in turn, creates patient loyalty and retention.

There is no silver bullet to creating culture. ALL team members should be involved!

THE WINNING COMBINATION INVOLVES:

  1. COMMUNICATION

Be open, honest, and empathetic

  1. LEADERSHIP

Create opportunities for team members to lead by focusing on their super powers

  1. ONBOARDING

Take the time to hire the right people who will invest in the practice

  1. OFFBOARDING

How you let someone go is remembered by the team

  1. MENTORSHIP

Structure a support system for all employees

  1. BENEFITS

Provide digital interface, easy-to-use, benefit package options for employees

  1. MISSION STATEMENT

Created, understood, and supported by all team members

As a dental practice leader, maintaining practice health is a delicate balancing act which requires the entire team to embrace: new guidelines, compassion, active listening, and empathy.

Copyright 2020 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.

Being Authentic Builds Your Dental Practice

Dental Professionals Are:

IF YOUR EMPLOYEES AREN’T THRIVING PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, YOUR PRACTICE MAY BE STRUGGLING

According to Gallup Workplace, COVID-19 challenges are influencing your team dynamics. 

Employees are craving clear, honest, direct communication.  The reality is, many employees are disengaged and feeling anxious about their job or career.

Work is a stabilizer in good times, and more so in bad times. Focusing on the team’s wellbeing is essential for better team performance.

The Well Being Five are identified as:

Career         Enjoying your career and having motivation to reach goals

Social           Having supportive relationships

Financial     Stability to decrease stress

Community Feeling safe with a sense of pride

Physical       Health that allows you to complete daily tasks

As a leader, maintaining practice health is a delicate balancing act which requires the entire team to embrace: new guidelines, compassion, active listening, and empathy.

FOCUSES ON PRACTICE WELLBEING BY FOLLOWING THE THREE C’S:

COLLABORATION

Decide as a team the direction the practice is going post COVID-19.

  • Schedule a semi-annual team meeting to evaluate, discuss, and plan the remainder of the year
  • Meetings should follow a specific, timed agenda with each team member participating
  • Utilize engaging strategies such as: polling, breakout rooms, surveys, interactive handouts, and Q&A,
  • Every team member has leadership skills, coach them to shine in their area of expertise

COMMUNICATION

Invest in your team and level up your listening and communication skills.

  • Has your team every worked with a communications coach? 
  • Do you have stand-up (huddles) meetings daily?
  • Are you engaging the team in weekly, monthly and annual meetings?
  • Have you updated your mission statement AND does everyone support it?

CONNECTION

Staying connected and confronting the business of dentistry with our teams is essential.

  • Daily touch points with each team member is a communication must in our new routines
  • The younger employee, the more check-ins needed
  • Provide continual updates on the status of the business
  • Practice empathy, openly, with all employees

BE INSPIRATIONAL

BE AUTHENTIC

ENABLE UNITY

STAY WITHIN THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION

Make Time to Focus ON Your Business

iRONMAN COMMUNICATION TIP

Make time to focus ON your business!

Having grown up in PA, Punxsutawney Phil was a celebratory day every year. Phil is a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. On February 2 , Phil did NOT see his shadow which means spring is on the way and it’s time to come out of hibernation.

Is your practice ready to Spring into action with new marketing tactics?

DENTAL DRILLS

Monthly Promotion

Each Month, promote a special on a selected procedure.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. According to an AAPD national survey, only one in four parents are taking their child to the dentist by his or her first birthday, the age recommended by leading health experts, which means that children’s teeth are at risk. Offer a free new patient exam for children 1 year old. Read more HERE about AAPD focus for February.

Try a New Marketing Platform

Adding a social media platform to your existing marketing plan may help you reach a wider range of existing and potential patients.

· YouTube Channel

· Twitter

· Instagram

· Facebook Page

Try posting a short video, VLOG, instead of a blog or newsletter.

Newsletter Brag

Have you implemented new technology or a new procedure into your office menu? Shout it from the roof top…or add it into your VLOG, so people know you are up-to-date with the latest and greatest!

ARE YOU GETTING TO THE ROOT OF YOUR PROBLEM?

Have you surveyed your patients on their preferred method of communication? According to ZipWhip, ALL generations prefer confirmation via text. Research shows that SMS (text) open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails. And, on average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS LISA?

My dad turned 95 years old with a surprise party hosted by my sister. As a traditionalist, he was raised on a farm in Lancaster PA, Pennsylvania Dutch territory. His mother passed away when he was 14 and his father and siblings ran the farm. He served in WWII at age 17, on the USS Alaska.  Married to my mom for over 50 years and retired from a lifelong career at the Bell Telephone Company after 50 plus years of  employment. His stories  of life and hardship are amazing. Our family wanted for nothing and lived a very modest lifestyle. 

Knowing what my dad has experienced in his life, when I work with traditionalists in my audience or dental practice, I always take the time to show my respect and get to know where they came from and what’s important to them.  It means so much to them and improves our relationship exponentially.

Happy birthday dad.  He is aspiring to hit 100!

Creating Customer-Centric Experiences

A CUSTOMER SERVICE HERO

Harold opened the door for me at 6 am as I struggled to carry a 35-pound box, my computer bag, and supplies for my presentation that day. Here’s how the conversation went: Harold:
Good Morning Miss Lisa, are you ready for your big day? Me:
Good Morning Harold. How are you today? Do you have a cart that I could borrow to take my supplies to my room? Harold:
I am sorry Miss Lisa but we do not have a cart for you. You look very fit and strong. I know you can make it. The room is real close. Harold:
I am sorry Miss Lisa but we do not have a cart for you. You look very fit and strong. I know you can make it. The room is real close. Harold:
I am sorry Miss Lisa but we do not have a cart for you. You look very fit and strong. I know you can make it. The room is real close. Me: (In my head): He’s right! I can do this! So I off I went towards the stairs.
I got to the third step and my shoe started to slip off of my heel. I stopped, re-grouped, put the box on the railing, and slide it down as I navigated the steps. Harold: (watching and cheering): That’s it Miss Lisa, keep going.
When you get to the bottom of the stairs, turn left!
Now, turn right Miss Lisa and keep going down that hall…you are almost there!

MEET HAROLD
The master of creating a positive customer experience at the Colorado Convention Center.
He greets everyone with a smile and a positive attitude.
Harold knows all of the convention details, gives every person his undivided attention, and makes sure they get the answers they want and need. On the first day of the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention, he knew, and remembered my name.
By the second day, he knew: I was a speaker, where I was from, and how long I’d be in Denver! On the last day, he bid me safe travels and hoped I would come back to see him soon.

ATTITUDE
What if, we all had the customer-centric approach like Harold?
His positivism impacted me so much, I told this story during my workshop at the Rocky Mountain Dental Conference that same day.
He is a customer service hero and I will always remember him. If every one of our dental patients and team members felt that special every day, we would have an amazingly happy and productive practice.

Let’s commit to creating positive team and patient-centric experiences in our dental practice every day.

Copyright 2020 Lisa Copeland. All rights reserved.

It’s Time to Break Up

Dear Sugar, I am breaking up with you!
From late October to Jan 1, I typically develop a bad habit of eating more sugar, in every form imaginable.
Holiday cookies are my weakness. What’s yours?
As we start the new year, think about the habits that we have developed in our practices and ask your team:
• Why are we doing it this way?
• What can we do to improve?

BREAKING UP WITH OFFICE HABITS

First, we must be honest with ourselves as a team and reveal the things we are doing that may be toxic to our practice health. Below are two examples of what I call Detect and Correct.

Detect: Do you continually run late?
• According to Dentistry Today, research shows that if a patient waits more than 20 minutes for their scheduled appointment, their overall experience at your office is negative. They are also less likely to follow through with recommended treatment.

Correct:
• Use a scheduling template, and stick to it, that realistically schedules the amount of time needed for practitioner / procedure length. Keep in mind that we all perform procedures differently. This takes some thought and adjustment to get dialed in, but well worth it.
• Respecting the patients time is critical. Be honest. Let the patient know you are running behind as soon as you know. If it is, or will be, longer than 15 minutes, give the patient a gift card with a sincere apology. Continue to keep them updated. Offer to reschedule if necessary.

Detect: How do you address patient apprehension and fear?
• Sometimes, we become casual about addressing patients fears. It may seem trivial to us, because we hear the same concerns quite often. However, the perception is very real and very important to our patients! We should be acknowledging their concerns.

Correct:
• Take the time to ask the patient “how are you feeling about the appointment today?” If they express any concern, dive a little deeper into the issue and assure them you will do everything you can to keep them comfortable throughout the appointment. Also, give them permission and a signal they can use at any time if they are feeling anxious.

CONCLUSION

Start the new year off right. Break up with old habits and develop new, healthy practice habits. Change takes recognition, accountability, and support from the entire team. Let’s do this together!

Opportunity’s Knocking… Are You Opening the Door?

After living for 20 years in Seattle, my husband and I moved to Park City. It was a huge decision, but one we were ready to make!
Working together as a team, we strategically made a plan to seize opportunities to embrace our new location and life. We joined mountain biking groups that reveal the amazing, local trails to us. When we see a neighbor walking by, we introduce ourselves. If asked to join in on an event, we say YES! And lastly, we are trying to invite new friends to dinner once a month.
In order to make this our new home, we had to initiate change.
It’s all about creating and seizing the opportunities that are available

OPPORTUNITIES

The “O” in my iRONMAN Principles of Communication represents the abundant opportunities in any dental practice.Recognizing, then implementing, changes regularly will increase productivity in your office.

As a dental business, do you regularly observe your practice from a patient perspective…and make changes?


During your next team meeting create a field trip activity.
Start by having each team member (or partners) participate in a walk-through of the entire office.
List all the opportunities they observe in every aspect of your business: rooms, décor, departments, equipment, communication. Feel free to add categories to this list.

Here’s the challenge…instruct each team member to observe from the patients’ perspective, taking in to consideration the type of patients you want to attract to your practice.

GETTING STARTED

RECEPTION AREA:

Update carpet / furniture / wall hangings / art
When was that picture hung?
Is the furniture well-worn or difficult for a senior patient to use?


Declutter the receptionist desk to boost productivity
According to SmallBizTrends.com less desk clutter makes you more productive.

Implement new technology for scheduling, check-in, and collecting patient information
Update / implement dental software programs to attract younger clientele and also boost production.
Lighthouse is a dental program that I have seen transform practice production significantly. A few of the features to note are: bring in new patients, reactivate dormant patients, patients return regularly, and my favorite, the cancellation fill-in.

OPERATORY:

Maintain and update instruments / equipment regularly

Clear counters for easy room flip and to decrease contamination

ADA Accessible?
Can you accommodate patient / team members with disabilities?


People commonly think of the physical barriers associated with ADA, but there’s more to it… for example, the new, more inclusive logo.

Learn more here about ADA requirements for effective communication.

While I am not the expert on ADA compliance, I can relate and offer guidance in the communication aspect!

STERILIZATION:

Organize the room flow to maximize the sterilization processes


Label shelves / cupboards / products and create a tag-system for re-ordering supplies
Many dental companies provide this service free of charge if you are an existing customer.


Sound-Proof or isolate the sterilization room so patients cannot see / hear the production
Every office I have worked in; the sterilization room was like the office water cooler gathering place. What we forgot about was that the patients could hear our conversations!
I don’t know any dental practice that doesn’t get behind in the sterilization process occasionally and things tend to pile up. By having an easy access barrier on the entrance, you shield the area from the patient’s vision.

CONCLUSION

My challenge to you is to level-up your practice by embracing opportunistic change.
Select a few ideas from the team field trip lists and collaborate on implementation.
Keep in mind that some of the opportunities may need to be planned for in the budget.
Small adjustments can be cost efficient and often have as much of an impact as a larger investment.
Find the balance and start this week by opening the door for opportunity.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland. All rights reserved.