|There used to be a time when people would judge how good their physicians were based on the amount of time it took to get on their schedule. It would go something like this:
“My doctor is so good it takes three weeks just to get an appointment.”
“Well MY doctor is so amazing you can’t get in for four months!”
“Mine is even better – you need to book one year ahead of time!”
“That’s nothing. MY doctor is so unbelievable that no one has ever actually seen them!!”
Same with dentists. You were guaranteed to be the envy of local study club meeting if you told everyone – “I’m booked six weeks out!”
And though there may be a sense of security in seeing your appointment book full into eternity, we have seen that practices which are booked like that tend to plateau or experience very slow growth.
The fact is – if you can’t get new patients in on a timely basis your practice can’t grow – and those all-important new patients may just go somewhere else. Like it or not, the “on demand” mindset that we have all grown so accustomed to works for dental patients as well. When they are ready to come in, they don’t want to wait.
To make matters worse, when new patients actually do schedule, if they have to wait more than a few days to get an appointment their no-show percentage increases dramatically!
So what do you do if you just don’t have enough room in your schedule for new patients and emergencies to come in right away?
First of all, it is essential to have time blocked off in your schedule so that new patients can get in same day or next day. More importantly, there needs to be adequate time in your hygiene schedule. Often this means hiring another hygienist either full or part time. (But please don’t tell us you are bringing in “half a hygienist.” That’s just creepy.)
Sure – their chair may have some empty times at first. But it is still essential to the growth of your practice to have adequate time in your schedule so that new patients, including emergencies, can get in same or next day. And if you have an opening with just a few hours to go, you can always hit the “Potential New Patient” or “VIP Patient” lists to fill it. (What? You don’t have these lists? We need to talk.)
The worst scenario is that every now and then you can have a long lunch, an impromptu team meeting, do some admin / phone work, or knock off early. But if your practice phone skills are up to snuff this won’t happen very often!
Speaking of that, in over thirty years of working with individual practices and doing thousands of “dental secret shopper calls,” we have learned that just about every single practice has a “big steel security door” right in front. All day long potential new patients are screaming “LET ME IN! LET ME IN!” – and we shut the door right in their faces. The crazy thing is, the doctor has no idea that this is happening in their practice! But it is!! You can hear these calls on every episode of The Dental Practice Fixers podcast!
We’ll be sharing strategies to fix this and many other things at a bunch of seminars in the next few months. Why don’t you come out to see us? Here are some upcoming “Madow appearances.”
October 24th, 2019: Joseph Nemeth, DDS Fall Seminar, Livonia, MI
October 26th, 2019: Masterclass For Dentists, Baltimore, MD
November 15th – 16th, 2019: TBSE, Las Vegas, NV
January 10th, 2020: Seattle Study Club, Tampa, FL
January 23rd, 2020: Rocky Mountain Dental Convention, Denver, CO
January 31st, 2020: Special Event to be announced!!
February 20th, 2020: Star of the South, Houston, TX
March 13th, 2020: South Charlotte Study Club, Charlotte, NC
We’d love to see you at one of these!
And remember – the next time some hot shot says to you – “We’re booked six weeks out!” – be sure to respond with…
“Oh – I’m so sorry to hear that. We have tons of new patients and can get them in on the same or next day. That’s why our practice continues to grow!”
P.S. If you have any questions, always feel free to call us at 1-800-258-0060.
P.S. #2: Want to learn more about growing your practice, increasing your income and enjoying dentistry more with Madow Success Coaching? Click here to attend our upcoming Masterclass For Dentists!
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