By John K. McGill, CPA, MBA, JD
Many doctors have reported record production months recently, due to pent-up demand from previously cancelled appointments during pandemic shut-downs. However, since many hygiene patients were forced to reschedule their appointments, the normal influx of hygiene patients 6 months later has now dwindled, resulting in holes in the hygiene schedule. Since most dentist production stems from hygiene checks, this short-term hygiene problem could turn into a longer-term doctor production shortfall unless properly addressed. Try the following three strategies to plug these production holes.
Contact inactive patients – Reach out to patients who haven’t been seen since February by their preferred method (telephone, email, text, or regular mail) to schedule their next hygiene appointment. If necessary, expand this to include patients who haven’t been seen over the past two years and are now considered inactive. While some may have moved way, or even switched to another practice, the vast majority are still out there with significant unmet dental needs.
Appoint one staff member to contact inactive patients and invite them back to your practice. Let them know you’ve missed them, and inform them of new practice developments such as COVID-19 precautions, expanded procedures offered, and new flexible payment options you now offer. Provide a staff member’s name and phone number to contact in order to schedule. Follow up with additional phone calls to the extent necessary to recover these inactive patients.
Contact patients with unused insurance benefits – Contact existing patients with unmet dental needs and inform them of their unused insurance benefits which will expire on December 31. Many of them may be feeling cash-strapped right now due to the uncertain economy. Informing them about their expiring benefits may be just the spark needed to bring them back in.
Follow-up on treatment recommended but not accepted – Contacting patients to remind them about treatment previously recommended, but not yet accepted, is one of the fastest ways to plug production holes to reach full (100%) capacity. Expand flexible payment options to help them “say yes” during these challenging economic times. Allow them to pay their portion of the fee in monthly payments of $150-$200 (provided they’re automatically drafted from their bank account or charged to their credit card) which will dramatically improve affordability and increase your conversion rate.
John K. McGill, CPA, MBA, JD
John K. McGill, CPA, MBA, JD is a nationally prominent tax attorney and CPA who has specialized in dealing exclusively with the dental profession for more than 30 years. He is President of John K. McGill & Company, Inc., Editor of The McGill Advisory newsletter and shareholder in the law firm of McGill and Hassan, P.A. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
This article was reprinted with permission from The McGill Advisory, a monthly newsletter with online resources devoted to tax, financial planning, investments, and practice management matters exclusively for dentists and specialists, published by John K. McGill & Company, Inc. (a member of The McGill & Hill Group LLC). Visit www.mcgilladvisory.com or call 888.249.7537 for further information.