After 'surviving' both a supermarket frenzy and local fresh food market full of crazed shoppers this morning the feeling of 'panic' is palpable.
I know, 'what was I thinking'?
Never before have we faced such 'fear'. Whether we agree with this 'over the top' reaction it is real and we now have to deal with the consequences.
So of course dental appointments are not a priority for our patients'. Which is why at the peak of this current panic we have all seen massive numbers of cancellations this week.
Take a long deep breath, This is not the 'end of the world' even though it feels like it.
These are the most immediate steps I believe we need to take to keep patients coming in to see us:
Communicate openly and clearly - in writing displayed in the practice + via email or text to all of your patients. Start with patients who have a current appointment in the next 2 weeks and then keep looking ahead and repeat the process.Messages to your patients
that the practice is one of the most hygienic places they can be, they are safe coming in for their appointment.keeping up with their dental health is very important to strengthen immunity and for overall health.review patient file notes to see if they have decay; gum disease; broken teeth or infection that must be treated as soon as possible.offer payment plans if that is an issue right now & the reason for cancelling.if patients have private health cover encourage them to use this cover & to keep themselves healthy.take the time with each & every patient, don't be in a hurry. Add value to the patient experience; explain your immediate dental concerns that may impact on overall health. Such as patients' with heart conditions must keep their teeth & gums clean just like a type 1 diabetic must have regular pedicures to prevent infection.focus on the patient; their age; health condition; life situation etc and see where you can highlight to them that keeping their appointment is necessary for their quality of life.
Help patients get to your practice. Many patients' are cancelling because they don't want to use public transport or they have been asked to work from home. So why not think about buying some Uber credits or Cab vouchers and offer these to your patients'. Spending this small amount is way less expensive than losing the appointment.
By Erica King