The past few months have been a difficult time for most businesses. I work with business owners in a broad range of industries, but many of my clients are dentists. Since March, I’ve been dealing with the highs and lows of the pandemic, the shut downs, and when practices may get back to taking care of their patients. Workplace culture and communication are my sweet spots which is why many discussions involve how we communicate with staff about what to expect.
Today I was having lunch with my wife at our favorite restaurant, the kitchen. She is a manager for a call center that answers inbound messages for many types of industries. Right now their biggest struggle is with small medical practices which include dentists. Why? The practices have not done an effective job following up with patients who call in with questions about their care. Many times a patient has called in with a question about their appointment only to have no one follow up from the practice.
I understand right now is a time of uncertainty. It is difficult to have an answer for someone else when you may not even know yourself. That said you need a communication plan for what your patients should expect from you. To ensure you don’t lose appointments please be sure to do the following:
– Work out a follow up procedure: Make sure your patients are contacted within a timely manner.
– Use contact tools like MailChimp, or other mailing program to keep everyone up to date.
– Share any new check in procedures prior to opening your doors.
– Address any concerns with your staff ahead of seeing patients.
– Be aware of how different behaviors react to stress and change. Give people time to adapt.
– Stay proactive. Be prepared for when you can go back to ‘normal’ operations.
As we get ready to start working again, please keep in mind restarting your practice is a multi-faceted process. Plan your communication so you can avoid stress and confusion from your patients as they seek out treatment.