Summer is officially here! The season of fireworks, family vacations and backyard barbecues is always exciting, but that long-awaited beach holiday shouldn’t distract you from managing your dental practice.
In fact, summer can be one of the busiest times of the year for dentists. Instead of being in school, kids are swimming, going to camp and playing summer sports—which increase their risk of dental injuries. Families are more likely to miss dental appointments due to vacations and other summer scheduling conflicts. As a result, it’s important to adjust your practice to make sure things continue to run smoothly.
Here are some things to keep in mind when managing your dental practice in the summer.
1. Pay Attention to the Schedule
One of the most important things to do during the summer is to closely monitor your dental team’s schedule. Your office staff will inevitably want to take time off to celebrate the summer, so try to encourage them to avoid vacations in late August, which is typically the busiest time for dental practices in the summer. With kids preparing to go back to school at the end of the month, many parents try to squeeze in a cleaning or procedure before their children’s schedules become packed again. Communicating well with your team during the summer will help ensure that your business does not become frantic because too many employees are absent.
2. Avoid Cancelled Appointments
It’s very common for patients to have scheduled their summer dental appointments many months in advance, possibly even before they planned their summer vacations. Because of this, many patients cancel. One good way to prevent dental appointment cancellations during the summer months is to remind patients of upcoming appointments in June. That way, if a patient’s vacation plans do interfere, they are able to reschedule well in advance. When rescheduling, stress the importance of the appointment. If a patient hears that you “want to make sure they get their cleaning done before going on vacation,” they’re less likely to cancel. This also shows the patient that your dental practice cares.
3. Consider Holiday Hours
Holiday hours are a great way to accommodate your busy summer schedule. Not only do they make more room for new or rescheduled appointments, but they also allow for dental emergencies. With activities like mountain biking and hiking gaining popularity once the weather warms up, summer is prime time for oral injuries. According to Dentistry IQ, there’s a 66.15% increase in dental emergency visits on Memorial Day. Making space for emergency visits can help increase cash flow without interrupting regular planned appointments.
4. Host A Summer-Themed Event
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, special events and promotions are always a good way to draw in new dental patients, especially in the summer. Of course, it’s always good to provide some incentive for people to come, such as a 20% off summer dental cleaning coupon. If you’d rather not discount your own services, try reaching out to popular local businesses for gift cards and other fun prizes to make things exciting and appeal to local patients.
5. Don’t Stop Advertising
Lastly, summer is always a great time to advertise your dental practice. A big misconception in any business is that strong advertising is no longer necessary when your practice gets busy. However, the best time to advertise is just before your practice gets busiest. For retailers, that’s usually early August, when back-to-school specials are in full swing, and it’s no different for dental practices. Ramping up marketing by offering a referral discount program will help you promote your business and secure new patients for the fall, when business typically slows down again.