1. As the economy recovers, you will now find patients will schedule to receive more treatment or in general the treatment they have put off. What are your plans to get these patients thinking about this now? What will you do to keep them informed and not disappear from the schedule just because they don’t have money to schedule treatment?
2. The workplace model of “same time, same place” will continue to disappear. We are all connected (Just a google search away) regardless of our physical location. Corporate work activities throughout the world, will be distributed across central offices, remote locations, and community locations. Speaking to the corporate world in general; the typical eight-hour workday will be spread across a 14 plus hour window to allow us to work with colleagues abroad or just across the continental divide; while also attending to our needs at home.
Some of our dental clients this year have already taken on more hours or varied their work hours to accommodate patients who are not in a position to leave the office for a dental appointment in the middle of the day. Due to our current economic climate, some offices have chosen to close during the middle of the day due to a sluggish schedule. During this down time, the team found other activities such as exercise or volunteering at the school. By shifting to this type of schedule it kept their production at status quo.
This solution has worked well for some offices this year. For offices that didn’t close down in the middle of the day but remained open longer hours it worked best to have team members over lap during these longer hours. Some offices that did close down during the middle of the day hump had team members that volunteered to work part-time.
These changes have allowed some of the team members to be home when their children return from school; while other team members prefer to work the later hours. Most, but not all of these scenarios, are offices with multiple doctors who were willing to alternate their schedules. It is not for everyone but for those who have made compromises throughout these difficult times, it has worked to increase their profits. Now, when the economy recovers they will reap the benefits of the additional hours and even close the gap of downtime during the middle of the day.
Again, this may not be good for a small one doctor office, but for larger offices and multiple doctors; it has worked well.
Another opportunity I came across was utilizing a remote front office assistant. This is a person who is virtually there to answer the phone; even when the real front office team member can’t physically pick up the phone. Now another live person is able to pick up the call and give personalized service.
3. Active Baby Boomers will force a new definition of retirement:
Although the majority of Boomers are reaching official retirement age; many have no intention of leaving the workforce, opting instead for non-traditional careers that allow them to give back to society. This is a great way of marketing your dental practice known as internal marketing. Some marketing companies suggest you market your practice by giving back to your community. This is a great way to get your dental business known as one that is a real part of the community. Think of ways that give you and the team a chance to work directly with the community. Think of this as a way to “give back”. Team members or members of your team who are thinking of retirement may enjoy this type of interaction and part-time responsibility for your office.
4.The hot button/HR issue will be employees’ use of social media:
Executives will struggle with their employee’s use of social networking sites at work. Employers may consider rules and regulations that will ensure that organizational resources, property and reputations are not risked.
From personal experience social media marketing does work and it is the hottest and most cost effective way to market your dental practice today. It needs to be a team effort. This is something that needs to be discussed at your annual strategic planning meeting in January 2010.
5. An large influx of graduating dental students (Generation Ys/Millennials) will put intergenerational dynamics on everyone’s radar:
1988-1990 are the biggest birth years in American history; studying and improving how the four generations communicate will prove to benefit us these next 10 years.
How will you learn what changes are necessary to be on the cutting end to be successful in 2010?
Bottom line here: A new decade is just around the corner. What changes will you make with the information available to make a difference? What will you do in 2010 to make it your most profitable year?
What is your Game Plan?
Debra Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
Founder: Dental Practice Solutions