The world was hit hard with a global pandemic called Corona Virus aka COVID-19.
Dental offices around the world have been ordered to close except for emergency care.
How Can We Recover After COVID-19?
Two important words that come to mind are:
- Communication and
Communicate with your team, with your patients and your community.
Your COVID-19 recovery plan takes a team approach. What has been your norm for communication with your team and your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, I hear this answer from most dental hygienists.
Dental hygienists and most of us, feel stressed during this season of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Communication and collaboration are usually led by the team leader: AKA: The dentist however, most dentists did not go to dental school to be a business owner.
Similar to the economic decline back in 2007, dentists usually don’t grab the bull by the horns, no, they feel “stuck” and many dentists during the economic decline said the phrase, “I feel frozen.”
How do the team members respond to no communication?
How does anyone respond to “frozen?” And how does this serve our purpose to create success in 2020?
Team Members, Dental Hygienists Unite
During difficult and challenging times, when there is no communication, many people feel stressed and fear the worst.
It’s human nature. It’s the way we are wired. Us humans, we like to know what is ahead. We want to look into a crystal ball and see what the end looks like.
Hygienists are my colleagues because I am a dental hygienist, not only a dental hygiene productivity coach.
What I hear from dental hygienists is that their dentist has not contacted them. They are fearful for their future.
They have been furloughed and yet, knowing dental offices are about to open for routine patient care, my dental hygienist colleagues, don’t know what to expect.
Some dental hygienists don’t know what to expect when they do return to routine patient care in their dental “home” or what once felt like “home.”
Your Plan of Action
Step 1. “We are all in this together.”
It may seem like your dentist, practice owner is MIA, however, let’s choose to take the lead.
Since we do more than “clean teeth” and, if we believe that our role as a dental hygienist is extremely valuable and, if we are considered to be like a mini-associate, let’s reach out to the doctor-dental practice owner.
Step 2. Take the lead.
Lead with the end in mind.
We spend more time with our dental team than we do with our actual family members so reach out to your doctor and your other teammates if, you have not done that by now.
Reach out to your doctor/practice owner, with compassion, empathy and an understanding.
Imagine what it feels like to have an elephant on your shoulder. Yes, most dentists have an overhead that runs (for many dentists) 60-70% of their total production.
Imagine how it feels to have bills that equal tens-of-thousands-of dollars, more than you have come into your bank account, month after month.
Yes, some of us have a mortgage and other bills, and yes, many dentists qualified for PPP loans, but that money was not there for a business owner with the snap of a finger.
We are all going through our own stress so let’s have understanding, compassion and empathy for what each one of us may be going through.
If you plan to return to your dental office once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, plan now to reach out to your doctor, your teammates and reach out to your patients.
You will most likely not be paid to reach out to your patients you have been seeing for years; but they miss you! These patients you may not have been in contact with for the past six-weeks, are beginning to wonder about you and the dental practice.
These patients, who you consider your friends, are wondering what you will do differently in your office after COVID-19.
Since they have not heard from your dental office it is very possible they are seeing marketing from another dental office in the community sharing what they are doing differently.
Many offices are spending time and money to revamp their office with special evacuation systems and Hep Filters that run throughout the office.
How do you know they will not choose another dentist during this time because they saw or read about the changes with the patient care at this other office?
If you are not in communication with your patients, another dental office IS sharing their message about what they will do differently after COVID-19.
Communication with your patients is a key factor if you plan to have a schedule with paying patients anytime soon.
Reach out to not only your doctor and patients but your other teammates.
There must be a recovery plan in place.
It may not be the doctor who takes the lead to plan for recovery.
Your recovery plan begins today; actually, it began yesterday.
Call, text, and send newsletters to your patients.
Your patients are people you care about. You have a relationship with them.
Dentistry is not a commodity, it’s a business that thrives on relationships. Relationships with humans who have feelings, emotions and have a positive response to kindness and caring.
Now is the time to let your patients know how much you care about them.
Now is the time to communicate and plan with your team.
Communication with your patients means understanding how your patients like to communicate.
This communication does not have to be a phone call however, that is a great start to connecting with the people you care about.
Your communication can be a text message and even a text message or email with a video message about how much you miss them and can’t wait to see them. Tell your patients what you are going to do differently to keep them safe.
When you use newsletters and/or email, patients love and feel emotions when you include pictures and video messages. Imagine how much a simple 30-60 second video message from a team member will mean to your patient.
And imagine the impact of a video message from the dentist- owner of your dental practice.
I am positive that no other dental office in your community has sent patients a video message that appears authentically kind and caring.
When a doctor is able to send a video message to their patients it will make a huge impact.
Your video message can be a generic message and it will still pertain to every patient. This will be one general message but delivered to all patients.
Your message is to let patients know you miss them; you hope to see them soon and let them know to check your website for all the PPE and office changes you have made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When anyone goes to your website you must let everyone know what you are doing differently after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Include your pre-assessment and all office forms on your website so patients can easily complete these. When the patients complete their forms they should be able to easily return to your office and the information is synced with your practice management software.
Use pre-assessments before patients enter into your front door after COVID-19.
Implementing one or all of these suggestions will set you apart from other dental offices in your community.
Why Should a Team Member/Employee Take the Lead?
Your recovery plan may become for the dentist because dentists did not go to dental school to be a business owner.
Now is the time to take the lead and plan to recover.
You can’t wait another day to connect and communicate with your patients.
You may also plan to join one of the hundreds of webinars-trainings as a team and this can help turbo-charge your plan to recover after COVID-19.
This is not a time to wave your white flag and surrender.
Now is the time to get your head out of the sand and create your success plan for 2020!
Without a plan, you will plan to fail.
Let’s do this.
We are all in this together and you got this!
Let me know if you need more information about sending video text messages to your patients and I will share a special eBook with you that outlines how to do this now and then after the pandemic.
Video texting and emails are the way to get your patients attention. Video messaging is the most popular communication method in today’s world.
Email me at email@example.com
What does your office have a plan to schedule the backlog of patients you had to reschedule during COVID-19?
Plan to join our training? We have for the doctor and the entire team.
Join us and start to create your recovery plan after COVID-19.
Registration and more information are found here.
This is a webinar-based training. Your tuition includes a ZOOM log in for each paid registrant, handouts, eBooks and other bonuses.
After the webinar series is complete you have access to a website with all of your training information at your fingertips.
Tuition also includes 6 Live CE Credits.
See you there!
Schedule a FREE Profit Boosting Session Here today or call our office to schedule: 949-351-8741
ABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder and CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is also a former dental hygiene program director. Her expertise is optimizing the hygiene department by taking a total team approach; including the doctor as the leader.
Please check out the FREE RESOURCE on treating the gingivitis patient which also leads to a CE Course on Gingivitis (2 CE Credits). Grab a FREE RESOURCE here today because when you do, you will be one of the first to know about our FREE Training RE: Treating the Gingivitis Patient.