One of the lockdown side effects for some dental practices is downtime.
This can be nerve wracking and frustrating for most, if not all. Luckily, this quiet period can create opportunities for you and your team to establish operational resilience.
1. Stay safe and compliant
Be vigilant about staying on top of all infection prevention and control protocols, guidelines, and training. Review and update your policy and procedures manual as a team. Identify any areas where your team may require additional training and help them up-skill or improve.
2. Map out your future recalls
With appointments being rescheduled and pushed back, dive into your appointment books and review all of your active patients who could be scheduled in for their appointments in the next three to six months. Depending on the dental restrictions in your area, you can follow up on patients who are already on a treatment plan and need to come back in to complete it.
3. Review your KPIs and numbers
Take the advantage of this quiet period to dig into your P&L reports, review your case acceptance rates, or analyse and identify the potential gaps in your practice. This will help you objectively see how your practice has been doing and spot some of the areas that you need to improve to get better results. Making an effort to catch up on how your practice has been doing will help you set business growth goals and map out a strategy to get back on track when business can resume as usual. This downtime can be an opportunity to systemise your business and prepare to grow to the next level once the lockdown is over.
4. Plan for your re-opening and recovery
Lockdowns will hopefully come to pass at some point, so take advantage of your downtime and map out a plan to get your practice back on track. Whether it’s a marketing campaign for new patients or diving into patient reactivation campaigns, start thinking about the best course of action. That plan will help your practice accelerate its recovery and get back to business as soon as possible.
5. Start considering or mapping out a business continuity plan
It’s always good to be ready and stay ready. If lockdowns have taught us anything in the past year, it’s to always be prepared for emergency situations and to have a contingency plan. You need to continue to run your business and treat patients in any circumstances. Especially if you’re a practice owner, take this opportunity during your downtime to map out your business continuity plan. That plan will outline the processes, procedures, decisions, and activities that will ensure your dental practice can continue to function through an operational interruption—not just this pandemic. This is a key difference with businesses that last long term: they are prepared for difficult times and adapt their approach.
6. Update your website and social media channels
Many dental practices often neglect their websites over time, despite it being one of the main channels for patients to find an appointment. Make it a point to review and update your website—and social media channels too, if you have them—with accurate information about your operation hours and contact information. You might also like to provide more information about teledentistry and after hours appointments. Whatever it may be, take this chance to look at your own practice’s website and identify any areas that need a bit of an update.
7. Train and up-skill your team
If there are days where you aren’t in the practice, up-skill yourself by engaging in online courses or workshops that can help you and your team excel. Whether it’s a clinical course, practice management workshop, or even online tutorials on how to manage social media channels or email marketing. Any training will not only help your team develop themselves professionally, but also contribute to the practice’s recovery and ongoing growth.
8. Be there for your team
Last but not least, BE THERE for one another. These are difficult times indeed, which is why it’s so important to support each other. Schedule short phone calls or morning huddles via Zoom and check in with one another. Be sure to chat with everyone to see how they’re doing physically and mentally. Encourage each other to practice self care and maintain a regular exercise routine. Encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. By caring for everyone as a team during these challenging times, you will naturally foster a stronger bond in your workplace.
As they say: there’s always a silver lining in every dark cloud.
Just because you can’t physically be in the practice, doesn’t mean you cannot work on your practice and business.
Making the best out of your downtime over the lockdowns will not only address the tasks that may have been long neglected, but you will also fast track your practice’s recovery for when business can resume as usual.