Every dental business faces fluctuations during the holidays. Starting in the fall, patients become busy with school, family, and travel. Making time for dental appointments seems impossible — if it’s on their minds at all.
Unfortunately for you as a dental business owner, their busy lives can lead to a dip in your business revenue. So, what can you do?
“Understanding the seasonal trends that impact your dental practice is just the first step. The next step (and the real power) lies in leveraging these insights to enhance operational efficiency, boost patient satisfaction, and ultimately increase profitability. By aligning your practice's operations with these patterns, you can capitalize on natural patient flows and demands.” -Pearly Co.
When you recognize the patterns that affect your practice, you can proactively address them, ensuring that your clinic remains financially healthy throughout the year.
To get you started, we’ve collected 3 tips for how to get ahead of dental revenue fluctuations during the holiday season. Let’s dive in.
1. Prioritize dental recare
Dental recare refers to the process of ensuring patients regularly schedule and attend their routine dental check-ups. It's an essential concept for dental practices because it not only helps their patients maintain oral health but also contributes to steady revenue streams for their businesses.
This requires your team to continuously keep up patient engagement by reaching out to patients, sending out reminders, and making follow-up calls to get them on the calendar. Especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, patients need to be reminded that they’re due for a cleaning, treatment, or follow-up appointment.
Automated systems for appointment reminders can streamline the dental recare process to make it easier for both your patients and your team.
Additionally, you can offer online booking systems for added convenience and accessibility.
2. Help patients use expiring dental benefits before the end of the year
As the end of the year approaches, it's essential to help patients understand the limitations of their dental insurance benefits. Many insurance plans operate on a “use it or lose it” basis, meaning any unused benefits will expire on December 31, not roll over into the next year.
This is an opportunity for your team to reach out to patients and encourage them to get into the chair before their benefits run out.
Proactive communication about insurance benefits can gently nudge patients into making the most of their coverage. While ensuring your patients are aware of their unused benefits, your team can prioritize treatments that can be completed within the year.
Here are 2 ways to approach your patients to use their benefits:
Explain they are letting “free” money go to waste by not meeting their benefits maximum. For example, you find your patient has a maximum amount of coverage, typically around $1,500 per year. If they use only $200 of it this year, the difference of $1,300 is lost forever.
Help your patients be strategic about dividing up their treatments to make the most of their maximum. Help your patients save money by being strategic about dividing up their benefits maximum between this year and the next. This is truly the most logical way to get them in the chair before the end of the year — and have them return to the chair within a few months.
You can also offer extended hours or additional appointment slots during peak times to accommodate patients looking to maximize their benefits without compromising on essential treatments.
3. Take advantage of school vacation days to get kids into your dental office
If you’re a parent, you know that when your child is off from school, it’s not exactly a vacation.
But extended school breaks during the holiday season present a rare opportunity for dental practices. Parents are often off from work and seeking activities to keep their children occupied during this time, making it an ideal period for them to bring their kids into your dental office.
Offer appointment slots where multiple family members can come in together to make the trip more convenient for parents. This consolidation of appointments can maximize operational efficiency and ensure a heavy flow of patients during the holiday season.
Don’t miss this golden opportunity to engage young patients with fun and educational activities related to dental care. This will benefit your dental practice, and also contribute to a positive work culture, fostering a welcoming and family-friendly environment.
The holidays don’t have to be your slow months for dental revenue
The holiday season doesn't have to result in a slowdown of dental revenue. By prioritizing dental recare, helping patients use their dental benefits before year-end, and capitalizing on school vacation days, your dental practice can maintain a healthy, steady cash flow throughout the holiday season.
Adapting and innovating to serve your patients better is key to overcoming seasonal financial challenges and fluctuations.
Revenue cycle management (RCM) services are a great tool for dental leaders looking to maintain organized and profitable workflows through the holidays — and collect all they can from insurance companies and patients before the year’s end.
DCS offers a suite of RCM services for private dental practices, emerging groups, and DSOs that will help you collect confidently for consistent cash flow.