Remain focused and seek help if needed
Hazel Adams talks about the challenging times and has great advice for dental practitioners.
Dental practices are experiencing extremely difficult and challenging times. This includes putting plans in place for getting back to the new normal. There may be many issues to face such as:
- Financial constraints
- Uncertainty about the future of the practice
- Health concerns for both you and your staff
- Retaining patients moving forward.
One thing is for certain, to succeed, you will need to move quickly to rebuild your practice. It is paramount that you deliver an outstanding patient experience when your doors reopen. This begins with looking after your staff:
- Welcome your staff back and ask about their wellbeing
- Reassure them in terms of the steps you have taken to make the practice safe for both them and your patients
- Share your plans for taking the practice forward and how important their contributions are to the success of the practice.
Morale may be low, however, maintain a clear line of communication and ensure the whole dental team are working together to achieve your goals.
Patients returning to your practice will want you to reassure them that relevant steps have been taken to protect them.
Explain what has been done to ensure their safe return. You must retain your patients. Allow them the opportunity to address any concerns that they may have and also make them aware that they can contact the practice should they need to.
When you are confident that your process and procedures are robust and your staff know and are consistently following them, start to attract new patients. Ask your existing patients if they would be prepared to write a testimonial based on the treatment/service they have received (you would be looking for positive responses!). Post the testimonials on your website to demonstrate the outstanding service that you provide.
Now, more than ever, you and your team need to provide an exceptional service. Avoid the need for patients to complain. Negative comments raised about you or any member of the dental team both verbally and on social media is damaging to the reputation of your practice.
Keep your staff motivated and maintain team spirit. Monitor how your plans are progressing and make adjustments if needed. Prepare for the future and a thriving practice.
These are extremely stressful times. Remember that you are not alone and you can draw on both internal and external support if needed. Talk to your peers as they will probably have the same concerns as you and want to discuss them.
Speak to your indemnifiers or the BDA who will have the knowledge and experience to guide you in the right direction. There is no failure in asking for help when you need it, better to ask than to struggle on without support.
Put in the hard work now and do everything that you can to secure your practice. It will take time but the situation will improve with strong foundations laid for the future.