The holidays are a busy time. Patients may reschedule appointments, drop healthy routines, eat unhealthy foods and drink sugary beverages. What can you do to keep patients engaged and healthy during the holiday season?
1. Deck the Halls & The Front Desk!
Patients appreciate when you get into the spirit of the holiday. Holiday décor is the simplest, easiest way to gain customer appreciation. If you are a pediatric dental office, colorful lights and bright holiday banners will delight children and make them feel more at ease. Offer coloring sheets, snowflake making, and other fun activities in the waiting room. Download this checklist or this Holiday Brushing Chart and send it home with patients in their take home bags. Post exams give each patient a custom holiday toothbrush. Personalize the holiday toothbrush with your practice information to market your practice and build patient loyalty. Holiday decorations & activities bring patients joy!
2. Attract & Inform through Social Media
Create social media posts that will interest and inform your patients. Be sure the posts have a festive look and feel. Use holiday colors and graphics to convey the season.
Here are some themed suggestions for social media posts.
- Celebrate the holidays AND good oral health.
- Breakfast with Santa? Avoid theses Dental No-No Foods.
- During the hustle & bustle stick to your oral health routine.
- Holiday cocktails? Choose these festive & teeth-friendly drinks.
You can also use social media to run a holiday contest (eg. Elf Coloring Contest), or a holiday give-away (eg. A Year Supply of Toothbrushes). If you treat a lot of children, get an Elf-On-A-Shelf for your dental practice and post its whereabouts on social media each day.
3. Send a Holiday Card
Many dentists may send digital e-cards to patients. This is great, but to really stand out from your competition, mail traditional holiday cards to your most loyal customers. The card should wish them season’s greetings and thank them for their loyalty over the years. The small gesture of sending a traditional card will have a big impact. It will result in patient loyalty for your dental practice for years to come. Further, these patients are likely to spread positive word-of-mouth about your practice among their family and friends.
4. Remind Patients to Brush each Holi-“Day” and Holi-“Night”
Remind patients to keep a routine; despite hectic schedules and holiday stress. The holidays can upset their hygiene schedule so stress the importance of brushing twice a day. To keep up good habits on the go, suggest that patients keep a toothbrush and travel toothpaste in their purse or workbag. Give holiday toothbrush kits to young patients. A kit will excite them, encourage at-home care, and travel over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Lastly, holiday toothbrushes for your patients will create goodwill and keep them brushing into the new year.
The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) wants to remind parents and caregivers that the holiday break is a great time to help your kids establish and maintain healthy dental habits. This includes good brushing, flossing and eating habits that are essential for healthy teeth. Print and post this free, downloadable poster in the waiting room.
5. Let Patients Know What to Do in Case of a Holiday Dental Emergency
Patients tend to reschedule appointments during the holiday season. Skipping a dental exam puts them on the naughty list! A patient with dental problems who puts off his exam may end up with a holiday dental emergency. Rich holiday foods & candy can also lead to dental issues. Be sure to communicate how patients can reach you in an emergency during the holidays. Post a message on social media on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve (or any other prolonged closures) with an emergency hotline. Include visible messaging on emergency procedures on the home page of your website. Change your office phone message to include holiday emergency instructions.
Keep patients happy & healthy over the holidays with information, guidance and holiday fun. You will be rewarded with a season of smiles.
Sources: mychildrensteth.org, mouthhealthy.org, aapd.org