How to Turn the Back to School Rush into a Competitive Advantage for Your Practice

August is nearly upon us and that means parents will be trying to squeeze in all the last minute summer activities they can before school starts back up again. While some of these activities are inherently kid-friendly, like trips to the pool and stops at the local ice cream shop, some are not very high on most children’s end-of-summer bucket list.

We hate to say it, but kids probably just aren’t lining up as giddily for their summer dental check-ups as they are to pile into the minivan for a trip to the zoo. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t ensure they enjoy their appointment once they arrive at your office. By providing them with a fantastic experience that goes beyond their checkup you’ll be sure to please your young patients—and their parents—and keep a competitive edge over other practices in your area.

Here are three things you  can do beyond providing an exceptional experience during the actual checkup that helps form strong, positive relationships with your patients during the  end of summer rush:

  1. Have fun summer themed treats for your patients on the way out
    We know that treats aren’t the best for one’s teeth although in moderation most things are okay to indulge in. If patients haven’t had a treatment that prevents them from eating or drinking after their appointment offer a popsicle, juice box or even a small bottle of water to help them cool down in the summer heat (to keep things a little healthier stick to brands that avoid artificial dyes and flavors and high fructose corn syrup). And if they can’t eat or drink right away sending them home with a small toy they wouldn’t usually find in your office toy chest (if you have one) can be just as fun!
  2. Send young patients home with a “back to school” gift bag
    In addition to your typical dental goodie bag, when it comes to appointments at the end of summer it can also be great to gift patients with some fun dental-themed school supplies. A search or two on the internet will lead you to a variety of items that won’t break the bank. You could also slip in a notepad customized with your office’s logo for taking notes or doodling on (we know it happens!) throughout the day. This will give them a little something extra to reinforce the positives of a visit to your dental office long after their appointment is over.
  3. Provide summer-themed activities
    We know that many parents like to bring in all their children for appointments on the same day. This means that you’ll have children in your waiting room looking for things to do while their brothers or sisters are in with the dentist or hygienist. To make their wait more fun, provide some activities they can work on while they wait. You can make it simple with cut and paste projects like these (just have crayons or colored pencils to color them in) or set up a station with a few more activity options (we think these look fun!). Of course, make sure you have enough front desk staff available to help clean up any messes that might be made. Both the kids and their parents will be happier during the wait—and more likely to stick with your practice over any other.

We know that the end of the summer is already a busy time for you. But putting a little extra effort into ensuring patients have an exceptional (and fun!) time at your office can lead to increased patient loyalty and even a few referrals for new patients looking to give your office a try.