I get this question asked a lot.
Should I be open on Sundays?
There are a lot of people who can’t take time off of work (or don’t want to).
So offering Sunday’s is convenient (and we know patients love convenience). It could also be considered a competitive advantage if there are few practices opened on Sunday, or maybe you’re losing patients to practices that are.
There is not a straight answer to this question. It really depends on a number of factors.
- Effective strategies to fill the schedule when offering a new day
- What you should say to patients to guarantee that they will show up
- What we did to change a “slower” day into one of our busiest
During one of our recent retreats, one of our members was struggling to make Sunday's productive. It made sense for him to open Sunday's since,
- He lived in a competitive are in New York (where there is 1 dentist for every 362 residents)
- Not many practices were opened on Sunday, so it would offer a competitive advantage
- He had an associate willing to work on Sundays
Everything made sense, but he was struggling to make Sunday's productive.
So here are some points to consider when opening your dental practice on Sundays.
Get The Word Out
mMost patients probably don't ask for Sundays. They don't know it's even an option. Scheduling needs to treat Sunday as any other day. When making appointments, let the patient know that Sunday's are availalbe.
Have signage outside and inside to inform patients them of the additional day. Make sure to update your website, voicemail, and marketing materials to state this change.
Make Sure Staff Are On Board (And Gung Ho)
I'll tell you a story about my own office.
We were open Monday through Thursdays. Whenwe added another doctor, we added Friday. And Fridays didn't take off. He didn't want to work Fridays and no patients wanted to come in on Friday.
Then one of the other doctors said they'll take the Friday if he'll do Monday.
So she took over the Fridays and guess what? They got really busy. It was her most productive day. There were patients coming out of the woodwork.
In important part of it is the mentality of the team.
When the team heard the first doctor, and frankly, largely his team complaining about Fridays, eventually it just impacted them unconsciously. They unconsciously set themselves up so that there was nothing happening on Fridays.
When we got a team in there who wanted to work Fridays, it all of a sudden it took off.
Make Sure Patients Show
One of the things that we've seen with weekends is those schedules need to be managed differently.
We don't want patients to no show on Sunday, so we like to have our staff say,
"This is our highest demanded appointment time and so we have one strike and you're out policy, which means if you schedule on a Sunday (or a Saturday) and you fail to show for the appointment.
We won't be able to scheduled you on that high demand appointment time again."
Some practices even act like a hotel. They actually take a deposit before the patient can schedule on those days because it may be something that isn't a high priority once the day actually rolls around and the weather's beautiful outside.
Sunday's can be a great day to be open, but make sure you incorporate these tips so that your schedules get filled and patients show up.