Everywhere we look this time of year, retailers and service providers are finding ways of saying “thank you” to their clients, customers, and patients. Some of the most popular ways of doing this also seem to include some form of sugar (eek). How can your practice show some patient appreciation and ring in the holiday season festively? Read on for our 7 patient appreciation ideas to consider this winter.
1. Give them some holiday-themed, smile-friendly snacks
The holiday season usually means a lot of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry — although the candy canes and sugar plums are not necessarily the best for your patients’ pearly whites. Pick a day (or a week) to have a snack available for patients following their appointments. First Choice Dental has compiled a great resource on festive treats that will keep spirits (and teeth) bright.
2. Send an #UglySweater card
Everybody loves a good holiday card photo. Show your patients that you care — and that you have a sense of humor — by taking a practice photo in your best-worst holiday sweaters. Not sweater weather in your town? If someone in your practice has a pet, getting them involved in a photo is always a sure bet, if someone on your staff is artistically inclined this is a great chance for them to shine, or you can always go the Brady Bunch route.
3. Rent a photo booth
You can also turn the camera on your patients. Pick a day where there are a lot of appointments booked and rent a photo booth and props so that patients can snap a shot after their teeth cleaning. Many booths offer branded options for the photo strips so that it also serves as a good piece of marketing for your practice.
4. Highlight patients on social media
If you have patients who are game to be featured online, pick one each week to highlight on your social media or website as a “Patient of the Week.” Email them 3 questions to answer (i.e., Favorite healthy snack, movie, or celebrity smile) and share with a photo of their choice. Be sure to tag them so they know when it goes live (and can share the post in turn with their networks).
5. Partner with a local business
Are you in the same building as a massage therapist? Do you share a strip mall with a local coffee shop? Go in together on a twofer deal such as 10% off teeth cleaning and a massage, or a free latte to go with your patients’ semi-annual checkups. Doing this will get your practice in front of more potential customers, while also making friends with the fellow small businesses in your network.
6. Offer a freebie for the new year
Sometimes it’s not what you offer right away, but giving patients something to look forward to in the new year. In order to get the annual visitors (or every-other-year patients) coming in more regularly, offer them a discount on their next appointment or some other incentive for booking that next appointment now.
7. Donate a portion of their payment
Commit to setting aside a certain percentage of each patient’s invoice this month for a charitable cause — you can even announce this to patients who have yet to make an appointment for the month of December as a means of incentivizing them to book a slot.
Find patients in need by connecting with a nonprofit such as Dental Lifeline Network and tell their stories to your patients. Ask your patients to pick one and make a donation to help that patient get care.
Dental Lifeline Network serves patients who cannot afford dental care and have a permanent disability, are elderly, or medically fragile. The dentists who volunteer their time to treat these patients mean the world to them and have helped domestic abuse survivors, former Navy SEALs, and cancer survivors. Want to change someone’s life? Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about volunteering.