During our information gathering process for a new client we always ask about their office hours. We are trying to determine if they have convenient hours. Convenient hours is a very desirable marketable attribute.
Most of them think they do. Most of them are wrong.
Typical dental office days and hours are Monday – Thursday, 8AM – 4PM. Sounds just like most other business operating hours (except for the absence of Friday hours).
Actually about the only people these hours are convenient for is the dentist and staff. They are NOT convenient for most working people and especially not for busy moms.
We’ve been analyzing this for years by monitoring our client’s calls into the office via various call tracking systems. To skip right to the summary, here’s what we’ve found:
Busy women (who make 89% of all dental appointments) usually means they are working or have kids or both. When do you think it’s convenient for her and her family to visit the dentist? If it’s during the week she has to take time off work, take the kids out of school and return them. If she’s making an appointment for her husband, he will have to take time off work. That’s certainly not convenient.
How about Saturday? Or maybe late afternoon or evenings? How about her lunch hour? Any of those times would be much more convenient for her. But most dental offices are CLOSED at those times.
Also, consider this. When do you think it’s convenient for her to call to try to get an appointment? (We’re not talking about her keeping the appointment. We’re talking about her simply TRYING to get an appointment).
Her lunch hour, after work, on the weekends. Precisely the times that she’s very likely to be shunted to voice mail. A very high percentage of potential new patients will not leave a message. They will simply go down the Google list to the next practice.
We know, you may have a staff revolt on your hands if you step outside the usual and customary office hours. We know you that you, the dentist, may be uncomfortable with having different hours. But these are solvable issues. They are not impossible to overcome.
Now, if your practice consists of mostly older retirees, then the usual and customary hours will work just fine. But if your patient base is anyone else, or if you’re hurting for more new patients, then it might be time to step outside the schedule box you’ve been in and try something different.