What is “Plan B?” The New Normal in a Post-Irma World

By a Fellow FDA Member

Call it intuition, but I had the feeling we —and the entire east coast of Florida — dodged a bullet last year with Hurricane Matthew. It just seemed like a matter of time before our 13-year dry spell was going to end.

I desperately wanted to be wrong, as I watched CNN every evening for the latest update on Hurricane Irma, and the National Hurricane Center for the more elaborate interpretation.

The memories of spending another post-Labor Day weekend away from home (Hurricane Frances, 2004) sadly is still too vivid in our memories. I worked as a dentist a total of four days that month, and two of those were without air conditioning — which is a testament to the determination of my staff and my patients to create a sense of “normalcy” in the aftermath, despite the obvious disruption to our personal lives.

Doctors, it is time for “Plan B.”

Depending on where you are in your practice career, it may not make economic sense to “build over” before or after your insurance adjuster has given you the final assessment. For dentists with more than 25 years of practice, the return on investment may not be in your favor at such a late period, as the current tax laws for business owners after 50 provide decent “catch-up” provisions in a defined benefit (like a government pension) and defined contribution (401K-type) plans that would be more beneficial.

For a mid-career solo practitioner, you have been faced with rising overhead costs since 2007, and along with diminished income (ADA Health Policy Institute has the data), the time is ripe for a multi-doctor practice formation, which should always be created with expert legal and financial advice.

Look “around the neighborhood” and reach out to other dentists who may share the same dilemma you do. If you have damage to your office, and someone nearby does not, now would be the time to construct a well-defined contract that outlines the term and time limit for this new arrangement. And if the relationship works on a limited basis, you may find the new arrangement something you want to solidify.

Likewise, if your office came out unscathed, reach out to your colleagues in this period and strategize. This is not a DIY project, so retain the professional advice you need to make this happen. Involve your bankers and financial advisors for expert advice.

In closing, I want you to know that I understand what you have gone through, and I look at 2004 as a defining year in my professional career. The decisions I made after these disasters guided me to where I am today, and my family is better for it.

Make the right choice for your loved ones and your staff members, and don’t be afraid to execute “Plan B!”

 

 

Post-Irma Disaster Recovery Resources

Last week, the Florida Dental Association Foundation teamed up with the American Dental Association Foundation to prepare and assist FDA member dentists in need. Below is information we provided members last week, but want to share with you again, as we know that those who might be in need may forget these resources. If you know of fellow members who need assistance, please share this information.

The ADA Foundation offers support that may be helpful to dentists affected by the storm. This includes:

  • ADA Foundation emergency grants
    • Emergency Disaster Grants — Any dentist who is a victim of a disaster may apply to the ADA Foundation for a grant up to $2,000 to help cover the costs of their personal emergency needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. (ADA membership is not required.)
    • Emergency Disaster Grants for 501(c)(3) organizations providing dental care following a disaster — Grants of up to $10,000 are available for this purpose.

More information can be found at ADA and ADAF Disaster Support.

Please click here to access the ADA/FDA relief application. ADA Foundation grants are up to $2,000 and FDA Foundation grants are up to $1,500. This information also can be found on the FDA website at floridadental.org.

Additional information/resources from Volunteer Florida Emergency Management can be found here.

Please know the FDA, its officers and trustees are here for you, and haven’t stopped working to make sure members’ needs are first.

 

FDC2017 Photo Scavenger Hunt Winner

During the 2017 Florida Dental Convention (FDC), attendees had the opportunity to participate in a photo scavenger hunt through the FDC mobile app. The photo scavenger hunt was an interactive game composed of photo challenges attendees had to accomplish to receive points. The three players with the most points won a prize after the convention. Some challenges included: a photo with FDA President Dr. Bill D’Aiuto; while singing karaoke at “Sweet Success”; and, with Crown Savings providers in the Exhibit Hall. The game was intended to enhance attendees’ experience during FDC by encouraging them to meet new people, interact with exhibitors and attend the many events offered during the convention.

A total of 103 attendees played the photo scavenger hunt game. One of the players was Ms. Kendall Geisenburg, a dental assistant from Jacksonville, Fla. Ms. Geisenburg excitedly played the game during the convention and consequently came in third place! We asked Ms. Geisenburg about her experience playing the game. Below is what she had to say.

  1. Why did you choose to participate in the photo scavenger hunt during FDC?
    It sounded like a lot of fun. My friend and I wanted to use it as a tool to get more involved. We also like a good competitive challenge!
  1. What was your favorite part of the game?
    It was all really fun. I loved keeping my eyes open for anything that may be a part of the challenge.
  1. Did the game allow you to meet convention attendees/exhibitors who you otherwise would not have met?
    It did. I met several people and spent time at several exhibits that I probably would not have stopped at if not for the game.
  1. Do you believe it enhanced your FDC2017 experience? If so, how?
    It did! It helped me to be more involved and made me really thankful for the dental community. I didn’t plan on going to any of the parties, but ended up going because of the game. I enjoyed my time immensely!

 

1498260904631Ms. Kendall Geisenburg snaps a photo with FDA President Dr. Bill D’Aiuto.

(We apologize for the blurriness of the photo, as it was taken with a cell phone.)

 

How to Calculate Your Marketing ROI

By Sarah Woods, Core Dental Solution

In my last blog post, I outlined the important key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how well your practice’s marketing tactics are working. I discussed eight of the most important KPIs for every dental practice and the ones I often use as the directors of the overall marketing strategies I create for my clients. These KPIs are sales revenue, cost-per-lead, traffic-per-lead ratio, lead-to-customer ratio, number of calls (leads), patient retention percentage, number of patients reactivated and new patient source.

Before we start, what’s a lead? A lead is a prospective patient who has reached out to your practice in some way. This could be a phone call, a walk in or a website inquiry. A lead is different than traffic. Traffic is the people who go to the website, social media page or see your advertisement.

Now, let’s breakdown these KPIs and understand how each is calculated.

  • Sales revenue: It is important to look at both the production and collection numbers every month. Production is the raw amount before collections, adjustments and overhead is subtracted. When determining whether marketing efforts are working, production is more reliable than collections because many factors can affect collections. For example, marketing is not related to whether the correct copays are collected, how much insurance is adjusted or the amount of overhead.
  • Cost-per-lead: This measurement is important when determining how much a practice is spending for each lead. Simply divide the cost of marketing campaign by the total number of leads, like this:

cost of marketing campaign
      total number of leads

  • Traffic-to-lead ratio: This measurement is what I use to determine whether a marketing campaign is effective. It is calculated by converting the traffic to leads into a ratio, (traffic : leads). Remember, the traffic is everyone who sees a campaign, website, etc., and leads are the amount of people who reached out to the practice in some way. For example, to see how a website is doing, its analytics are used to determine the traffic. Leads can be measured manually (a staff person collecting information and documenting how many calls are coming into the practice) or with call-tracking.
  • Lead-to-customer ratio: This KPI is similar to the conversion rate in that it determines the amount of leads that convert to customers. The ratio is leads : customers, and can also be reduced.
  • Number of calls (leads): It is crucial to track every lead. The most effective and reliable way to do this is by using a call-tracking service. I don’t recommend staff members tracking leads because these numbers are significantly less reliable. This KPI is the foundation for the rest and it is crucial that it’s accurate.
  • Patient retention percentage: This KPI is calculated to determine the percentage of patients retained in the practice. It is calculated by taking the difference of the number of deactivated patients from the total patients, and then dividing by the total patients and multiplying by 100, like this:

(Total patients- deactivated patients)   x 100 =  Patient retention %
Total patients

  • Patient reactivation percentage: This KPI determines how many overdue patients (hasn’t been seen in at least nine months) are being reactivated. The patient reactivation percentage is calculated by taking the difference of the number of reactivated patients from the total number of overdue patients, and then dividing by the total number of overdue patients and multiplying by 100, like this:

(Total overdue patients – reactivated patients)  x 100 = Patient reactivation %
Total overdue patients

  • New patient source: This KPI is crucial and just like the number of leads KPI, the foundation for all the KPIs. It is crucial that the source of every new patient is entered correctly. This sometimes takes training staff on the importance of marketing and asking the right questions when a prospect calls.

There is one last KPI that I forgot to add to my last blog. It’s the annual new patient growth. This number is calculated by taking the difference of the number of patients in a given year and the number of patients in a previous year, and dividing by the number of patients in a previous year, then multiplying by 100, like this:

(Number of patients in given year – number of patients in previous year) x 100
Number of patients in previous year

Accurately calculating these KPIs is extremely important when determining whether your marketing is effective — and if done correctly, can prevent wasteful marketing spending.

 

Sarah Woods is a marketing consultant and president of Core Dental Solutions, a full-service dental marketing agency that provides digital, traditional and inbound marketing to dental practice owners meeting them where they are in their life cycle. They approach dental practice marketing with a “holistic” mindset. Rather than incorporating “set-and-forget” marketing tactics to generate revenue and address shortfalls, they turn a dental practice into a well-oiled machine. Sarah can be reached at Sarah@CoreDentalSolutions.com.