10 ideas for increasing your veterinary dental services
You’re ready to bring on better dental care, but where do you begin? Check out this list of ideas generated by Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, and one of his 10 practices’ team members, Mary Viviano, LVT.
Dr. Rothstein recommends using your list to set manageable weekly goals. For example, a modest beginning goal might be to do 12 dental cleanings a week instead of 10. With weekly goals, if you get behind, you can adjust and you’re more likely to catch up. Then recheck yourself every year to update your list and keep the energy high.
1. Create dental puppy and kitten kits. Offering a package to new clients that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and samples of dental chews and a dental diet is a great way to start them thinking about preventive care. If you plant the seed for regular dental care early, clients will be less likely to squirm when you recommend cleanings later.
2. Offer dental care handouts. These tools should explain the significance of dental care and what’s involved and may include a dental report card. Get yourself started with the PDF "Bad breath (halitosis) in pets."
3. Create an itemized treatment plan. Clients are more likely to agree to services if they see what you’re offering and the related costs. A benefit: This gives you a chance to explain the value of your care and the importance of blood work, anesthesia, and postoperative pain control.
4. Book the appointment—or set a reminder. Even just setting a date for recommended dental care is important, because it triggers a recall in your computer software. At discharge, it’s also a good idea to remind the client about when to schedule the next dental cleaning.
5. Appoint a dental czar. This cheerleading team member keeps energy high when other employees’ enthusiasm occasionally flags.
6. Remind clients that dental care is no one-shot deal. Tartar begins accumulating again as soon as the pet walks out your practice doors. First, teach clients the best way to slow the accumulation with regular tooth brushing. Consider offering them this handout: "How to brush your pet’s teeth" Then prepare them to have their pets’ teeth cleaned regularly to preserve and protect their pets’ health.
7. Explain the pain prevention benefits. No client wants a pet to suffer in pain. It’s your job to explain the painful consequences of poor oral health in pets, such as tooth loss. Good oral health can prevent this and other serious health problems.
8. Offer before-and-after pictures. If you’re still not showing photos, it’s time to start. Viviano says her practice’s receptionist best describes the benefit: When she’s presenting clients their bills, she sees them frown over the cost. But when she hands them before-and-after photos, they immediately think about the wonderful care their pets just received. This boosts clients’ moods as they leave the practice. Check out a pair of photos here.
9. Create a slideshow or a book of photos. Viviano says her practice is working on a before-and-after photo book for the exam room. They also plan to load these pictures onto a digital frame so waiting clients can see the amazing results that dental cleanings bring.
10. Follow up with calls. “We always do follow-up calls to see how dental patients are recovering,” Viviano says. “Also, we set follow-up calls for their next dental cleaning. Even though clients receive an e-mail or a postcard, a phone call is more personal.”
Portia A. Stewart is a freelance writer and former Firstline editor in Lenexa, Kan.