With the back-to-school season behind us and December 31st fast approaching, it’s never too early to start preparing for the end of the year rush. Many patients whose benefits coverage renews on a calendar year basis want to use their benefits before they expire or their deductible resets. Before you know it, the phone is ringing off the hook, team members are stressed caring for a deluge of patients, and both the patient and employee experiences begin to suffer. Preparing and planning now can make the end of year rush  more manageable.

People are your practice’s greatest asset. They are the front line, performing the day-to-day tasks that result in a great patient experience, strong reviews, and revenue growth. Your practice is only as strong as your team members. Preparing your team for the end of year rush does not have to be difficult; it just takes a little time and energy in advance. Think of it as an investment now that will minimize stress come December, allowing everyone to enjoy the holidays more.

Bring Your Team Together And Review Last Year

Highly successful practices bring their people together on a regular basis. Weekly or bi-weekly team meetings are key to recognizing wins; providing opportunities to address challenges; reinforcing your mission, vision, and values; and sharing business updates, changes, or goals. Leverage these meetings to begin preparing for yearend. What went well last year? Where did existing methods fall short? What changes to office processes, scheduling procedures, work-up flow, and customer service can be made now to set your practice up for success? As we close the office for New Year’s Eve, what do we want to be true as we look back on the last quarter? Begin making plans now to optimize these answers.

Set Goals For The End Of Year

Everyone does better when they know what they’re working toward. Setting goals for key metrics like number of exams, exam slots filled, eyewear and contact lens sales, Google reviews and more gives your team clarity on what’s important for the business and, at the same time, creates healthy competition as they work together to accomplish those goals. Be sure the goals you set are measurable and obtainable yet make people stretch to reach them at the same time.

Huddle Daily

As the end of year rush begins, it’s important to meet daily before or after patient care for 15 minutes. Use this time to review the day, whether in advance or reverse, and highlight what went well. Address any small issues that cropped up throughout the day or the day before. Recognize team members who’ve gone above and beyond. Commit to plans to improve opportunities and use this time to check on how those fixes are working.

Have Fun

Unfortunately, the holidays can often be more stressful than joyous, and this can be true for both team members and patients. Make a point of building in opportunities for your team to have fun throughout the busy season by creating schedules for food, coffee breaks, dress up challenges, decorating parties or contests, team dinners, a holiday celebration, and much more. These small but critical opportunities bring energy to your team members which in turn leads to a more fun and impactful patient experience.

The end of the year rush will truly be here before you know it. Preparing your team in advance, setting goals for a successful quarter, meeting with them daily throughout, and encouraging having fun will set your team, your patients, and your business up for a fun and successful rest of the year.

With the end of the year winding down, now is a great time to take stock of your practice’s performance in 2023 and turn your sights to 2024. PECAA’s Member Business Advisor (MBA) team is here to help. As a PECAA Max member, you can receive expert advice from PECAA Business Operations Advisor Kathy Long at no additional cost! Kathy can help evaluate your current performance, identify opportunities for growth and build an action plan to help drive the results you desire. Book a meeting with Kathy here to get started. Not a PECAA Member? Contact us to learn how PECAA can help your practice thrive.

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