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a blog by Chris Barrow

Lockdown Leadership - Part 1: Communicating with patients

It's time to stop consuming the conversation and start creating the conversation

There has never been (and perhaps never will be) a more important moment in your life during which it is necessary to demonstrate strong leadership skills, the most important of which will be the quality and quantity of your communication.

So over the next 8 days I'm going to review and suggest communication ideas for each of the communities you have to lead:

  • Patients

  • Salaried team

  • Self-employed Clinicians

  • Referring GDPs

  • Suppliers and Lenders

  • Your local community

  • Your family

  • Yourself

Part 1: Your patients

I'm surprised at the number of Principals who have suggested that their marketing to patients is going into lockdown.

It is essential that you maintain a steady flow of relevant and respectful communication with your existing and potential patients at this time.


  • Social media - daily, using appropriate PDFs and other graphics but with the addition of lots of photography and videography

  • A blog post - fortnightly (even better, a video blog)

  • An email newsletter - monthly (with lots of photos and images)

  • Individual emails/letters/calls to any patients who were in your sales pipeline or in mid-treatment at the point of lockdown

  • Individual telephone calls to any vulnerable patients identified through a database analysis and via on the ground knowledge from your team

  • Video consultations with patients (and prospective patients) to discuss urgent dental needs, ongoing oral health and potential future treatment - there are some excellent software solutions appearing here by the day


  • Oral health good habits at home

  • Physical and nutritional tips

  • General well-being and mental health issues

  • Human interest stories about what you and your team are up to, whether they are still working for the practice from home, on furlough and volunteering or redeployed and doing their bit (it's hugely important that you maintain the story about your people and how they are showing up during the crisis)

As we move into the "end game" of lockdown, having built interest and trust by generating socially responsible posts and messages, it will then be possible to start "warming up" your audience to the fact that we are heading back towards a new version of our previous lives.

The all-clear isn't going to be sprung upon us, the Government will want to ease us back to work. In the same way, you will want to ease your patients back in to preventative maintenance and for those who were in the pipeline and in mid-treatment to book ahead.

Close to the all-clear, you will also want to remind your patients that you are still accepting referrals and recommendation from their family, friends and colleagues, who may be looking for a new dentist at the end of all of this.

The quality and quantity of your communication now will determine the appreciation and loyalty of your patient audience tomorrow.

As part of The Extreme Business Regeneration Programme, we will be guiding our clients on that lockdown patient communication each day and providing them with a monthly template patient newsletter.

This morning we have 41 dental practices who have joined the Regeneration Programme and who will be working with me and each other over the next three months.

Come and join us - a community who are going to stay ahead of the curve during lockdown and emerge ready for the new normal.

Details are HERE.

Tomorrow in Part 2, I'll consider how best to communicate with your salaried team.

Please share these posts and spread the confidence in these uncertain times.

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