How well is this being done in your office? Doctors, it is very critical that you be aware of how treatment is being presented in your office, and if the patients are scheduling the treatment that you recommend.
The two main reasons patients fail to schedule their next appointment could be that your exam did not create value or need, or your team members have not been trained properly on how to present treatment. In this blog, I will discuss the latter.
Many team members may not know how to present in an effective manner. Here is how I see it play out in so many offices.
- A patient comes in for their recall appointment.
- The doctor comes in and conducts his exam.
- The hygienist then passes this info on to the front desk (typically 3 minutes before they bring the patient up).
- The front desk quickly writes an estimate for, oh let’s just call her Mrs. Smith.
Here is an example of the conversation between the front desk staff and the patient, “Hi Mrs. Smith, I am told that you need a few crowns on your lower right side, your insurance will cover $1500, which leaves your out-of-pocket cost to be $3500. Do you want to get scheduled for that appointment?” Now comes the “deer in head lights” look on the patient’s face.
What is wrong with this presentation? Let me begin.
What I have found to be critical for the presenter is that they must be in the room when the doctor is discussing the patients’ needs, the “why” and the “how” of treatment. This connection creates trust with the patient. Too many times I have seen the patient ask the front desk, “Well, why do I need these crowns? I am unaware of what you are talking about.” Well, guess what, so is the front desk person. Having your team member in the room and engaging in the conversation about the recommended treatment eliminates any discord, and the patient will already trust them since they were present during the exam. I know for many patients, $3500 is a substantial amount of money, and if no value or need is discussed, they will likely just think about it and return for their next cleaning.
Get in early for the exam
The dental exam should take place within about 10-15 minutes of the patient being seated. This allows more time to prepare for the presentation. Too often the patient is brought to the front desk only to find the attendant on the phone or helping another patient. If you plan this out correctly, your hygienist should give the front office a 3-5 minute window as to when they are coming up with the patient. The front desk can then do nothing but wait for the patient and be ready.
What consists of being ready?
Prepare by displaying photos of the patient’s teeth, and ensure treatment estimates are written up in advance, and a private setting is available to present treatment. No one wants to be told about what treatment he or she needs in front of the next patient sitting in the waiting room. Remember to set up dental models or photos of what type of crowns they will need, and before and after photos of other patients who have had similar treatment completed. Payment options should be written out including pre-pay reductions and special financing. Value needs to be created for patients to say YES. If your team knows what they need and why, and the patient understands the consequences of not doing treatment, your case acceptance will increase.
Last but not least, never say, “Do you want to get scheduled for this treatment?”
Check back later, and I will discuss scheduling.
Kim Dickinson is an esteemed coach, speaker, and writer for Bryant Consultants. To contact Kim, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.