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Quote of the day: “Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
” – Henry Ford
Dental visits have been decreasing for years nationwide. In 2014, 52.3% of people said they visited the dentist every 6 months while more than 1 in 5 said they haven’t visited the dentist in the last few years. There’s still plenty you can do within your practice to increase the rate that patients accept their treatment plan.
One: Optimize Treatment Presentations
Treatment presentations are important in getting the patient to accept their treatment plan. If you won’t be presenting the treatment plan, it’s your job to ensure that whoever is presenting the treatment plan is good at it. Monitor their style, wording, and personality. How are the patients responding to the presentation?
You have to be intentional about building rapport and trust in a short period of time. Patients need to visualize the impact that the treatment will have on their smile and their teeth at the end of the treatment.
Be sure you or your staff cover all the important points:
- Procedure details
- Benefits of treatment
- Length of treatment
- Cost of treatment
- Payment options
Two: Relate to the Patient
Your presentation can be ineffective if you don’t put in an effort to relate to the patient. They could view you as just another physician who doesn’t really care about their well-being and is just trying to get as much out of them as possible. You want them to see you as a friend with dental experience. Hear out their objectives and find a non-patronizing way to address them.
Patients who feel that they’ve been heard are more likely to trust you. Many people are looking for a reason to say no, be sure they don’t!
Three: Get Your Team Involved
The dynamics of dental offices have changed in the recent years with nearly 1 million dental personnel employed in 2012. That’s nearly a six fold increase since 1950! The personnel in your practice can have a huge impact on whether or not patients accept treatment. Train all of your employees to promote a caring environment where people feel safe and welcome. Make sure everyone is extremely friendly, personable, and proud of the work you do.
Four: Schedule the Appointment
Many practices can get a patient
to accept the treatment plan, but lose them in the scheduling process. Be sure that the patient accepts the plan and schedules the appointment in the office. Don’t let them go home and think over the reasons why they shouldn’t go with the treatment plan. Follow up calls never have the same impact as the initial treatment presentation.
Make sure the patient schedules the appointment the same day they accept the treatment. If they’re adamant about thinking it over, make sure someone from your front desk calls and checks in with them in 24 hours.
Five: Make Your Reminders Personal
Nearly 80% of cellphone users use text messaging and 31% of people prefer text to phone calls. Text messaging and email appointment notifications are very convenient for patient, but can also be easily ignored which can reduce appointment attendance. If increasing patient acceptance rate is your main goal, don’t rely solely on technology and the less personable approaches.
Don’t make text and email the default communication of choice for all patients, but do make it an option.
Six: Help Patients Value Their Appointment Time
Use verbiage to help them value their appointment time. Whether it’s the person calling to book the appointment or calling to remind them about a previously booked appointment, make sure that the patient values their appointment time. Use reminders like “Please be sure to notify us in advance if you’re unable to make your scheduled appointment as the doctor has many other patients who could benefit from that appointment time,” and “Please let us know if you’ll be late to the appointment as the doctor has an appointment right after yours.”
This form of communication puts it in the patient’s head that your office isn’t waiting on standby for them to show up at their convenience. You can either make them more serious about keeping the appointment or let them know they can cancel it in advance so that you can fill that slot with someone else.
Seven: Set an End of Day Protocol
Following up with patients who have unscheduled treatment is a great way to increase acceptance rate. Instead of relying on text messages and emails, set up an end of day protocol to reach out to these patients.
Add something like, “Make 5 phone calls to people who have unscheduled treatments” to your staff’s list of things to do at the end of the day so that you can be sure they’re actively working towards increasing acceptance rate.
Be sure to keep a schedule of when patients were contacted so that you can be sure that multiple staff members aren’t contacting the same patient on the same day.
Eight: Postponing Treatment
Today’s generation has better dental health, but less dental visits. This can also cause them to be uninformed about what happens when certain dental problems go untreated. They may not be aware of the serious dental health issues or that they could lose a tooth for not visiting the dentist.
When your staff calls up patients with unscheduled treatments, be sure they bring up all the potential risks from not getting their dental health taken care of right away. This typically encourages patients to call back and schedule their treatment.
Nine: Offer a Variety of Payment Options
In 2014 nearly 20% of people said they were unsure or definitely didn’t plan to visit the dentist in the next 12 months. The number one cause? Cost.
Just because someone pulls up to your practice in a BMW doesn’t mean they don’t want to see financing options. Studies have shown that having outside financing options available increases dental visits by 62% and case acceptance rate by 282%. You can offer special discounts and payment options to encourage payment to say yes. Around 40% of patients don’t have dental insurance, so anything you can do to make the payment options flexible will help.
Ten: Learn from Your Rejections
No matter what you do to improve your patient acceptance rate, you can’t win them all. Whenever a patient rejects a case, try to learn what caused them to back away. If you’re comfortable with the patient, ask them why they did not move forward with the treatment plan.
Dig into hard numbers and keep track of any changes in your dental case acceptance rate over time. If you see any major increases or decreases, it’s time to assess what you’re doing right or wrong.
If you need assistance with increasing your case acceptance rat, be sure to contact us
today so we can see if we're a good fit for each other.
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