Dental office staff know better than most just how important oral health can be to a patient’s overall wellness. Helping patients see eye-to-eye on treatment plans, however, can be a separate undertaking of its own.
When a patient is diagnosed with a need for a certain treatment or procedure, it’s not uncommon that they don’t follow through. In fact, a survey found that the average case acceptance rate for existing patients is just 50%. For new patients, that percentage falls even lower. That means just half of the patients that walk through your practice door are taking action on proposed treatment.
Many practices believe that proper education about the procedure is the key to achieving higher case acceptance, but unfortunately, a survey shows that this is not enough. Between proper diagnosis and education, it may leave staff wondering why patients don’t always follow through with a prescribed procedure.
Just as proper treatment and excellent service are a part of the dental process, selling patients on their dental needs is key to increasing case acceptance across your group practice or DSO locations. This doesn’t mean pushing your patients into a procedure they don’t want or need, but rather communicating with them effectively about their diagnoses and the treatment that can help.
With all the responsibilities that come along with running a practice, selling isn’t always thought of as a task for dental staff to take on. The idea of selling can even make some feel apprehensive, however, it's an essential part of each practice team's responsibilities. Selling dentistry will improve your patients’ oral health and your group practice or DSO's bottom line. Here are some steps you can take to begin implementing selling across your DSO or multi-location practice.
The initial thought of selling your patients on their needed treatments can come as a surprise. Many may feel they aren’t cut out for selling, or that their personality simply does not align with that of a successful salesperson. While we may all have a different perception of sales, the first step is to shift your mindset to a positive one. Selling doesn’t have to feel ingenuine or uncomfortable, in fact, it is more so about connection.
Focus on creating solid relationships with your patients. This helps them to feel seen while they are in for an appointment and builds rapport. When you establish trust between yourself and a patient, they’re more likely to feel comfortable during their appointment, and listen to your recommendations. This can lead to happier patients who feel they have received attentive care and can be a major factor in increasing case acceptance.
When you stay focused on connections, selling patients on the treatment that is best for their health won’t feel forced and the conversation can come more naturally. Rather than overwhelming them with knowledge, it is best to ask open-ended questions to patients. This allows dental staff to get a better understanding of how patients feel about the treatments and if they have any concerns or hesitations, so that they can resolve them promptly.
Check out the webinar for more tips on how to sell dentistry at your group practice to improve case acceptance.
For patients, knowing what to expect from each of your practice locations can help to put them at ease when they come in for their appointment. From the moment a patient enters one of your practices, it’s important to create an inviting atmosphere. A warm greeting shows that they are valued, while a consistent and positive attitude from all team members helps to set the tone for their experience.
Paying attention to smaller details can make all the difference as well. As people, we all have different personalities. Matching the energy of your patient, whether they are more outgoing or reserved, can make their experience more enjoyable, and allows them to open up with any questions they may have.
Consider handoffs as another example. When a staff member is leaving a patient with another professional, it’s important to communicate who they are and what they will take care of during the appointment, whether it’s a cleaning or the checkout process. Even if patients have interacted with this staff member before, a friendly introduction helps to break the ice and get the conversation started without any uncertainty. When all team members participate in patient interaction this way, it creates a group practice communication style that is cohesive and professional.
These minute changes can make all the difference in the patient experience. Train the front office leaders at each practice to share the communication goals with the rest of the team. Encourage them to reinforce those goals in their huddles or regular staff meetings. Patients who are at ease are likely to be more interested in keeping up a conversation, which allows your team the opportunity to get a better understanding of how they view their oral health. When patients and staff can see eye-to-eye, you can make sure patient needs are met, and they’re more likely to follow through with case acceptance, too.
Once your group practice has established measures to ensure effective communication between staff and patients, it’s important to integrate these practices into your core values. This can help current and future staff understand expectations that they can then carry along with them day to day. Making connecting with patients a core value can help to deepen relationships and patient understanding, which can in turn increase case acceptance.
While it’s crucial to communicate recommendations to patients based on their needs, it’s best to do it in a digestible way. Breaking their treatment plan down into urgent, preventative, and cosmetic needs helps patients prepare for what lies ahead without overwhelming them with the notion of multiple procedures at once. In addition, it gives them time to consider the financial aspect of their plan and move forward accordingly. Allowing patients to take control of their treatment timeline is an empowering way to lead patients towards case acceptance.
Besides necessary procedures, keep your patients informed about cosmetic procedures and new services that your group practice provides as well. A patient may not want to invest in their aesthetics immediately, but it opens the door to future conversations and ensures they are aware of all that your practice has to offer.
With so much focus on bonding with patients while they’re in for an appointment, it’s easy to lose touch with them, and even feel a bit disconnected once they walk out the door. The office moves on to serving the next patient, and you may not hear from them again for months.
RevenueWell’s marketing and communications solutions help to keep your group practice or DSO at the patient’s front of mind, even after leaving the office. RevenueWell’s solutions are integrated with ADA codes, helping office staff to send specific and detailed follow-ups to patients on a new diagnosis or upcoming procedure in a matter of minutes. Keep in touch with patients by scheduling automated campaigns between appointments, tailored to your practice and patient needs. With RevenueWell, your team can focus on the patients in your office and continue an engaging conversation about their oral health after the appointment.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how RevenueWell can help to build connections with patients and make your practice more profitable.