White Pages – January, 2017
If I were to ask 100 dentists, “What is the most important piece of technology in your dental office?” I can imagine what the responses would be-CEREC, digital x-rays, Invisalign, 3-D CT, and many, many more. However, the most important piece of equipment is not what you think.
Of course those are all amazing technologies that have advanced how we practice dentistry. But none of them are the most important. There’s one technological device that can make or break a dental office, and it’s not anything that was recently invented. In fact, it made its first appearance back in 1876 in the laboratory of Alexander Graham Bell. You got it … the telephone.
Why is the phone the most important piece of technology in a dental office? Without it, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to use all those other pieces of equipment. The phone is the technology that keeps us connected to our current patients, and it’s what allows potential new patients to reach us. That phone is our connection to the outside world and the proper knowledge of how to use it is a critical and often missing link. You probably would not allow a brand new assistant to use CEREC without training? Or your hygienist take digital x-rays without understanding how the system works.
Just because an employee knows how to physically use the phone doesn’t mean that they are able to interact effectively with the person on the other end. Think of all the money and training time you’ve invested in high-tech equipment. Now, start thinking of the phone as the one piece of equipment that makes possible every other interaction in the patient process. From greeting the patient in the waiting room, meeting with them in the consultation room, performing examinations and procedures, billing and rescheduling; none of these things can happen without appropriately handling that initial phone call to get a patient scheduled in the first place.
If your office prides itself on having high-tech equipment and a highly trained staff, then make sure that you also view the phone as an important piece of technology that requires significant training.
ROUNDTABLE: ONE RING…TWO RINGS… SHOWTIME!
Date: February 17, 2017
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Mendakota Country Club 2075 Mendakota Drive Mendota Heights, MN 55120
For Registration Information Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 952-432-3322
- The Role of Office Manager/Administrator
- The Initial Phone Call – Building a Relationship
- Gathering Information and Pre-Estimates
- The New Patient Experience
- Communication and Continuity in the Office
- Effective Handling of Insurance Claims
- Benefits Recovery and Appeals
- The Importance of Tracking Referrals
Discussions Lead by Dawn Johnson
Dawn began her career as a Certified/Registered Dental Assistant in 1984. She completed the highest level of CEO Management Course in Portland Oregon and has been mentored by Jay White for over 30 years. She has extensive experience in Business Administration, Marketing and Customer Service and currently runs a very profitable Dental Practice in St. Paul. Dawn has an innate love of people and Dentistry. She dedicates her time to coaching others in the importance of customer service, navigating insurance plans and educating the patient about treatment. “I believe we are all chosen to do great things, and I chose dentistry.”
What Business Are you really in?
Before spending money on marketing or a new website, determining the business of your practice is the first priority. The desires of patients will determine that business. The primary objective of marketing is to make prospective patients aware of your office and to communicate that you have the ability to provide them with what they are seeking.
How to be in the “Patient Experience” Business:
Everyone in the office needs to deliver the same message and work for the same outcome. The patient should never have to give the office the same information twice. It shows a lack of organization and communication.
Anyone who interacts with the potential patient must be ready with all the information a patient might ask for or hope to receive. Does the first person a potential new patient comes into contact with have the knowledge and ability to answer questions and move this person to the next step i.e. make an appointment, or a follow-up call?
Patients don’t care what you think they need, they care more about what they want. If practice growth is important, find a way to discover what they want. What problems are they trying to solve, what pain they are seeking to alleviate or avoid, what pleasure or gain are they hoping to experience? What do they see as the ideal outcome and how will that make them feel?
Unexpected gifts and extras have a very positive influence on patients. Everyone, no matter who they are or how much money they have, loves getting a little something extra especially when they do not expect it. These little “gifts” do super duty when properly executed. They delight the patient, and make them feel special and appreciated. They reinforce the patient’s belief that this is the perfect dentist. When chosen carefully, the right gift subliminally supports the image of the office that it is trying to project. The perfect gift is one that says that you understand more about your patient than just their teeth. Do not be lured into taking the easy way out and giving a discount or some kind of freebie from the office as an expression of thanks. These gifts are self serving and are usually recognized as such.
Imagine how good it would feel if you received a handwritten note or a personal phone call to show appreciation for your patronage? Especially if you had spent a particularly significant amount of money.
Plan events such as ice cream socials, photo or coloring contests, holiday celebrations, or other community events that encourage patient involvement. With email and Facebook, there are even more opportunities to connect with prospective patients. Find ways to make patients feel recognized, special, valued and appreciated. Get to know them and take an interest in them. Give them a reason to be loyal. This will pay dividends when insurance companies change and patients can go elsewhere a bit cheaper
It’s been said that the business of the practice is the set of feelings the patient leaves with, not the set of procedures that were completed.
Building long term meaningful relationships isn’t something the large chain clinics have time to do and it is something that can set you apart. Below you will find data compiled by one of our clients who tracked the source of their referrals for the past 12 months. As you can see, more than half of the referrals come from patients and community based events. This is a direct result of building long term meaningful relationships.