Case acceptance begins before you see the new patient!
Before a prospective patient ever walks into your office, your selling process should already be in full swing. There will be several interactions with a person prior to their actual consultation, and these interactions are often missed marketing opportunities.
Start by having your staff find out how the prospect heard about you during the initial phone call. Was it a referral pad from a dentist? A brochure from their child’s school or a community event? Did a friend or family member tell them about you – or was it simply an internet search?
Next, make sure those first contact points show your practice in the best possible light. For example, look at your referral pad. Is it merely a clinical checklist of all of the patient’s problems – or does it truly sell your practice? How can you make yours stand apart from the competition?
Go through the same process with your website appearance and messaging as well as other marketing materials. Also, do a Google search of your own practice. Are there online reviews? What are people reading on the internet about your practice before they visit or make a decision to call?
During the first phone call with a new patient, remember to:
- WOW them with excellent customer service.
- Compliment your office and doctor as well as their referral source.
- Validate their feelings by assuring them they’ve come to the right place
- Spend plenty of time addressing their concerns and answering their questions
- Don’t make them feel as if they are being “added to a system”. Ask questions in an informal “getting-to-know-you” style.
- Let them know what to expect at their appointment, asking them to allow enough time for their scheduled visit.
- Communicate the importance of this complimentary visit
After that phone call, consider sending an appointment confirmation letter or email. This is yet another often-overlooked opportunity; you can go beyond a simple time and date reminder and include additional information about your office to explain the value of the appointment. Use this as an opportunity to go above and beyond. Don’t just tell a new patient to visit your website for paperwork and expect they will do it, email them the link or mail the forms.
Finally, one to two days before the new patient’s appointment, your treatment coordinator should call to confirm. It shouldn’t just be about the confirmation, however – this call should further develop your relationship and make the new patient feel as if they will be the most important patient seen that day. Another opportunity to WOW them!
We have had clients tell us that, because they added these steps to their new patient process, the number of new patients canceling their consultation has decreased – so these few extra steps do pay off for your practice!