How to Save Time and Money and Get Patients Back in the Chair
Get patients back for treatment.
As a dentist, you can’t help but take patient numbers personally. You pour your heart and soul into your dental practice, and you want to be a valuable resource for your community.
So, when appointments are down, you may wonder where things went wrong and how you can get them back around. Should you invest a ton of time and money and overhaul your existing operations?
Thankfully, that isn’t usually required. Most of the time, a few simple changes are all that’s needed to get patients back in the chair again. Today, we’re sharing the best steps to take to re-chart your course and supercharge customer acquisition.
Recommending and Presenting Possible Treatments
When you see dental patients, are you simply doing the bare minimum? Or, are you taking a comprehensive and thorough look at their oral health and history? Are you recommending and presenting possible dental treatments accordingly?
Sometimes, the most effective way to retain patients is to act as their professional advocate. If they leave the chair with any questions left unanswered, they may be hesitant to return.
However, if you take the time to listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and suggest possible solutions for issues that are bothering them, you can secure your place as their trusted dental advisor. Credibility is invaluable, and it can go a long way toward customer acquisition and retention.
Scheduling Overdue Patients
Overdue patients are those who have not yet scheduled their next appointment. How many times do you attempt to schedule someone for an overdue visit, such as a routine cleaning?
It might not seem like a major issue at first, but did you know that these patients could cost your office a collective $1 million over the course of your dental career? A more positive way to look at it is that by implementing a system to help avoid overdue patients, you can add $1 million to your practice.
Don’t wait until you begin to see a significant uptick in open chairs to think about your scheduling approach. Go ahead and start thinking about how to revamp it as soon as possible, even during your busiest times.
Why should you take the time to do this? It’s easier (and less expensive) than you might think. In fact, you can likely re-engineer your current scheduling system to increase production by up to 50%.
How? By implementing what’s known as the one-day rule.
The One-Day Rule
How does this rule work?
Simply put, you’ll instruct your team to contact each patient on the exact day they’re overdue, regardless of how busy the office might be that day. Prioritize phone communication over email or automated text to make that human connection. This way, patients are more likely to commit.
It’s easy to ignore an email or leave a text unanswered, but a voice conversation is more committal. How many of your current patients are overdue for treatments because they said they would wait until later to schedule? Reach out as soon as it’s time to get them back in your office, and don’t let too much time pass between visits.
Train everyone on your staff, including your dentists, doctors, hygienists, and front-desk team, on how to properly communicate the importance and benefits of treatment. Patients who have gone a long time between visits may be especially hard to convince, and they’ll need to know the right points to cover.
Instead of launching right into technical verbiage, speak to common pain points and listen to what your patients want. For instance, don’t use phrases like “worn detention.” Instead, talk about how you can give them their smile back and how much they’ll enjoy eating their favorite foods like ice cream again!
Again, the importance of personal connection cannot be overstated. Your patients don’t want to be badgered for skipping their appointment, and they don’t need a guilt trip. Let them know you’re there for them to strengthen that much-needed trust.
Optimizing Case Acceptance Rates
When you invest in a patient to build a possible treatment plan, you want them to agree to your proposed course of action. If not, that’s time, effort, and money you can’t recoup.
If you aren’t currently tracking your case acceptance rate, it’s time to start doing so. Otherwise, it can be difficult to gauge how much potential revenue you’re losing when treatment is not scheduled.
There are many different ways you can improve your case acceptance rates, including:
- Building rapport with patients
- Delivering complete, informational treatment plans
- Taking the time to understand your patients’ needs
Yet, even when you take these measures, your rates may still be low. When this happens, it’s usually due to financial constraints. The costs associated with proposed treatment plans can be prohibitive for some patients, which leads to rejection.
When possible, help your patients who have investment concerns understand all of their options when it comes to affording their dental care. If it’s fear or dental anxiety holding them back, prioritize clarity and transparency. Talk to them about what they can expect, how you’ll perform the procedure, and what their recovery will be like to assuage those concerns.
Offering Services Your Patients Want and Need
Looking for another way to acquire and retain dental patients? Consider expanding the list of services you offer! For instance, if you currently offer general or pediatric dental services, why not add orthodontics?
The leap is more accessible than you might think, especially when you leverage resources like our orthodontics courses! From beginner training to advanced clinical programs, we offer extensive resources for dentists looking to expand into this field.
Orthodontics is a treatment that 60% to 75% of all dental patients can benefit from. By offering it as an additional service, you can give your patients what they want and need, as well as boost your income!
Getting Patients Back, Building Trust and Improving Your Income
In the dental field, patient numbers are fluid. They may dip and rise over time but the general direction should be trending upward. If you’ve noticed your chairs are staying empty longer than usual, there are steps you can take to correct this trend.
The top way to get patients back is to build their trust. Listen to their concerns, recommend treatments, and reach out when you haven’t seen them in a while. Then, think about adding more services to meet their needs as they evolve over time.
At Synergy Orthodontic Seminars, we’re here to help you see the growth you want and deserve. Check out our orthodontics courses online and contact us if you have any questions.