Dental Office New Patient Calls & Conversion
Can You Identify Your New Patient Calls?
Dental office new patient calls come in a variety of ways. The most obvious and the easiest new patient conversion is the caller that reaches out to the office and asks to schedule a new patient exam. Hopefully, you find this happening quite frequently.
What if new patient calls are not coming into the office? It happens! If you are dental practice owner, dentist, or office manager, and you find in tracking the new patient calls that those calls aren’t even coming in.. try putting someone else on the phone. Honestly, if you have someone answering the phone who doesn’t enjoy or encourage those new patient calls, they will slow down or stop all together! Try it! You’ll see!
Managing Dental Office New Patient Calls
Invest Yourself In That First Call! No matter what is going on around you, it is absolutely necessary to invest yourself in that new patient’s first call to your office. First impressions make all the difference, and you only get one hello! Take the time to really invest yourself and listen to your new patient’s concerns and questions.
Develop A Basic Script But Communicate Naturally. You need to have a basic handle on what you are going to need to say to your new patient calling in. But you also need to have the ability to move in the conversation in a way that is very natural while gathering information and answering their questions.
You can download my New Patient Call Intake Form here: New Patient Call Form
Gather Patient Information & Greet By Name
The first thing you are going to want to do is ask the caller’s name & get their phone number. You will definitely want the ability to call them back should you need to!
Next, ask if there is insurance that they would like you to bill. But that wouldn’t be your first question. It might be theirs! So here is how you could handle that.
Insurance Questions Come Second
“Do You Take My Insurance? ” Is often one of the first questions if not the first question a new patient will ask when calling. I believe in asking questions myself. Ask your questions in a warm and friendly manner that tells your new patient you are really interested in who they are!
I would answer that question by saying, “We might! Could I ask your name, please?” Then, let your caller introduce themselves. They will probably say something like, “Oh.. sorry.. My name is Jack. Jack Knight.. and my neighbor gave me your number. I have Delta Dental and am wondering if you take that.”
Show Enthusiasm & Concern
Then, respond with something like this.. “Oh, great Jack! It’s nice to meet you! Could you tell me who your neighbor is?” Knowing who referred your new patient is great information and it also builds an immediate bond between yourself and the new patient calling.
Once your new patient has their referrer, be excited with them! Tell them how excited you are that the neighbor sent them to you!
Ask another question. “Jack, do you have a tooth bothering you today? Are you calling with any pain or discomfort right now?” Let your new patient know you are concerned about anything that might be troubling them.
Are There Any Urgent Needs?
Notice we still haven’t fully stepped into the insurance question yet. It is not a stall tactic, by any means. The idea is to make the priority the patient. Their dental concerns come before any financial or insurance discussion takes place. Create a bond immediately.
Schedule emergency evaluations soon!
Jack responds with , “Well, yes, I think I might have broken or cracked a tooth. I am having some pain and it’s been a while since I’ve seen a dentist. We moved into town a few months ago, I just haven’t had time to make a dental appointment yet. Do you take Delta Dental? I have not used this insurance before. I also started a new job, and my insurance is through Delta Dental”.
Financial Discussions Are Also Important
The good news is, Jack knows who his dental insurance carrier is! So many people call and provide their medical insurance or aren’t even sure who their dental carrier is.
I would assure Jack that you would be happy to take down his dental insurance information. And thrilled that you offer to call them yourself to check on his dental coverage. Gather his insurance information and let him know that you can definitely bill his insurance, and you can check on just what his coverage will be.
What If You Are Out of Network? If you know the second Jack tells you he has Delta Dental that you are out of network, don’t mislead him. Tell him that you believe you are out of network, and that you can still bill Delta for him so he can get some benefits.
You might decide to have the payment directed to him and ask him to pay in full. Or you could accept assignment of benefits, depending on your policy. The important thing is you have established that his dental needs are a priority, and not his insurance company.
Dental Office New Patient Calls & Scheduling
How many new patients do you want to see in one day? Whatever that number is, make sure that you allow room for that exact number of patients to be scheduled every day!
Most new patients calling want to be seen as soon as possible. Especially if they are in pain or requiring immediate attention. If that new patient calling feels they are having an emergency, they are having an emergency.
It’s very important to agree with and step in line with what your new patient is feeling. It is okay to assure them that you are there for them, and that everything is okay, but you really do not want to downplay what they are feeling.
Not all new patients are going to require a full comprehensive exam at their first appointment. For those patients who are experiencing pain or concern, a limited exam and an x-ray is enough to get their foot in the door, and a full comprehensive exam can be done at a later date.
Or it may be that a consultation is the place to start. Even a no charge consultation for a limited amount of time to introduce your new patient to your dentist is a good idea first. The idea is to get your new patient in the door. Then, let them fall in love with you and your team! It all begins with the first “Hello”.