Dental Office Treatment Presentations and Acceptance
Dental office treatment presentations are a big deal! I am sure we all agree on that. But do we all agree on where the treatment presentations begin? Some may think the actual presentations begin when the clinician begins to discuss necessary treatment with the patient. However, I want you to consider the groundwork laid before any actual treatment discussion begins as part of the process. Because in reality, we begin to build our patients’ trust at our first “Hello!”.
Every team member plays an important role in a patient’s treatment acceptance. The positive side to this is that we all get to join in! The downside can be that not everyone on the team may realize this. And there may be some team members who are not yet aware of how they affect and impact the patient’s ability to accept treatment. However, the reality is we are all in this together and we all play an equal part in our dental practice success!
Production Numbers Reflect Team Success
How successful is your practice with treatment acceptance? The answer is your production number. If you are happy with your dental office production numbers each month, good job! But, if you find your goals hard to reach or patients are not accepting treatment, let’s see if we can figure this out together!
Begin with the end in mind! Is the monthly production goal reasonable? We can only schedule the amount of treatment that is presented each day. If you work in a general dental practice, look at hygiene and restorative numbers separately. Or if you work in a multi-specialty practice or in a practice with multiple providers, track each provider individually.
Dental Office Treatment Presentations Begin with Referrals
Dental office treatment presentations begin when a new patient reaches out to us. The new patient could find us from an internet search or a referral from another patient. Perhaps a patient comes to the practice through their dental insurance carrier or maybe even a social media account. It can be helpful to know how our patients hear about us! Because with a new patient, we want a point of reference to build on! “It’s so nice to meet you, Mrs. Jones. And you found us through our website. Was it helpful for you?” A connection begins.
Trust is the actual referral source here! Each new patient truly trusts the referral source that brings them our way! Perhaps we are a specialty practice, and the patient was referred by their general dentist. HUGE trust here! Or maybe our new patient has an insurance provider list that brought them to us. We know the patient’s insurance plan is important to them. All of these details matter. And these facts are important to use in treatment presentation consideration.
Reference The Referral Source to Build Trust
Each patient’s referral source is the first building block in the “trust” factor. And this is a great conversation starter for everyone on the team. “How did you hear about Dr. Brown?” or “How did you find us?” are one of the first questions we want to ask our new patients. And even if the patient says they drive by the office every day. There is certainly something they like about what they see! Even if the thing they like is the convenience of the office. It’s still something they like!
The team can connect on this simple piece of information and go from there. It’s a connecting dot, and those are very important. We can begin to look for more connecting dots as we move along in our new patient conversations. And even in our existing dental patient relationships. The goal is to continue to develop stronger communication and relations with our patients. The administrative team can do this most frequently through phone interactions.
Dental Office Treatment Presentations and Our “Hello”
Dental office treatment presentations include our team “Hello”! And each team member has their own individual opportunity to greet patients. The dental front office team has many opportunities each day through the office phones. And also as each patient arrives for their appointments. Although specific dental treatment may not be the topic of conversation, our tone and our words can later impact our patients’ treatment decisions.
Simple gestures go such a long way to cement our patients’ trust. A sincere, warm smile is a powerful way to begin. Greet each patient by name and be sure the patient knows yours! Make eye contact whenever possible. And always avoid the “please hold” phone greeting! Combine these customer service skills with continual follow through, kindness and dependability. We certainly want our patients and our team to know we are always there for them!
Smooth Transitions & Hand-Offs
We want to remember our patients during their transitions within the office as well. Stand up to greet patients as they arrive at the front desk area. Even if they are already in the office. And perhaps a clinician escorts the patient to check-out or for financial presentation. A re-greet is huge. Smile! Identify and greet your patient by name again. Make eye contact. And don’t be afraid to pause. Give the patient time to regroup and catch their breath.
Ask permission to review treatment cost or schedule an appointment. “John, would it be alright for me to review the cost of the crown Dr. Brown recommends for you now?” This question gives the patient time to transition into a financial discussion. They can mentally prepare and feel some control over what’s to come next. Plus, they may share with you what the Dr. has already told them about the cost of the procedure. Which is a great connector as well!
Dental Office Treatment Presentations with Dental Insurance
Dental office treatment presentations may include insurance estimates. Be careful with this! We want to be positive about insurance benefits when they are important to patients. We can even say that we are happy to tell them their insurance benefits indicate they may receive 50% in benefits! But choose those words wisely! “Insurance benefits” is a better choice than “insurance coverage”. And “may receive” is a better choice of words than “will cover”. Make no promises about insurance benefits at all!
Avoid “it’s office policy” statements always. When a patient asks something, we can’t easily answer, it may be tempting to simply reply that “it’s just the office policy.” And, although this may stop the patient from asking further questions, it may also keep the patient from moving forward. Alternatively, we can say “Dr. Brown does ask patients to pay in full on the date of service” or “Dr. Brown accepts all major credit cards”. Think of a positive way to respond to any question a patient may have. And avoid the “office policy” phrase!
Be Fearless & Ask Questions!
Dental patients can smell fears surrounding financial discussions. Practice does make perfect, but “live” practice may not be ideal. Practice treatment presentations with other team members if possible. Listen to the words that others use in treatment presentation within your office. And consider a script to help. You may even want to create a financial agreement to help walk you through the conversation!
Close the conversation by asking your patient if they have any additional questions. Then wait for their replay. Take your time with these very important conversations. Allow the patient to think about what’s been presented. And allow the patient to ask any question they need to ask. If we don’t have the answers to their questions, avoid the “I don’t know” response. Rather, “Let me check on that for you” is the better reply. Then, get the answer they need right then and there.