It is important more than ever that today we achieve a “Yes” from dental patients for case acceptance. Everyone on the team needs to be on the same page. This year if you haven’t taken time to schedule team meetings to discuss a communication and case acceptance strategy put it on your agenda of team meetings for 2010.
In June Dental Practice Solutions will launch a web-based eBook on Effective Communication with exercises to participate as a team and role play. You will have opportunities to discuss what has and has not worked in various office situations. When you put a 1-2 hour team meeting on your calendar each week for two months you will be investing in a “Yes” to case acceptance. It will be a practice what you have learned atmosphere and a strategy for a positive outcome with added value to the practice, improved health to patients and increased revenue in 2010.
The more patients accept treatment, the more value you are adding to your services and the happier patients will feel when they leave out the front door of your dental office. You are keeping the front door open for them to continue returning to your dental office. Patients will be healthier and your practice bank account will be healthier which means improved revenues. Enhancing your team’s verbal skills can pay big dividends in terms of boosting case acceptance and improving customer service.
In our Communication eBook Dental Practice Solutions will gain the knowledge to enhance the communication skills of team members. Here are some specific ways you will benefit your practice:
Educate and motivate patients
Last week in our eNewsletter it was written that you begin communicating and educating your patients before they call the office (through your website and marketing tools, etc.) and even when they call your office for the first time. Never wait for patients to ask about your special services and the types of treatment that make your dental practice special. This is what you are proud of and what you want to brag about. You should not wait for patients to ask about treatment options.
At your next team meeting take time to discuss what services you are most proud of and what you want all patients to know about your special services. Discuss this and then write it down. Keep these notes available for reference in a 3 ring notebook to review, update and share as new team members come on board.
Knowledgeable and enthusiastic team members will communicate best when they all know what services to share and when they can effectively communicate and educate patients about the benefits. When meeting about this topic be sure that each team member has a comprehensive understanding about all the procedures offered. Write down the list and keep it available for review and for new team members to read.
Trust and patient relationships
What are you doing to build lasting relationships? Do you make notes in the patient charts to remember special occasions in their life? When talking with patients are you seated at a slight angle and within arms length when speaking and especially when educating patients?
We don’t want our patients to feel as if we are lecturing them so when we take time to sit at eye level to talk to our patients they are more likely to believe we really care about them. Patients are most likely to accept treatment when they have developed a level of trust and have a lasting relationship with the dental practice and team members. How will all of the team work to improve relationships with the patients?
Have you ever thought about what happens after the doctor makes the diagnosis for treatment? Does the patient then discuss this more? Does the patient then ask a team member about what was just diagnosed by the doctor? Does the patient want someone else’s opinion? Who do patients discuss treatment options and gain more knowledge with after the dentist has left the room? It may be the dental hygienist or the office administrator but they may ask about another person’s opinion or ask for more information.
Take time to meet as a team to discuss what will be mentioned to patients, the benefits of all services and discuss the benefits. What will you say to encourage them to move forward with the appropriate treatment? What will you do and say to encourage patients to say “Yes’ to scheduling the appointment for treatment?
Develop a trusting relationship with patients and help ensure they will feel the importance and value of remaining a life long patient in your dental practice. Take time to discuss and write down what message it is you want to give each patient. Keep this information in the 3 ring binder for future reference.
I challenge you to put a team meeting (At least one this summer) on your office calendar. Meet and discuss what treatment options are available to patients. Next to the treatment options write down the benefits to patients. Then have each member on the team write and give input on how they can share the benefits. Take time to discuss how you will communicate the special treatment options your dental practice offers. Keep it all written down for future reference.
Emotional benefits to patients
All team members should be able to rely on the notes from your meetings about Case Acceptance. When you write down the benefits to patients and remember to highlight the emotional benefits of these procedures. For example use the words: beautiful, more attractive, quality of life, more value in their career, etc. Think of a list of emotional benefits and write them down next to the other benefits.
Not every patient wants to know all the details about the treatment procedure. Most people are all thinking WIIFM. (What’s in it for me?) You may notice that you lose the attention of many patients when you continue on about the treatment procedure. Leave these details up to the patient to ask. Explain what is necessary and then ask patients, “Is this something important to you?” Or let patients know, “I would recommend this procedure for my daughter or wife, etc.” Patients know you care when you tell them you would also recommend this procedure to a family member or a loved one.
Some examples of “benefit” statements include:
“This procedure will give you a beautiful smile.”
“You’ll feel and look years younger with your new smile.”
“Dr. Toothalot has performed this procedure many times and always has outstanding patient results!”
Outstanding, excellent and effective communication skills are a must! These are the important tools which build trust. This is what keeps patients coming back to your office. Meet to discuss and write these facts down. You will create a Win-Win!
Happy Patients = Happy Life = Success!!!