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Kelly Lennier
Senior Consultant
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How to Fix 4 Common Production Killers
By Kelly Lennier, Senior Consultant

If production is down in your practice, you’ve probably already considered making changes. You know you need to get more patients in the chair and reduce the number of broken appointments that are costing you money and leading to chaos in your practice. The problem is, you’re not sure where to start.

Change is never easy, but it’s often necessary – especially if your practice is hurting. It all can be a bit overwhelming, but the team at McKenzie Management is here to help. I’ve put together four common production killers that most dentists deal with over the course of their careers, along with tips on how to overcome them. Follow this advice and you’ll increase practice productivity and revenues in no time.

1. Cancellations and no-shows leaving holes in your schedule. I’ve visited practices that deal with 2 to 3 broken appointments a day. If this is common in your office, I’m guessing you’re not even close to meeting your daily production goals.

The Fix: Start by confirming every patient appointment two days in advance. And that doesn’t mean simply calling and leaving a message. If you don’t actually talk to them, chances are these patients won’t show up.

When the appointment is first made, let patients know a team member will call to remind them of the appointment and a verbal confirmation must be made to hold it. If patients don’t answer when you call, ask them to call back to confirm the appointment. Remind them in the message that without a verbal confirmation, the appointment will be considered canceled.

Now, not every patient wants to confirm their appointments via phone call. In fact, these days most of them don’t. Ask your patients how they’d like to be contacted. If they prefer text or email, send them a text or an email to confirm their appointments. This makes them more likely to respond and gives your Scheduling Coordinator time to fill the open slot if they have to reschedule.

2. Case presentations aren’t effective. After you finish a case presentation, you usually feel pretty good. Patients seem to understand the importance of treatment and tell you they’re ready to schedule. Only they don’t, and you can’t understand why.

The Fix: Chances are you’re simply not spending enough time educating them about the procedure and everything it entails. They know you’re in a hurry so they don’t ask questions or express their concerns. Instead they tell you they understand and they’ll schedule before leaving, even though they have no intention of making that appointment. That’s why you might want to consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator.

This team member presents treatment for all producers in the practice in a relaxing, comfortable environment. He or she should be trained to answer any questions patients have and educate them about the importance of going forward with treatment. Two days after the presentation, the Treatment Coordinator should follow up with patients to address any lingering concerns and get them on the schedule.

3. Patients can’t afford treatment. It’s not always lack of education that keeps patients from accepting treatment. Often they say no simply because they can’t afford it. They understand the consequences of ignoring the problem but they just don’t know how they’re going to pay for it.

The Fix: To help relieve the financial burden, talk to patients about only completing part of the treatment. If a patient needs three crowns, for example, discuss the advantages of placing just one for now and finishing the rest of the work later.

Offering third party financing from a company like CareCredit is another way to make patients more comfortable with the cost. It’s much easier to accept treatment if they know they can pay a little bit at a time rather than having to write a large check to cover it all at once.

4. Patients just don’t have time to schedule the work. Remember, your patients are busy people. They have jobs and families and don’t have much time to spare between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. So they keep putting off getting the care they need, promising themselves they’ll call your office when their schedule frees up a bit. The problem is, it never does and they forget about making the appointment.

The Fix: Consider offering early morning, late evening and weekend appointments. This will enable busy patients to schedule an appointment without having to take time off work, and that will boost your production numbers and attract more patients to your practice.

You can’t have a profitable practice if you’re not meeting production goals. Take the time to make a few changes and you’ll soon notice more patients scheduling treatment and actually showing up for their appointments. This will make practicing dentistry a lot less stressful, and you’ll reap the benefits of a much healthier bottom line.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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