The New Patient Phone Call… Does Yours Work For You?
Dr. Steve Conklin– Case Study #345
Dr. Conklin just invested in a direct mail marketing campaign for his practice. The number of new patients seeking professional cleanings and a comprehensive exam had dropped from 26 a month to only 18 a month. As a result, his production had also been effected, since 50% of his treatment comes directly from the new patients that he has the opportunity to present a treatment plan to.
His reason for contacting McKenzie Management was a valid one. After he made the decision to market directly to potential patients in the area, he also wanted to make sure that his business coordinators were managing the incoming phone calls for maximum potential. Good for him! It doesn’t make any difference how many potential patients are calling if they are “turned off” by their initial contact to his office.
Dr. Conklin’s Practice Facts:
Before we start to review the dialogue that is currently being used by his Practice Coordinator when she answers the phone, let’s take a closer look at his current facts:
PPO Participation: Depending on your location, the number of years your practice has been open and many, many other considerations, PPO participation is not uncommon. Dr. Conklin has managed to grow his practice without signing with other PPO plans and would prefer to only maintain a relationship with one, if possible.
Office Hours: An attempt should be made to accommodate as many patients’ schedules as possible. Early morning appointments at 7:00am are the most sought-after appointments in most dental offices. After hours and evening can be, but more for emergencies opposed to the established patient base. Patients are busy after work with personal errands and events, such as kids’ sports, workouts, etc.
Also, Dr. Conklin’s lunch hour was scheduled too early in the morning. It is important to have as long a morning as possible for increased morning production. Many patients have their lunch break at noon; therefore, they would be available to visit Dr. Conklin’s office if he were open during their lunchtime.
Number of Hygiene Days: It was determined statistically that Dr. Conklin needed 2 additional days of hygiene per week. New Patients were waiting weeks before they could be seen. The “no show” rate for his new patients was 40%.
Pre-scheduling: In addition to being short-staffed in hygiene, all hygiene patients were pre-scheduled in advance. There were NO openings available for past due patients, SRPs, and new patients. This is the kiss of death for the Hygiene Department!
The New Patient Telephone Call should contain the following in this order:
One last thing: don’t forget to SMILE! A caller can’t see you but they can hear the smile in your voice. Speak slowly and clearly. The new patient doesn’t know that it is the end of the month and you still need to send out statements, call about unpaid insurance claims, confirm Mondays’ patients and file charts. Take a deep breath and remember that you are on stage from the time you walk in the office until the time you walk out…every day.
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