Attention to Insurance Detail Gets Patients in the Door
It’s common knowledge that consumers love a bargain. In fact, recent news reports talk about how over the past few years, retailers have trained consumers to expect those bargains. But now the retailers want to ease up on the price slashing discounts, and consumers are pushing back. As one article noted, “Retailers have a long way to go to convince shoppers that predictable pricing is better than the temporary promotions that they've grown to love.”
In the cost-conscious culture that has emerged since 2008, we’ve seen dollar stores explode, extreme couponing take hold, and an increase in consumer saving habits. Many of the most money conscious are the higher income, better educated population. This is also the market that is far more likely to have a stronger dental IQ and appreciate the value of dental care. And it’s the population of patients most likely to appreciate a letter alerting them to unused insurance benefits, which I explained in last week’s article.
But don’t stop there. You can significantly increase the results of that letter with just a bit more “cross marketing.” These are busy people and like all consumers, they will need to be told about an opportunity more than once. As important as the information is, keep in mind that your consumers are inundated with “noise.” They are getting so-called important messages and “special offers” all the time. Plan to repeat your message. Don’t assume that the letter alone will prompt the patient to take action. In many cases, it will plant the seed in their mind.
In addition to sending patients a letter notifying them of unused insurance benefits, contact them via email, phone, and text message. Your email should be sent a few days after the letter is sent. The purpose is to alert them that you have sent an important letter regarding monies that are available for their dental care. For example:
Our computer estimates that you still have unused dental insurance benefits available to you. Unfortunately, you will lose those benefits if you do not use them by the end of the year. We want to help you secure the insurance coverage available to you on every dental procedure you schedule, and this is an excellent time to take care of any hygiene visits or dental treatments that you might have been putting off. Just reply to this email or give us a call today at 555-1234, and together let's make sure you get the treatment you need and the most out of your dental insurance benefits.
Keep in mind that the patient may have forgotten that s/he needs a specific treatment. The doctor might have mentioned that s/he was concerned about a certain area. The patient may have promised to schedule the appointment in a few weeks when s/he wasn’t quite as busy. Unfortunately, the patient forgot. If possible, make it a point to mention the doctor’s recommended treatment for the specific patient. The message will have greater impact.
Now that you’ve sent your letter and your email, don’t overlook text messaging. This is proving to be tremendously effective in reaching patients. Moreover, many practice management software programs allow you to send a text message to your patients quickly and easily. Keep your text simple and straightforward, for example:
You have $200 in unused dental insurance benefits that will be lost at year’s end. Schedule your professional dental cleaning today. Reply to this text or call Dr. Greg’s office at 555-1234.
Finally, pick up the phone and call those patients that have not responded. For example, you might say:
Mrs. Jones, this is Sherry from Dr. Bernie’s office. It’s come to our attention that you have $500 in unused insurance monies available to you that you will lose at the end of the year. In looking at your record, Dr. Bernie recommended treatment to a tooth on the upper left side. Now would be a very good time to take care of that and ensure that you do not lose the insurance dollars allocated to you for the remainder of the year. How would either Tuesday at 9 a.m. or Thursday at 2 p.m. work for your schedule?
Remember, the last thing a patient wants to do is throw away their insurance coverage. For many, all they need is a reminder that funds are available to them. And patients will be sincerely appreciative that you took the time to inform them.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side.
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