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Create Scripts that Lead to Positive Change
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Change certainly isn’t easy. Most people, including your team members, fear change because they have no idea how it might affect their lives. They’re afraid even small changes will result in a loss of power that could threaten their job security. This, of course, makes them resistant to altering their routine or adding new tasks to their list of duties. 

But it’s important to remember that positive change can bring many benefits to your practice, including an increase in revenue. Making one small change could be exactly what you need to grow production or your patient base. It could be the difference between scheduling patients for treatment or losing patients to the practice down the street. 

The trick is, you can’t just thrust change upon your team members and expect them to respond. Many supervisors do this and it sets their team up to fail. When it’s time to make a change in your practice, talk with team members about why the change is necessary and how it will affect their daily routine. Ask for their input, and provide the training needed to succeed. Prepare team members for change and they’ll not only be less resistant, they’ll also be more effective and confident in their ability to handle the change.

Let’s go back to last week’s example. You want to get more past due patients on the schedule so you’ve tasked team member “Sarah” with calling these patients, as well as following up to remind them of their appointments two days in advance. Sarah thinks this is a bad idea and tells you so. Patients will just be annoyed by the calls and will feel like they’re being hounded, making the extra effort all for naught.

The truth is, Sarah’s real concern has nothing to do with how patients will feel about the calls. She’s never done this before and simply isn’t comfortable calling patients to talk about treatment. She has no idea how to encourage patients to keep or schedule appointments, and she’s nervous she’ll end up saying the wrong thing. She’d much rather stay in her comfort zone, so she’s doing her best to come up with excuses to keep this off her to-do list.

If you want Sarah to make these calls, and to be effective when she does it, she has to become comfortable with the idea. Explain to her why these follow up calls are so important, and how they can help improve practice production and grow your bottom line. But that isn’t enough. Provide Sarah with proper training as well as written scripts

You’re probably wondering what exactly these scripts should include. Scripts basically offer a general template that tells team members what to say when talking with patients. For example, one of Sarah’s scripts should outline what she needs to cover when she calls patients about scheduling past due appointments. She can personalize these calls by noting a particular area of concern and then reinforce the need for treatment based on patient information in the chart. This personal attention not only shows patients the importance of scheduling treatment, but also that your practice cares about their wellbeing.

Scripts can benefit pretty much everyone on your staff. When it’s time to make collection calls, scripts can help even the most nervous team member to properly request payments. Scripts make it possible to effectively communicate with new patients calling the office for the first time, to reach out to patients with unscheduled treatment and to handle patients who don’t show up for appointments. They also help team members provide better patient education, which leads to increased treatment acceptance and a more robust bottom line.

Another benefit? Scripts help keep communication in your practice consistent. Everyone knows what to say, how to say it and when to say it because they’re prepared. They don’t have to think on their feet and worry about fumbling for the right words. They can read through the scripts with other team members, a practice that helps them become more confident in their telephone skills, no matter the patient communication scenario they’re faced with.

While it’s true most people are resistant to change, if you provide team members with the tools they need to succeed, making the right changes can bring many benefits to your practice. Prepare your team members for change and they’ll start to view it as a positive experience. The proper training and tools will set them up for success, and that will only mean good things for practice production and your bottom line.

Still need more guidance? Check out these templates or contact me and I’ll help you develop the best scripts possible for your practice.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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