11.16.07 - Issue # 297 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Patient Retention and the Power of Scripts

Whether it is knowing what to say when a patient cancels his/her two hour bridge appointment for the second time, to knowing how to present implant versus endo options to the patient with a low dental IQ, we are often frantically searching for words that don’t come to mind easily thus endangering the “trust” connection necessary to retain the patient in the practice.

The Advanced Front Office and Office Manager Training Courses at McKenzie Management provide several written scripts to help give you this confidence in most dental situations.  Customizing these scripts to fit your practice philosophy or “Mission Statement” can be incorporated into the training.

Why Scripts?  There are several advantages to scripts. Here are five advantages:

  1. Scripts give the speaker confidence.  The script or “a planned series of sentences” Prevents the speaker from becoming flustered, defensive, forgetting the main thought or the objective and saying filler comments such as “um, um or let me think, or I am not sure etc” Once you have learned what to say, you can change or add words to make it better depending on the circumstance or the patient.
  2. Scripts add a professional “I know what I am talking about” touch to what you say to the patient.  Understanding each procedure and product that you will be recommending to a patient is one thing but being able to explain it in understandable terms in a short period of time to a patient, is another.  Many dentists have been told that they are too technical or “wordy” in their deliveries causing the patient to become confused and reluctant to schedule.  Developing scripts that are concise, direct and easy for the layperson to understand is an important communication challenge.
  1. Scripts help the doctor and team develop better language skills.  Spontaneous language does not have the power of developed language.  It is easy to slip into bad language habits when you have not scripted what you want to say.  For instance, in explaining to a patient why it is necessary to give you a 48 hour appointment confirmation, a spontaneous response might be “Ah, Mrs. Brown, we don’t like it when you don’t give us a warning that you are not coming in, ah, we, um, have expenses for the office and we are expecting you to come in, doctor was looking forward to seeing you.”  A scripted response would be, “Mrs. Brown we understand that unexpected events may happen, however we request a 48 hour appointment confirmation for this type of procedure.  The time is reserved for you and the doctor and his staff was prepared to see you today.  Is there any way at all that you can keep this appointment today?”
  2. Scripts save time.  Scheduling to production goals requires time management.  How often I have heard a scheduling coordinator or business administrator spend ten to fifteen minutes on the phone explaining insurance coverage to a patient.  Often going on a tangent about how insurance companies “rip us off” etc.  Sticking to a rehearsed and scripted response will ensure the objective of the call instead of providing a “soap box” for an unsolicited rant about dental insurance.
  3. Scripts ensure consistency in communications in the practice.  If everyone is on the “same page” the patient will get the same response from whomever they speak to in the practice.  For instance if your scheduling coordinator says “Oh, that’s okay, we can reschedule you for another day.” However, your business administrator says, “Mr. Smith, I understand that things can happen beyond your control, we have that time reserved just for you, is there any way at all that you can keep your appointment with us today?”  The patient is getting two different messages, which can be translated to lack of professional organization

In developing scripts, it is always important to define the objective of the script.  Is it to educate, inform, schedule an appointment, get a bill paid, etc.?  It is an opportunity to choose the right words to convey the message and to rehearse each scenario before it actually plays out in the office.

Know what to say, when to say it and how to say it now.  Join us for the Advanced Business Training for doctors, business administrators and front office today.

For more information about the Advanced Business Training and Dentist Start-up Programs for your educational benefit, email training@mckenziemgmt.com, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at www.mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here

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