7.5.13 Issue #591 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Activate Dormant Revenue before Marketing
Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

The focus on attracting new patients to the dental practice is seldom overlooked. When dentists are asked what they want most for their practice, the number one answer is more new patients. Advertising campaigns and marketing strategies can be expensive and unsuccessful if the expectations of the target market are not matched to the services of the dental practice.

Before embarking on a marketing strategy, it is recommended to have a complete chart audit (paper charts) or computer generated reports to determine how many active patients you have and how many open treatment plans exist. The definition of an active patient is one who has had dental services in your practice (other than transient care) from today to one year ago. If the patient is in recall or scheduled for follow-up care then you know acceptance of your practice is current. If the audit reveals patients who have not returned for recall and/or have unscheduled treatment, a plan to reactivate is necessary. If you are using patient management systems such as Sesame, Demandforce, or Eaglesoft and Dentrix systems then you can use these programs to send out surveys and reminders to contact the practice for an appointment. If patients do not respond to automated prompting, pick up the phone and call them.

Research has shown that people who are dissatisfied with the services of a dental practice seldom voice the reason. When a patient does not want to schedule in your practice or is now a patient in another practice, it is important to ask why they left your practice. The script would be as follows: “Hello, Mrs. Brown? This is Mary from Dr. Dee’s dental office and I am calling to invite you to schedule for your past due professional cleaning and examination. I have Wednesday, July 10th at 2:00 available, would that work for you?”

If the patient says they are not interested or have chosen another dentist, the following response is recommended. “I am sorry to hear that Mrs. Brown. We strive to improve our patient care. May I ask the reason that you are not returning to our practice? It will be kept confidential.”

Write the reason in the patient’s chart note area and also record on a separate spreadsheet to quantify the reasons patients have left the practice. This can be used to improve practice systems prior to marketing. The next response would be, “If I can correct this issue for you, would you return to our practice?

If you do not correct what makes patients leave your practice, there will be more of the same in the future. Save money and audit patient records before your new marketing strategy. I interviewed a patient recently who felt that his dentist of 15 years was overcharging and decided to visit another dentist down the street. The new dentist was late in seating him and the business staff did not have his insurance information, so they were not able to give him an estimate. They said they would email the treatment plan to him. He decided to return to his former dentist because they were far more prepared. Money was no longer the obstacle. Good customer service and having the information patients need to make a decision equals good dental care. The two cannot be separated as far as patients are concerned.

Contacting unscheduled patients has shown to improve practice production by 20-30%. Patients often equate lack of interest from the provider as lack of importance to the services they provide. Reactivation is to be performed daily from unscheduled treatment lists, past due recall lists and other tickler file lists. Be sure you are making at least 5 phone calls a day to contact the patient. You can leave a message that says the following: 

“Hi, this is____from Dr.____’s dental office. We have missed you and I am calling to schedule a convenient time for you to return for your care. We are here Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 5:00 or you can email us at ____ for an appointment request. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Our phone number is__________.”

If you are losing more patients out the back door than new ones are coming in the front door, your practice is in decline. Want to identify and fix the broken systems affecting your practice growth? Contact McKenzie Management today for professional business training or dental practice consulting services.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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