Make Patients Want to Say Yes to Treatment
At times, getting patients to say yes to treatment can seem like an impossible task. You explain why they need the treatment and do your best to answer their questions, yet they leave the office without scheduling – some never to be heard from again.
Unfortunately, patients look for reasons not to go forward with treatment. They convince themselves they can’t afford it, or that they just don’t have the time. It’s your job to help them understand why maintaining their oral health is so important, and to make them want to say yes to the treatment you recommend.
If your case acceptance rates are below the 85% benchmark (which is the situation in many practices), it’s killing your bottom line and likely team morale. While this can be a pretty frustrating situation, I want you to look at it as an opportunity. With a little help, and a commitment to making a few changes, you can significantly improve your case acceptance rates and practice production. Here’s how:
Listen to your patients. If you want to improve case acceptance in your practice, you must find out what motivates your patients. When they say no, ask them why. If it’s because they don’t really see the value of the treatment, educate them about their condition and the possible consequences of not going forward. If the price tag is keeping them from scheduling, talk with them about financing options like CareCredit. Simply put, determine their perceived barriers to care and then help them overcome those barriers.
Another tip? Use the new patient interview to find out what motivates patients at their very first visit. Ask about their oral health goals and what improvements they’d like to see in their smile. Repeat these interviews every 18 to 24 months so you know exactly what services they’re most interested in pursuing.
Consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator. This team member will be able to sit down with patients and go over every detail of treatment, from the benefits to how long the procedure will take to how much it will cost. He or she can answer questions and address concerns patients have. I also suggest you have your Treatment Coordinator follow up with patients two days after the initial presentation to provide additional education and ultimately get them on the schedule.
Earn their trust. Before patients schedule expensive treatment, they’ll want to feel a connection with you and your team members. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to build a rapport with your patients. Ask about their jobs and families. Discuss oral health goals and explain how you can help them meet those goals. Let them know you care about their well-being, and they’ll be more likely to stay loyal to your practice and say yes to the treatment you recommend.
Focus on the benefits of treatment. While it’s important to talk about the financial aspects of the services you provide, don’t make this the first item you discuss. This can be off-putting and might lead patients to think your only goal is to sell them treatment, which isn’t exactly a great way to earn their trust. Not only that, if the treatment is thousands of dollars, that’s all patients will think about as your coordinator goes over all the other important details.
I suggest you take the time to educate patients before you start talking about money. Make sure they understand the value of the care you provide and have a chance to ask questions. Then you can talk about cost and any financing options you offer. You’ll find that once patients understand why they need treatment, price becomes less of a barrier.
Talk at their level. Most of your patients didn’t go to dental school and won’t be impressed if you throw out dental terms they don’t understand. Instead, they’ll leave your office confused and with no intention of scheduling. That’s why it’s so important to talk at their level. I suggest you show educational videos to help them understand their condition and the need for treatment. Capture images with intraoral cameras and x-rays so they can see exactly what’s going on in their mouths. Use common terms they’ll recognize when discussing treatment options. Taking this approach will help patients see why treatment is necessary, and that’s how you get them to say yes.
Many practices struggle with case acceptance, which is both frustrating and costly. Take the time to educate patients and earn their trust, and you’ll soon see a boost in practice production and your bottom line. Consider enrolling in my one-day Treatment Acceptance Training Program for more guidance in securing patient commitment to treatment.
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For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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