Getting Your Patients to say Yes!
Feeling the pinch of competition? Looking for ways to increase revenue for your dental clinic? You might think that recruiting new patients is the best possible way to boost production. Think again. Your current patient base is actually a treasure trove of potential income—if you can increase your rate of dental treatment acceptance. If you’re like most dental clinics, your current conversion rate is low.
Oral health providers often feel frustrated and a bit perplexed by patient failure to accept treatment. It seems to make no sense that patients would choose not to have cavities filled or opt for bridges when they could have implants. Part of the problem may stem from the messages you convey to patients. For example, “it’s just a small cavity; we can keep an eye on it.” Patients translate that as, “oh, treatment is optional.” Though, as a dental professional, you may find the characterization of your patients as “customers” a tad distasteful, that is, in fact, what they are. The reality is that dental services are competing for consumer dollars with other possible purchases like flat screen T.V.s, family vacations, and new furniture.
What’s the solution? How do you get your dental patients to say “yes”? First take a look at the current attitudes and behaviors in your clinic. When patients are reluctant to commit to treatment, do you and other dental clinic colleagues just think, “Well, that’s the end of that!”? If so, you’re passing up a rich vein to mine and leaving a sizable amount of potential income on the table. In many cases, you’re also doing a big disservice to your patients, who aren’t getting the treatment they need to maintain optimal oral health.
Let’s look at what else is preventing dental offices from leveraging this valuable opportunity. One obstacle is that dental office staff, including treatment coordinators, often feel uncomfortable pushing back against patient hesitation and objections to treatment. They see it as conflict, which, like most people, they want to avoid. That perspective needs to be re-framed as an opening to help patients get what they want and need. Staff can employ targeted strategies to overcome patient objections and propel them toward dental treatment acceptance in supportive, non-confrontational ways. Another challenge is that fostering acceptance is part of a multi-faceted, multi-pronged process, rather than one quick solution. For example, dental clinic staff need to first lay a foundation by applying specific techniques to establish solid rapport with patients. The biggest hurdle, though, is lack of training in the approaches that result in patient commitment to treatment.
“It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.”
Our clients have been surprised by the remarkable results from these proven strategies. They report increases in post-training treatment acceptance rates ranging from 30 to 60%. We recommend that you start collecting data on your current treatment acceptance now, so that you have an idea of your baseline. The next logical step is to provide staff training. Treatment coordinators are an obvious choice for participation. But, with the right training, dental hygienists, who typically spend more time with patients than anyone else, can also be instrumental in supporting treatment acceptance. Explore our practical, results-oriented multi-course series on promoting treatment acceptance by clicking here