Improve Your Dental Case Acceptance with a Newsletter
It’s a recurring frustration for many dentists: You provide treatment advice based on your many years of experience. It’s in the best interest of your patient, and you know you can help him. Still, he doesn’t follow through with your treatment plan. You can blame the patient, or you can look to your practice. How can you improve case acceptance?
In our decades of working with dentists, we’ve learned the three main reasons patients don’t follow through with high-margin services.
1. You confuse them with overly technical language.
Patients want to know that you can help them. Sometimes, however, dentists make the mistake of getting into the nitty-gritty details of a procedure, thinking it will influence the patient to move forward. They are sure it will demonstrate how badly she needs the treatment while showcasing the dental team’s extensive knowledge.
Let me illustrate. Recently, I took my car into an auto body shop to discuss wheel alignment, because I knew I had a problem. The shop staffer explained to me in great detail why I needed new shocks, struts, tires and an alignment. It was technical, and I didn’t absorb much of the information; plus, I was overwhelmed by what it would cost. But then, when he showed me a set of tires that were worn like mine, I could clearly see the extent of the damage I would face if I didn’t solve the problem. And it would keep costing me in quickly worn-out tires.
2. Patients don’t come away “feeling” as though you care.
We use the word “feeling” intentionally. A patient may have rational reasons for delaying treatment, but how they “feel” about you and your practice is paramount. Personal touches and empathy, from the front desk to the billing office, always matter. These touches are critical. How soft is your touch?
Let’s revisit the alignment example. With a terrific visual representation, the body shop made it clear to me that I had a problem. But, I also believed they were overstating the extent of the repairs needed; that is, I didn’t believe they cared about my best interests as much as making a high profit on the transaction. I had the work done, at a competing shop, with a more personal touch—one that didn’t think I needed to have as much work done.
My car is running splendidly.
The moral of the story is that your patients must “feel” that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. And they must understand their dental issues and the benefits of the solutions you recommend.
3. You talk about cost too soon.
Every patient wants to know: How much is this going to cost me? How many hours or days of work am I going to miss? They deserve to know these details, of course, but don’t lead with the price tag. Make sure they fully understand the problem and the solution before you tell them the cost, amount of time away from work, etc.
Educate them with a patient newsletter, all year long.
A dental patient newsletter, written in conversational, easy-to-understand language, will keep your practice in front of your patients—and potential future patients—on a monthly basis. Many dentists find their newsletter to be an important tool for educating their patients along the way, so when it’s time for a treatment, the likelihood of case acceptance increases. That’s because newsletters continually and subtly plant seeds of trust, transparency and care between patient visits to your office.
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