How many new dental patients do you turn away each month? Almost every dental team would say that new patients are never turned away, especially given how hard most practices work at attracting new patients. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of those answering the phone, new patients are lost each month due to easy-to-fix missteps.
The first area to fine-tune is to not just focus on answering initial questions about cost and insurance. Even though potential new patients often call with these questions, there are usually other concerns that motivated the call. Be sure to ask. “I will gladly answer your insurance questions. I am also interested in learning about what motivated your call today. What concerns do you have about your teeth?” This helps you gain a broader context for the call and offers more points of discussion than just cost and insurance.
Next, ask for the patient’s name, and then use the patient’s name once or twice during the call. You always come across as more friendly when you address someone by name.
The third thing to ask about is how the new patient learned about your practice. Was the patient referred by an existing patient? Now you have a chance to same something positive about the practice. “John is such a great guy, I am so glad he referred you. He may have told you that Dr. A is really good at putting people at ease.” You can also use this approach even if the new patient just found you on their PPO list. “We have plenty of long-term patients with that insurance. And just like them, I think you will really like our friendly team.”
Finally, invite new patients to schedule. Too many times this step is completely overlooked, especially when teams get focused on answering questions about cost and insurance.
Since you work so hard to get new patients to call your practice, make sure you are not inadvertently turning some of those new patients away. Encourage your front team to fine-tune their skills to maximize the number of new patients you schedule.