By Compassionate Finance on Jul 26, 2018 11:30:00 PM
While attracting new patients is one of the most obvious ways to grow your dental practice, improving patient retention and case acceptance is arguably just as or more important. Retention and case acceptance are, in a way, a reflection of the consistent performance of your practice and going above-and-beyond to make the patient experience a positive one.
The more proactive your practice is about keeping patients happy, the less likely they are to switch to a competing practice or walk away from treatment. Building rapport and trust take time, two things that are often the result of providing not only high-value treatment and communicating that value, but also financial support wherever possible.
Here are six unique ways you can keep patients happy, retain them and see better case acceptance results.
1. Communicate on a Personalized Level
Seasoned dental veterans already understand the power of treating every patient like an individual, but this approach is critical for the patient experience.
Even before a patient walks in the door, communication should be consistent, personal and positive. This means clearly explaining dates and times of appointments, who will take care of the patient and what kind of treatment, if possible, the patient can expect. Simply remembering a patient’s name and using it in all communications (especially in office) is one of the best ways to connect and build meaningful rapport.
Also, rather than sitting a patient down and getting to work right away, talk about topics other than dentistry. Help the patient feel comfortable and then you can start asking questions related to the visit.
2. Demonstrate Treatment Value Visually
The more information you can convey to the patient through visuals rather than words, the better. If you can show intraoral images or x-rays that clearly demonstrate problem areas, a patient will have a better understanding of why specific treatments are necessary. You can even introduce your treatment plans visually, especially if a patient must decide between more than one option.
To take visual presentation a step further, you could potentially show the patient the payment plans for the treatment. The visual presentation of symptoms and treatment allows for a natural transition to discussing how a patient will afford the offered treatment.
3. Take Advantage of Same-Day Treatment Options
As technology improves, so do the expectations of immediacy. This is no different for patients that expect treatment in short order, potentially even the same day of their visit. Not only do patients expect faster treatment turnaround, but gaps between appointments also give the patient more time to potentially decide that the recommended treatment isn’t worth the investment after all — causing your practice’s case acceptance to suffer and preventing the patient from getting the care they need.
One of our recent blogs discusses the advent of technologies that are helping dentists improve turnaround and deliver same-day treatment. CAD/CAM, which allows for the modeling and creation of same-day veneers and crowns, is one of many such technologies.
4. Stay Reassuring and Keep Terminology Simple
While it’s fine using dental jargon among colleagues, you’re more likely to intimidate patients if you’re not using layman’s terms to discuss problems and treatments. At no point do you want the patient to feel like their procedure is going to be overly complex or that their dental problem is far more severe than it might be in reality.
Instead, let patients know what’s wrong in terms they can understand and exude confidence that your treatment plan will accomplish your patient’s goals.
5. Set Clear Expectations for How Treatment and Payments Are Arranged
Some dentists are more comfortable talking about costs and payment plans, while others might defer the main conversation to the front desk. Whatever your preference and approach, make sure it’s a well-oiled machine. Keep in mind that Compassionate Finance allow patients to sign up via tablet in 2-5 minutes, which makes it convenient for dentists themselves to take charge of the payment discussion.
Having a plan is especially important if you want to execute a same-day procedure. Whoever at your practice is arranging payment plans, make sure that the process is a smooth and stress-free experience for the patient.
6. Offer Affordable Payment Plans
Treatment costs aren’t as much of an issue to patients as their ability to afford the costs. Frankly, not everyone is willing to pay upfront and the prospect of monthly payments is much more attractive. By offering flexible payment plans that work for different financial circumstances, you’re giving patients the confidence to say “yes” to treatment more often. If you’ve demonstrated the value of your treatment effectively, a payment program like Compassionate Finance can help bring your case acceptance to a new level.
Tenth Impressions Matter
Yes, the first impression is vitally important, but building relationships with patients takes time. Once you’ve earned their trust and you’ve given them as personalized an experience as possible, the less likely they are to leave for a competing practice and happier they’ll be overall.
By leveraging the technology and tools available to you for patient communication and financial support, you’ll be in a better position to improve your case acceptance in 2018.