4 ways team members can help improve case acceptance
When patients don’t accept treatment the dentist recommends, it’s frustrating for everyone in the practice. Not only does it hurt productivity and ultimately revenues, it means patients aren’t getting the care they need.
Case acceptance is vital to a dental practice’s success, yet it’s something many offices struggle with. If your practice is among those struggling, it’s important to know fixing the problem doesn’t just ride on the dentist’s shoulders alone. That’s right, there are ways team members can help improve case acceptance and grow the practice’s bottom line. Here are four:
- They can focus on building a rapport with patients. Yes it’s important for patients to feel a connection with the dentist, but it also helps if they like the staff too. One bad experience with a team member could prompt a patient to look for a new dental home, which certainly won’t help boost case acceptance numbers. That’s why I suggest encouraging team members to get to know patients and to build a rapport with them. They should ask about their families and their jobs, and always greet them with a friendly smile. It’s important for patients to feel comfortable every time they walk into the practice, and the way the team interacts with them goes a long way toward making that happen. If they show patients they care, it helps build trust, which makes them more likely to stay loyal and to accept recommended treatment.
- They can provide education. The more educated patients are about the importance of dental care and maintaining their oral health, the more likely they are to get the treatment they need. Team members can help provide that education, whether it’s through materials they give patients at the front desk or by talking to patients chairside about what’s discovered during a routine exam. Training clinical team members to ask patients about their oral health goals also will help tailor the education the practice provides. Based on their answers, the dentist can recommend treatment that aligns with patient goals, making them more likely to go forward with that treatment.
- They can offer exceptional customer service. The more team members can do to make patients feel comfortable, they more trust patients will have in the practice—and that leads to increased case acceptance. Team members should be trained to go out of their way to put patients at ease, whether that means helping them fill out paperwork, offering them coffee or water while they wait, or assuring nervous patients they’re in great hands. All these small gestures help foster loyalty, and loyal patients accept treatment.
- They should be able to talk about any services the practice offers. If patients ask team members about the benefits of a procedure or about a new technology, they should get the same answer no matter who they talk to. They’ll have a difficult time entrusting the office with their dental care if no one is on the same page, making it vital to keep messaging and educational efforts consistent.
Proper training helps practices achieve that consistency, as do scripts. When properly trained, team members understand the technology and services the practice offers and can confidently communicate the benefits to patients, while scripts guide them when answering questions over the phone.
If you’re ready to improve case acceptance in your practice, I suggest you consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator. Why? Even dentists who love presenting treatment probably only spend five, maybe 10, minutes explaining their recommendations. This usually isn’t enough time to get patients on board. A Treatment Coordinator can sit down with patients for as long as necessary in a comfortable, relaxed environment to go over treatment and answer any questions they have. Patients appreciate the extra time spent and leave the practice with a better understanding of why treatment is necessary.
Hiring and then properly training a Treatment Coordinator really is key to increasing case acceptance. For best results, this team member should go over the benefits of treatment before getting into the cost, as well as understand the importance of following up after the initial meeting. Armed with a well-thought-out script and all the necessary information, such as a patient’s main concerns about the procedure and perceived barriers to care, the coordinator should follow up two days later with the goal of providing more education and getting patients scheduled.
Improve case acceptance to grow your practice
Lackluster case acceptance hurts a practice financially and brings everyone down. Getting the team involved will lead to more patients saying yes to the treatment they need, which in turn boosts practice productivity and revenues.
Need more ideas to improve case acceptance in your practice? Feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help.
Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nation-wide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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