I thought long and hard before putting this on paper. What really matters in a successful dental practice? What would infuse your practice with the most electric? The unequivocal answer is… case acceptance. Before you move to the next article, I promise you haven’t heard this before – not like this. If you stop and think about it, how you spend your days – whether they’re fulfilling or ungratifying, how many patients you treat each day, whether you are able to offer a pension plan, whether you can pick up the tab for lunch, whether you’re having fun, has everything to do with case acceptance. This article is going to break it down so you can improve dramatically today!
Communication Skill of the Doctor:
I am not pulling any punches here: If you can’t communicate, you’re toast. Finished. Kaput. There is simply nothing more critical than your ability to talk, listen, hold eye contact, laugh, be serious, and connect with your patient. There exists a plethora of books on this subject. Pick one up today.
Phenomenal case acceptance begins with you understanding that you only have so many hours in a work week. If you spend that time randomly with people who don’t share your value of comprehensive care – then everything else in this article has just been nullified.
Most patients call your office with a specific chief complaint: A broken tooth, pain on the lower left, or a tooth missing from their partial. They are not thinking about quadrant scaling, ¾ gold onlays or equilibrating their occlusion. Your screener should explain the benefit of a full exam. If the new patient won’t allow an FMX or complete exam, then perhaps you could match them with an office with a more compatible philosophy. Extraordinary case acceptance requires that you not treat everyone!
The First Five Minutes:
Many noted psychologists have recognized that most relationships are won or lost in the first five minutes. Here is a good way to think about this: If you are a comprehensive care office – if you spend an hour or so at the initial exam, routinely do oral cancer screenings, a detailed soft tissue analysis, examine the muscles and joints, take models, note wear patterns, and of course all the other expected and more common components of an examination, chances are that you diagnose more pathology and subsequently recommend more treatment. This costs more. Significantly more. And when a consumer is asked to invest more, a lot of things become critical that otherwise might not matter – like the first five minutes. Here is what counts: Make sure at the morning meeting that the front desk team anticipates the new patient’s arrival. It’s easy. If they are due at 10:00, start looking for someone new at 9:45. When you see them, stand up, walk into the reception room and say, “You must be Kelly, we’ve been expecting you. Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a cold drink?” That’s not fluff – it’s good old-fashioned manners. And if you expect a patient to make a serious investment, you’d better be polite – you’d better make them feel valued from the start.
The Physical Impact:
It doesn’t cost a lot to look “Walt Disney” clean, but it does require job roles. Simply assign one of the staff to do this task. It would look like this:
Office Concierge Coordinator Duties
Check the reception room several times a day.
- Is the reading material neat?
- Are the refreshments well-stocked?
- Are all the glass surfaces free of fingerprints? (Keep a bottle of glass cleaner at the front desk.)
- Are the plants alive?
- Are the rugs spotless?
Check the restroom.
- Are the sink, toilet, floor, and mirror immaculate?
- Fill a basket with disposable toothbrushes
- Buy some male & female cologne (Big bottles are less likely to walk away.)
In today’s current pandemic environment, consider adding multiple hand sanitizing stations and appropriate protocols for spacing. Although one person is assigned to this task, everyone is responsible for “Walt Disney” clean.
Whether you have two members or twenty, they’d better know what you think is important. They’d better know that if you’re going to remain a fee for service practice, their performance matters. What makes the difference?
- They can’t be moody
- They gotta love their job
- They believe you should be the president of the ADA or even the USA
- They love people
- They refer to patients by name
- They remember “stuff” about everyone
- Their affection for their teammates is obvious
- They care about how they look
- They dress great, smell great, have impeccable hygiene and a killer smile
- They’re passionate – about something – anything!
- They know what to say and what not to say when you’re not in the room
- They’re real hard to find. Be patient and start looking
All of the reading audience could explode their case acceptance if they were willing to implement a few of these “cost free” protocols throughout their practice. I have not suggested any expensive purchases of the latest and greatest gadgets (although great case acceptance will help you afford those things). We’re talking about attitudes, regimens, follow through, and passion.