When your team members call patients or accept an incoming call to take a payment or to have a question answered, does your team capitalize on that call?
Returning calls, taking notes and maintaining your call-back list is an incredibly important responsibility, but it can be very time-consuming for your team members. Often they feel that it is ineffective as most calls today go to voicemail, especially depending on the time of day you call.
In my experience, a well crafted follow up call, or inbound call scrips is one of the most critical roles in your practice that builds trust with your patients and dramatically, yet indirectly, affects your practice growth and income. Plus it’s becoming a lost art as high quality customer service is a dying breed in America as more things become “automated” or “self-checkout.” Especially during this turbulent time, phone calls can be a fantastic way to reach out and connect with people.
To maximize your effectiveness and ROI on your phone calls, ensure your team members are familiar with the principle we call “PHUBB.” Have them write this down on a 3 x 5 card and keep it near your office phones as a reminder on how to capitalize on each call from an existing patient (or new patient…or any caller for that matter). Also ensure your software or patient charts are handy so you can quickly get into the callers new or existing file. Here’s what PHUBB stands for:
P – Profile updates (address, phone number, email)
H – Hygiene (recare appointment, periodontal treatment, or root canal/ortho/other specialty procedure follow-up)
U – Urgent or important treatment schedules and discussed (disease related examples: deep decay, tooth extraction, implants, ortho, root canals, etc.)
B – Billing up-to-date (outstanding balances paid or insurance updates)
B – Benefits (insurance, payment plans, timeline on work, special offers or promotions going on right now, your in house plan benefits for uninsured patients, etc.)
By going through each of these with each and every existing patient or prospective patient, your team will eliminate the total number of calls they make, both inbound and outbound, while realizing a huge reward by maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of each call. Try it this week, and you’ll notice an instant bump in your production and collections, both on the doctor and hygiene sides of your schedule.
My rule of thumb is that “if the math doesn’t make sense, nothing else will,” and this is certainly an area where we are limited by time to place and take calls, so why not make the most of each one?
Keep in mind that your dental practice is the goose that lays the golden eggs, and your time, energy, and money spent there will likely produce the greatest return compared to any other investment over your career.
DON’T NEGLECT your #1 asset in your practice – your patient list. It is far more valuable than any 3D technology or your entire building for that matter. Your patient list IS the goose that lays the golden eggs, so don’t neglect it. Nourish it, dig deep, cultivate your list and maximize the value that is already under your feet. This includes your team members. Take care of those around you, not just in the form of dental treatment, but in building long-lasting relationships using a (5R) relationship marketing system. My philophsy about this goes as follows:
“You don’t get a new or reactivated patient to do treatment on, you offer treatment to gain trust with a new patient.”
Finding and keeping great patients is THE hardest thing you will do in your practice. This is more difficult than any surgical, restorative or orthodontic procedure you offer–by a long shot. I would take doing a difficult treatment on a great patient over a simple procedure on a difficult patient any day. You probably would too. How do I define a “difficult” patient? Simply put, a difficult patient is one who is not a good match for your practice. Doing the right thing goes far beyond creating a winning smile for your patients– it also means being a resource for people who are not a good fit for your practice, so that they can get the help they need. Sometimes this means you’ll refer them somewhere else–but make sure you do it the right way, with a spirit of sincere service and compassion.
If you gain nothing else from this article, please nail down this concept of making the most of your patient list. Not only will it make your job easier and your marketing way more effective, but it will easily bring in additional tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per year! Most importantly, your patients will be happier than ever.