Episode #258: Actual Data from a Dental Practice that Has Successfully Dropped PPO Plans
Many dentists experience the problem of new patients not showing up. There could be many reasons why your new patients are not showing up for their appointments. However, this problem at your practice results from several common areas. Gary Takacs will dive in and turn three common problem-areas into three tips that will help dentists improve the process of getting new patients. By listening to this episode, you can transform your practice into a practice that attracts all the new patients with kept appointments!
N: Hello everyone, welcome to another amazing episode of the less insurance dependence podcast show. This is Naren, your cohost. Today’s topic is going to be a viral topic; many of you have written to us asking this very same question – the question is Help! My New Patients Aren’t Showing Up!. Help! My New Patients Aren’t Showing Up! Before we jump into this topic, I have a quick announcement, the three-part thriving dentist MBA workshop is happening on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of April, it is three evenings 7 – 10 pm eastern, 9 hours of CE, Garry goes through the ten elements and the 24 systems, this is one of our best-seller courses, so if you have not taken it, I strongly recommend that you take it we probably have a couple of more seats left to go to thriving dentist.com/MBA and sign up we will include a link. Gary, let’s talk about Help! My New Patients Aren’t Showing Up!
G: Naren, we have been deluged with that question by dentists all over the country, so I have two opening comments, doctor. If you saw that title and you are thinking, gosh, I need to listen to this one, know that you have got company. There are other dentists that are expecting this challenge, and that is my first comment – you are not alone if this is your challenge
and the comment I have is – here is the great news, there are some solutions at hand that is going to help you solve this – so stay tuned you are going to hear those solutions, and you know as we dive into the topic here one of the things I want to say, this can be a multi-faceted challenge there could be many reasons that contribute to new patients, not showing up, it is kind of like imagine this Naren, imagine you take your car into the mechanic, and you say my car is not working fix it, and what is the mechanic going to say at that point? Well, I need more information – what is it that is not working in our car? Is it the transmission; is it the motor? Is it electric? What is it I can help? What is it? So I really like to get more information before giving specific information you know specific solutions about new patients not showing up but we have been doing this long enough to know that the problems fall into a number of different common areas, on why new patients don’t show up and so we are going to use our accumulated knowledge to share with you where those common speed bumps are so you can solve those in your practice and this becomes a solution in your rear view mirror instead of something that you consider to experience In your day to day, you know there is nothing more frustrating, our marketing worked, we got the patient to call they made an appointment it is like we are almost there and yet they didn’t show up o let me go through the I will clarify the problem and then we will present the solution, and I am going to cover three tips to help more patients show up for a kept – we call it a kept new patient appointment because it means they kept it that they showed up – so here is what I believe and here is maybe the motivation for you, I believe if we can get the patient through your front door for that first appointment, they are never going to want to go anywhere else, and I hope that is true in your practice – ask yourself that question – that if anew patient comes in they will never want to go anywhere else for their dental care, I truly feel that from every ounce of my dna for my life smiles practice, that if patients come through the front door, they are never going to want to go anywhere else for their care – so kind of do a status check on that and make sure we are presenting the behaviors that we want to present when we want to encourage people that have found a practice for life, so let’s over those tips along with a solution for each and every one of them.
N: I was going to say, Gary, it is so basic and so science-based everything you are going to share; I think if people apply it, they will see a significant improvement; the key is understanding the science and applying it correctly
G: Now, how do we know that? We know that because we have literally the data points on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of practices where we can say look what happened to look at what we have improved. The conversion percentage – the number of calls that convert to an appointment, and then we track the number of kept appointments – is it a kept appointment? It is almost like when I ask doctors what the most important metric to track in your practice is – and they will give you all kinds of different types, and I say from a business standpoint, well, it is collections
G: it is your collections because those are dollars in the bank, and so really it is the kept new patient that we track and the data, and when we are able to track it in hundreds of practices, and now I can report back to you, so let’s talk about problem number 1 – why they are, and these are not numbered in the importance they are numbered to remember to cover all 3, but I am going to say problem number 1 on why patients might not show up for new appointments, and that is that the new appointment, was made too far in the future – was made too far in the future that is the problem, and here is the solution set up a template in your practice where you can see new patients no later than one week from that phone call and ideally that should be three business days, and Naren this is just human behavior common sense the longer a potential new patient needs to wait from the call to the actual appointment time the less likely they are going to show up. Remember that the new patient, the relationship that they have with you before they come in is thin at best, it is thin – maybe they found you through search through a Google search which Naren thanks to your support of EKWA a lot of our new patients come in to us because they found us through Google search, think about what they are experiencing of us in before that first appointment, they found us on line maybe they will look into some reviews maybe they went to the website now they talked to someone on the phone and they felt good so it is there, it is the beginning of rapport but it is still relatively thin so if you can shorten the amount of time from that phone call to the appointment the kept appointment ration will go sky high, and again ideally I know I am being tough on this with you but I am being tough on purpose because it will work if you do what I am suggesting here – no farther out from a week from the call ideally get that down to no more than 3 business days, and the language that we can use on that call is something like this – Naren we love seeing new patients at life smiles because of that doctor asked me to allocate a specific time for callers just like you this week – we can see you Thursday afternoon or Friday mooring which would you prefer, there is the language there – so if the patient pushes back and say oh right now I am at a big project at work, I am better off in 3 or 4 week s- no harm no fault – now that is perfectly fine, but we have let them know that the red carpet is rolled out for them – so and the solution is to st up new patient blocks in your schedule and every practice management software has the block scheduling functionality, set up those blocks and then use a 48 hour release for that block – what that means is that if you have not filled it with a new patient, 48 hours ahead of time 2 days, the 48 hours is not meant to be literally doesn’t have to be down to the second, it just means that about 2 days out, if it is not filled – pull it and you can fill it with anything at that point, and that way you are not going to be sitting on your hands, one thing you have to do doctor is you have to monitor your blocks, if they are all filled guess what – wouldn’t that be a wonderful problem to have?
G: To need more new patient blocks, so that is the first problem and solution, the second problem is there was not enough connection on the part of the patient to feel connected to your office that is the problem, it was there, but it was kind of loose and not as strong as it could be – wasn’t enough connection so let me give you the solution to this and doctors stick with me on this one, this will this could be one of those things that you look back on 20 years ago and say I remember when I listened to Garry’s podcast
G: And you could not believe the massive difference it has made in my practice ok I hope I have teased you enough on this – I want you to reach out to the patient, and send them a text message from you before their first is it, before their first visit and by the way this is not done on your phone with your tums, texting ha ha it is your team, they will send this out and they are going to send it out via their key board, we are going to send a text and the one of the text message goes something like this – Naren this is doctor Paul Neilson from life smiles dental care Carly mentioned to me that we are seeing you as a new patient this Thursday afternoon I just wanted to reach out to you personally and let you know how much I am looking forward to meeting you Naren Carly mentioned that you have just recently moved to phoenix I want to be part of the welcoming committee to tell you that you have chosen a great place to live, a big fan of this area and you are going to love it – hey I am looking forward to meeting you this Thursday afternoon – see you then, there is the text message. Now notice what I did – I added something personal to the text, which of course, your team members can do because whoever took the call should.be the one sending the text because they did the call – may be the customization is Naren Carly mentioned that you had some pain on the upper left that is fortunately now not causing you the trouble we would be sure to take a look at that visit, Naren Carly mentioned that nothing is going on in terms of concern with your mouth, we just wanted to get established with a great office well you called the right place – can’t wait to see you on Thursday – now think about what this does – our listeners will recognize the name Robert Cialdini if you are a regular listeners podcast it is going to be on the quiz guys
G: There are no quiz guys, but if there was, there would be a Robert Cialdini on the quiz, and this is one of the six fundamental principles of marketing; get these right, and your marketing results will improve, and this is all about reciprocity, reciprocity. So you are giving something first, imagine how impressed a patient – my dentist sent me a text before my first appointment – who does that?
G: Who does that – I mean, that is really cool, and at a subconscious level, it creates an obligation, a feeling of obligation, the least I should do is show up – well, what a nice guy
N: Exactly, and he knows a few things about me; he has paid attention he has looked at my – talked to his team about me, and looked at you know my situation, and he is sending me this personal text
G: Maybe the patient is you know involved in a business somehow and they think well these guys have got their stuff together, you know these guys at life smiles really have it together – it is all encouraging it is all positive – so problem number two was there wasn’t enough connection and the solution was to send a text message out to the patient, welcoming them to your practice, and customize that with a short note relative to what we shared on that for the patient phone call – problem number 3 – help my new patients aren’t showing up is not effective enough telephone communication on that first call – not enough it was more of a process call like we are taking an order, and we want it to be a phone call that truly impresses the patient that they called the right office and read this on how your phones are handled in those new patient calls and this is something I believe that every office including my own can get better on, it is not something that has been perfect so something you can do we can do for your team members is talk about some phrases to use without scripting just some talking point and some phrases and some of those phrases might sound like this – ‘Naren it is so great to meet you by phone I cannot wait to meet you face to face we love seeing new patients here at life smiles dental care you have called the right office,’ just another way – we love seeing new patient, and a another red carpet is rolled to and make sure that the tine is welcoming that it literally feels like they are on the red carpet that was rolled out for them you know, and then we always like to finish that new patient call, with a fun little connection for the patient, Naren I am almost at the finish line, but I have one more little detail I want to share with you, before your visit on
Tuesday I have a little homework assignment now don’t worry it is a fun homework assignment, you are going to be seeing Dr. Paul, and in your appointment, you’re going to see Kelly, your hygienist, and I would like you to visit our website and go to the about us page, and I would like you to review Dr. Paul’s background and also Kelly she is the hygienist you will see, I think if you take a minute or two just to review that you are going to discover why you are going to have such a great experience with us on Thursday afternoon well, that is it cannot wait to see you will see you on Thursday so finish with the homework assignment, they may or may not do it likelihood – we have actually asked in client offices we have had team members, well did you do my homework? Yeah, well, I learn this and this and this about the doctor they literally show you that they have done their homework, now I am not going to say this will happened a hundred percent of the time, but if you can get them to do that, we have created another commitment that will enhance the likelihood that they will show up.
N: Yeah, I mean every point, every tip that Garry just gave it is all about taking a stranger because they are a stranger to you. I mean, they are not your cousin, your brother your best friend, and kind of growing that commitment towards you which is what we call relationship so the chances of them not showing up comes down – and these three tips that Garry just shared, you know it is all in the show notes, you can go through them and even make notes create a cheat sheet, hang it on your wall or give it to your front desk person because and any-body else involved in sending the text, etc. implement it I can guarantee this is going to make a fundamental difference in your practice – how do we know? Well, Gary has tested it in every one of his practices, and it works,
G: Yeah it really does and it is amazing how this stuff works, it is amazing the compounding effect these things have on patients showing up for that appointment, – if you take it and look at it by itself, it is a little thing but then you add the little things up and collectively they make a massive difference and they make an incredible difference – well I hope you enjoyed this episode, hopefully we are solving a challenge or problem in your practice, it is kind of like an itch that you need to scratch hopefully we are solving that for you and ensuring some tips that will help you increase your kept appointment rate, as we come to the finish line herein this episode you know I would like to make a comment if not getting enough new patients then I recommend you jump on my back and do what we did, in m life smiles dental care practice and that is as you would likely know life smiles is a client of EKWA digital marketing the company that Naren founded, CEO and founder – we are a paying client of EKWA and if you are not getting enough new clients or new patients, I would encourage you to schedule a marketing strategy meeting you will talk to Lila stone she will spend about 6 hours of preparation time before that meeting and let you know exactly how your website looks in the eyes of Google, she can give you a peak behind the curtain about how it looks in the eyes of Google, to share with you what is working and what is not – let face it, your website is your hub of all of your marketing and then she will share with you how to make some changes so that you can be better recognized by Google and search – so you appear on a page one in your community, so they will share tips with you shell let you know what is working and hat is not working in your practice and how EKWA can help you. If you are not seeing enough new patients, there is a solution there – Naren, can we put a link in the show notes for a marketing and strategy meeting with Lila?
N: Absolutely, Gary, absolutely thank you
G: Again, that is a – that is a- you will find that at less insurance dependence. Com if you simply follow that down, you will see show links, and all these links will be in the show notes, and you can click right on that, and it will take you to a scheduling template where you can schedule that – well, I hope you enjoyed this episode on the less insurance dependence podcast, and hopefully we solved a problem, and it helped you to make improvement in an area that is extremely important in every dental practice, thank you for the privilege of your time today, and we look forward to connecting with you on the next less insurance dependence podcast.