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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creating an unforgettable New Patient Experience

By: David Milligan
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 2 of 2


When scheduling a patient remember to give choices that are good for them as well as for the practice.
“Would the early or the latter part of the week be better for you?”
“Would 10:00 or 2:00 be best for you?” Always give time choices based on the blocked scheduling format and try to fill the most difficult times first.
When the day and time has been chosen say, “Okay Mr. Smith, I have reserved 1 hour of Dr. __________’s time for you on _______ at ______ o’clock.”
Use the word “reserve” and the doctor or team member’s name that they will be seeing. This makes it more personal and emphasizes the importance of the commitment.
New Patients arrival:

There is a counter between you and the new patient so please extend your hand and introduce yourself. Use the patient’s name.
Forms and the new patient interview:

New patients should be greeted immediately upon arrival. Use a dialogue similar to this:
“Mr. Smith, I would like to invite you into our conference room so we may talk for a minute.” Take a moment to ask about their expectations. "It helps us to know what you liked about your last office and what you didn’t like.”

Let the patient talk and listen actively to what they say.
“It gives our patients a great deal of comfort to know our practice philosophy and the types of services we offer. Our doctor provides the newest technology and takes pride in providing the highest quality dental care. We do general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implants, whitening, _______, _____________, and _________________.” It is helpful to show pictures. “We are very thorough. We will do an oral cancer screening every six months for you as well as screen you for gum disease. Our team is interested in helping you achieve your goals. The doctor will tell you everything that he/she sees that needs your immediate attention. Then, of course, you will have the final say as to what you would like to have done.

As a courtesy, we will file your insurance and follow up for a period of 60 days to ensure payment. At that time, if there are any challenges, we will contact you for assistance. We also work diligently to provide financial options."
Assistant and Hygienist Dialogue
Please extend your hand and introduce yourself in the following manner.
“Hello Mr. Smith, my name is _____; it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for choosing us for your care. You will really like Dr. __________, he/she is wonderful. Dr. _______ has requested that I ask you a few questions about your teeth. Is that okay? Great! I will be focusing on areas you’ve noticed are sensitive.

When the doctor comes in he/she will also be looking for areas you may not have noticed, but that will need your immediate attention."

Ask the following questions:
• When you eat or drink something cold, like ice cream or iced tea, do any of your teeth ever hurt?
• If you eat or drink anything hot, like hot cocoa or soup, do any of your teeth hurt or ache?
• When you bite down on something crunchy or hard, like meat, nuts or tough bread, do any of your teeth hurt or feel weak?
•Do you avoid chewing on either side of your mouth?
•If you eat something sweet, like candy, honey or jelly, do any of your teeth react to that?
•If you had a magic wand and could change your smile, what would you change?

Magnify the complaint by asking the following questions:
•What happens when you ___________?
•How would you describe the pain?
•How long does this last? Does it keep you up at night?
•How long have you had it? Is it getting worse?
•Do you take any medication for it? How many, how often and does it help?

Once the issue is magnified, you will have a better idea of how to proceed.
“It sounds like you would be a good candidate for ____________.
Always end with, “BUT LET’S ASK THE DOCTOR.”
Doctor’s exam
This takes place with the assistant or hygienist in the room with you.

Introduce yourself to the patient. "It’s good to meet you." Ask the assistant or hygienist what are their findings. By listening, you learn where to focus your attention. This saves time. Provide a complete treatment plan and go over everything that needs their attention.

Use urgency dialog. "Make sure Mr. Smith gets the next available appointment.” When the appointment is finished the patient is “passed” to the financial manager by the assistant or hygienist as follows:
“Mr. Smith, this is __________ she will write you a receipt for today and then schedule your next appointment.” Turn to the financial manager and say, “____________, Mr. Smith needs a ________ and the doctor wanted to make sure you schedule him at our next available appointment."

This new patient experience combines like-ability and believability. Being congruent and consistent creates trust. When patients trust you, they say "yes" and refer more new patients.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com
This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

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