Let me ask you a question. What would you do if you knew that your receptionist was kicking 33% of your new patients in the shins when they tried to come into your practice? You'd get mad, right? That's a huge problem, and you would never allow that to happen in your practice. You would put an end to that immediately, no matter what!
Yes, I know that's a pretty ridiculous example, but your staff really is unknowingly turning away 33% of your potential new patients every single day! The scariest part is that you aren't even aware this is happening. So I'm telling you about it right now, and I'm even going to tell you how to fix it! Yet 75% of you will ignore my advice.
You may think, "But my receptionist is so sweet and personable. Surely she can't be turning away my valuable new patients." I'm telling you, it's happening. My team has surveyed and tested over 37,000 front-desk schedulers, and the same mistakes happen over and over again, and the new patients just disappear. So what is it going to take? Do you really need them to blatantly kick someone in the shins before you notice that there's room for improvement at your front desk?
Here's the good news: If you're part of the 25% of dentists who are smart enough to realize there is always an opportunity to be better, then you can suture the holes in your practice and stop bleeding new patients. It's not a "quick fix" solution, but if you invest a little bit of time into fixing the problem, you will see tremendous results. Here's why:
You have a huge hole at the beginning of your new patient pipeline. It's all about how you handle your new patient inbound phone calls. This hole creates new patient and profit leakage of epic proportions, and I don't mean the drip-drip kind of leakage. I mean an actual hemorrhage of income and profits that you should be taking home.
Here's how it's happening-your phone is ringing, and if it's being answered at all, your front desk is bungling the new-patient opportunity because you've never trained them how to do it properly! Poor service, poor phone skills, and poorly trained staff will produce poor results for you, your practice, and your patients.
It's time for a big reality check. Your front-desk person is not handling inbound calls effectively, but it isn't their fault. It's your fault. When you filled a front-desk position, you probably hired someone to be "a friendly voice on the other end of the line." You didn't care if they knew about streamlined scheduling, selling the value of treatment, or how to avoid verbal vomit. Now you haven't invested in training them on "closing the sale," so to speak, or if you're one of the few doctors who have, you've invested in minimal training because you didn't see the big deal. They're just answering phones, right?
Wrong! Just take a look at the math to see what your telephones are costing you. Every single new patient you lose is worth about $1,500 to your practice over his or her lifetime, and that's a low-end estimate. Let's say that 15 new patients call your practice this week. Five drop out of the gaping new-patient hole that's caused by your undertrained staff , and this happens every week. That means that your practice loses $7,500 each week and $30,000 each month, for a grand total of $390,000 in one year. Let that sink in for a second while you think about what you could do with an extra $390,000 every year.
Not only are you losing new patients, losing money, and wasting time, you aren't providing your potential patients with the care and service they deserve. In my opinion, that's the cardinal sin of dentistry. Patients should always come first.
I can point to the problem all day long, but you have to be the one who decides to fix it. I know that 75% of you still don't believe me, so I'm extending a one-time offer to all of our Dental Economics readers. Take less than two minutes (yes, we timed it) and visit www.SchedulingInstitute.com/rating. Complete the Quick Start form and we'll send you a free assessment of how your office is treating your new patients on the phone.
When you get the rating, you can do whatever you want with it. You can ignore the truth or deny the results; what you do with the information is totally up to you. But I hope for your own sake and for the sake of your patients that you'll realize your phones are the missing piece of the puzzle, the one that can take your practice to the next level. Then you'll pick up the phone and call us because you want to be the best, and you want to give the No. 1 dentist in your town a run for his or her money.
Jay Geier is the founder of the Scheduling Institute and creator of the world-renowned five-star telephone training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. He is finally revealing his secret for record-setting results, 600+ new patients in one week. Visit www.schedulinginstitute.com/rating to discover how he did it.