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Dental Consultant Top Referrals System

IMPORTANT  

Some states allow you to thank a referring patient after the fact of the referral with a nominal gift ($10.00 - $25.00) however, the referring patient cannot have an expectation of the reward. 
 
A personally signed thank you card or note, ideally from the doctor, is smart and good manners.
 
You can offer a credit to new patients. The amount can be $50.00 or $100.00 or more. You can also offer a free cleaning or exam or nothing at all. It’s totally up to you but, most find a dollar value works best.  
 
If you offer a dollar amount still submit your usual fee to the insurance company if the referral is a PPO patient. Deduct the credit from the patient's portion. Include a note on how much and why you discounted the co-pay when submitting. If you have any concerns or questions, check with your providers. 
 
Note: You can't offer new patient credits to Medicaid or Medicare patients due to Federal regulations. 
 
ACCOUNTABILITY
 
Assign this program to a specific employee so there is accountability. The protocol only works well if it is done daily so, you want to monitor the stat "# of Quality Control Surveys Done" each day otherwise the accountable employee may not focus or place the proper importance on it. More on the Quality Control survey in a moment. 
 
REFERRAL CARDS
 
You will want a simple paper referral card card
 
If you prefer, replace the dollar value with a free cleaning, exam, etc. If your patient has specific people in mind to refer, fill out the card for the patient or have the patient fill out while they are in the office. If they do not have anyone specific in mind give them a few cards if they want them.
 
Optional: Create a letter explaining how the program works and send out to your entire patient base with five referral cards to jump-start the program.
 
USE OF THE QUALITY CONTROL SURVEY
 
  • Create a Quality Control Survey. Sample below.
  • When a patient completes all or part of their treatment ask them the questions on the Quality Control Survey or you can have them fill out the form themselves. You can even tell them it is being done as requested by your consultant or business advisor to find areas where the practice can improve customer service (true!).
  • If you get negative feedback, thank them and assure the patient you will bring the matter to the attention of the office manager or doctor and, of course, make sure to do so at your next huddle. 
  • If the patient is happy show them a referral card. 
  • Ask the patient if there are any specific family or friends they’d like to refer. If so, write the name or initials of each person named, one card per referral.
  • If the patient can’t think of anyone still give the patient cards if they want some.
  • Keep a daily log of how many Quality Control Surveys are done.
  • Include a couple paper referrals cards in any letters that go out such as statements. 
  • ​Always send a personally signed thank you note or card to any patient that refers a new patient. Include a couple referral cards. You can include, if you choose to, a nominal gift card ($10.00 - $25.00). You do not need to do so but, the personal thank you note, or card is a must. 
SAMPLE QUALITY CONTROL SURVEY
Information:  Use this form (edit if you want to) with every patient that completes all or part of their treatment plan. You can use the form with new patients as you see fit. 
 
Inform the patient:  “When patients complete treatment in our office we do a quick Quality Control Survey to ensure their satisfaction with the service they received so we can improve our customer service.”
 
Simply ask the questions or you can have the patient fill the form out.  
 
Questions (change, remove or add questions as you see fit):
  • Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your experience at our office?   
  • Is there some way we can change our office that would make your visits more enjoyable? 
  • Did you have to wait an excess amount of time before being seen?
  • Were finances explained and was your bill what you expected?
  • Were you treated courteously throughout the office?
  • Based on your experiences, would you refer friends and family to our office?
If the answer is yes, explain the patient referral program.  If no, make every attempt to resolve the problem within the guidelines of office procedures and policies. 
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long.  A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices. 

Systems

New Patient Phone Call

Insurance Processing

New Patient Experience and Patient Education

Financial Arrangements

Scheduling

Confirmation

Unscheduled Treatment 

Reactivation

Daily and Weekly Checklists

General Policy Manual 

Staff Accountability

What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.

Leadership

What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. 

Questions To Ask 

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?

  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.

  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.

  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.

  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.  

 

Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PAMy name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner.  Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.

  

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