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"How much?"

"How much?"

When a patient calls your practice asking for a price you of course want your receptionist to answer their question(s) but the receptionist will need to ask the patient some questions first in order to give a proper answer.

Here's an example script for doing so. It is only an outline. Tailor it to your needs and then role play with your receptionist until she can do it in her sleep:

Rec: Good morning. Dr. Smith’s Family Dentistry. This is Sally. May I help you?

NP: How much do you charge for a cleaning?

Rec: I'll be happy to explain our fees. If I could just ask you a few questions first that way I can give you a proper answer. 

NP: OK

Rec: Your name please?

NP: George Jones.”

Rec: Mr. Jones, when was the last time you were in to see Dr. Smith?

NP: Never have.

As soon as it is determined that the patient is a new one then get out a New Patient Call-In Form and fill out the top part.

Rec: When was the last time you were in to see a dentist? (Let patient respond.)

Rec: Are you having any problems with your teeth now? (Let patient respond.)

Empathize with the patient and validate their concern for wanting to get it checked out or taken care of. This is usually a good time to share one of your own experiences regarding a patient who had a problem similar to the caller but got it all taken care of by Dr. Smith or the hygienist once they came in.

Rec: Do you have dental insurance?

NP: Yes.

If the patient has dental insurance tell the them how you handle the insurance and fill out the insurance section of the New Patient Call-In Form.

Rec: The estimated fee for your first cleaning is $55 plus the cost of x-rays and an exam.

The patient will likely want to know the cost of the x-rays and exam as well. Of course tell them if they ask or just go ahead and give them the estimate.

Rec: Our hygienist does the best cleaning in town and I'm really glad you called. She has openings tomorrow or later in the week. Which is better for you?

NP: Late in the week.

Rec: Is morning or afternoon better?

NP: Afternoon.

Rec: Great! I've got you scheduled for Friday at 2:30. OK?

NP: OK

Rec: By the way how did you hear about our office?

If they were referred by another patient say something nice about the referring patient i.e. Lucy referred you? She's an incredible person. Make sure whatever remark you make is sincere and not phony.

Rec: I'm looking forward to seeing you. When you come in, just ask for me. I'll make sure everything goes smoothly for you.

As soon as you get off the phone with a scheduled new patient, route the New Patient Call-In Form to the Accounts Manager so the patient's insurance can be verified as needed.

If a new patient insists on getting a fee for a filling, crown, etc. stress that you cannot make a diagnosis over the phone without first seeing the patient. All you can do is give an educated guess as to the cost of what is needed. Then give the low and the high possible fee if the patient is insistent. Always assure the prospective patient that we stand behind the quality of our work.

If the patient is very insistent about not wanting an exam, x-rays, etc. or only wants to know how much you charge for extractions and does not respond positively to the above script, refer him/her to a clinic or dental school where he/she can get a “cheap extraction” if that is all they care about. If appropriate, explain as follows:

“Our dentist does high quality dentistry and does not believe in extracting teeth unless there is absolutely no alternative. If you really aren’t concerned about the future problems and expense that pulling your tooth will cause, I would recommend you come in for a complimentary consultation with the doctor, and then he can refer you to the appropriate clinic.”

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