Dental Consultant Advice: "Use It or Lose It" Postcards
Use it or lose it marketing campaigns remind patients they have unused dental benefits that expire at the end of the year. Like clockwork, many successful practices do yearly "Use it or Lose it" campaigns.
Texts: While getting your postcards or letters ready you can also simply text patients with unused benefits something simple such as, "Please call regarding your dental appointment".
Letter: Send on stationary starting in October that aligns with the month's themes or holidays: Halloween (Fall), Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season.
Dear (insert patient’s name),
Gentle Dental provides our patients with the best care possible. An important part of this process is informing patients of their dental needs. Many individuals who are paying for dental insurance do not realize that their plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Consequently, some patients are not scheduling for dental treatment they need, deserve, and have insurance to cover. Unfortunately, numerous patients do not realize insurance benefits for each year cannot be carried over to the next year. What the patient does not use they lose.
Please contact our office to discuss your current pending treatment plan and our staff will be happy to discuss your dental benefits at that time. For further information on our services and location please visit our website at www.gentledental.com
If you choose to have these services performed before the end of this year, please mention that you received this letter and we will give you an additional 10% off your estimated patient portion.
Yours truly, (insert doctor’s name)
Create your own postcards or purchase from a company such as (like the one above) from smartpractice.com
Phone calls: Follow up your postcards or letters with phone calls. Start by creatig a list of patients who have unused benefits and pending treatment. Work back from those patients who have most recentlly been in.
a. Some dentists do not agree with giving discounts which is totally understandable. If that is the case edit the letter to your liking but keep in mind that “Discount Dentistry” is very different than offering targeted discounts to accomplish a specific goal. Certain discounts can be destructive if not used with proper judgement. There is always a danger of having people focus on price instead of the value of your services. The key is to have a good reason to offer the discount to accomplish a specific targeted need for your practice.
b. If you offer a discount or credit, still submit your agreed upon fee to the insurance company. 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 cannot give credits to Medicaid or Medicare patients due to Federal regulations.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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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.
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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.
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
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
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.
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.
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
My 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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