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Dental Consultant NP Phone Script

Dental Consultant NP Phone Script

The handling of new patient phone calls by your receptionist should be done honestly while effectively guiding the conversation. 

The handling of new patient phone calls by your receptionist should be done honestly while effectively guiding the conversation. 

When a new patient calls, whether FFS or PPO, their attention is typically on money. Your receptionist needs to move a patient’s attention off of money and onto why they really called: The patient’s actual need. 

Pro Tip: Avoid the word “No”. Words matter. When a patient hears the word “No” they mentally check out. It is not logical but it’s true. 

Out of Network Example

New Patient: “Do you take my insurance?”

Receptionist: “Actually, whether you are in or out of network we'll process your claim. In fact, many of our patients are out of network because, with some plans, there’s little difference. If I can ask you a few questions we can see if our practice is a good fit for you.”

Of course, you would only say the above if it’s true. If they ask about an HMO or Medicaid, the answer is generally “No” in which case treat the caller with respect and courtesy but, politely use the word “No”. 

Fee for Service Example

New Patient:  How much do you charge for a cleaning?

Receptionist: $150.00

NP: That’s more than I thought!

Receptionist: “Yes, well as my mother always says, “You get what you pay for” but on a personal level I can tell you Dr. Smith is not just a great boss but she’s the best dentist I’ve ever had. My friends and family think so too. She really cares about her patients and always make sure she uses the  latest technology, the best materials and she’s always going to continuing education to stay on top of the latest technology. And she has great coffee! By the way, were you referred to us?

The answer above has to be from the heart. It has to be real. You can’t fake sincerity.Your receptionist needs to be “sold” on the doctor(s) and hygienist(s). If they are, it’s easy. And a little humor is always good. 

If the patient is a “price shopper” so be it but, still treat the patient with courtesy however, time is money, so on to the next call. 

Scheduling and Law of Probability

  1. The probability of a New Patient cancelling or no showing increases in direct proportion to how far out the NP is scheduled. 
  2. NPs need to be scheduled within 1-2 weeks. Ideally within 48 hours. 
  3. Adequate NPs slots need to be available or blocked out each week. The number of slots is based on your average number of NPs from the previous six months i.e. if over the past six months you worked an average of 16 days and averaged 24 NPs per month, you need 1.5 NP slots per working day. 

New Patient and Verification Forms

Your receptionist, without rushing or multitasking, focuses exclusively on the caller and does the following:

  • Thanks the new patient for calling.
  • Introduce themselves.
  • Is interested in the patient’s “story”.
  • Is friendly, confident, competent and professional.

A New Patient Form is used to guide the conversation, establish the patient’s need and gather needed data.

For insurance patients, a comprehensive Verification Form is filled out after completing the New Patient Phone call. 

 


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 seminarist 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 .

Dental Consultants Best Staff Meeting Tips
Dental Consultants Best Patient Education Tip

 

What Does A Dental Consultant Do? Charge?

Many dentists will tell you dental consulting works. If dental practice management firms had no worth or benefit they could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. What a veteran dental consultant brings to the table are systems and protocols successfully implemented in other practices that have been improved and tweaked over many years. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what works and what doesn't work across all dental practices.

Marketing & New Patients

Practice management consultants generally have little marketing training or background. 

Note: Cambridge'a consultants are Certified SEO and Ad Words Specialists

Dental Office Systems

Key systems dental consultants implement:

  1. New Patient Phone Call
  2. Insurance Processing
  3. New Patient Experience and Patient Education
  4. Financial Arrangements
  5. Scheduling
  6. Confirmation
  7. Unscheduled Treatment Followup
  8. Reactivation
  9. Huddle
  10. Stat Monitoring
  11. Daily and Weekly Checklists
  12. General Policy Manual

Your Staff

You will not get much ROI from your dental consulting if your staff do not have your back. You do not beed a team of cheer leaders jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but you do need staff who are smart and take some pride and ownership in what they do. If there is more than the usual drama in your practice that needs to be sorted out before you will get any real results.

Staff Accountability 

What gets monitored gets done.

The "big" obvious numbers are important to monitor, but when you look at them they are typically already "in the books". You want your team to concentrate and be accountable daily on the "small" stats that bring about the "big" stats. How many practice owners know how many calls were made to unscheduled patients each day or overdue re-care or inactive patients? Many dentists vastly underestimate how much daily "outflow" is needed to keep a schedule full. How may dentists know what % of slots were open in their hygiene schedule each day? How many know how many NP calls there were yesterday, who scheduled and if they end up showing up? More importantly how many staff know considering it's their job to do?

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 re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee, but that employee accountable reports daily on a spreadsheet like this: 1. # of calls or personal texts sent 2. # of contact
3. # of appointments with name and date 4. # of arrivals

It is the employee who is either making themselves valuable to you or not. If they are doing so, dismissing them will never enter your mind. On the other hand, if they are not making themselves valuable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor by giving them the opportunity to find a practice or other employment that is a better fit for them.  

Leadership

What most practice owners are missing is not how to book an appointment but how to be effective leaders. 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. Agreement among all team members is key. Your written office policies should contain those agreements and should answer most questions staff come up with. Doing so will save you much time and simplify the management of your practice. Staff non compliance is a sure sign of poor leadership. The primary reason practices underperform is staff non compliance.  Key traits of leaders. All it takes is discipline: 

  1. Always keep a cool head especially when "under fire"
  2. Realize that all mistakes are an opportunity for you and your staff to learn.
  3. Set a good example.
  4. Always be learning.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Fight the impulse to address multiple issue at the same time. Frantic activity creates spotty results.

Cost

$35.000.00 is the average fee for a one year program with dental practice management companies you are likely familiar with. For those companies that require you and your staff to travel to their facility or seminar you also need to add in the cost of travel, staff pay and lost production from time away from your practice. 

Questions You Should 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.

If you do a little homework it should be fairly easy to pick a reputable consultant that is a good fit for you and your practice.