I’ve recently mentioned a few times, the Green Postcards we’ve been mailing with some very nice return numbers. In fact, I just got off the phone with one client. We mailed 750. 60 were returned due to no occupant, empty PO Box, etc. Of 690 mailed, client had “4 or 5” calls. We’re not sure on production yet, but the important thing is this: These postcards are getting folks to raise their hands!!!! Let me repeat that: Getting the phone call is the first step in getting the production on the books.
This leads me to another comment from a client recently: “We’ve had calls from the green postcards. Of those, a couple were __________ [insert your insurance company name, MediCare, MedicAid, or whatever]. And we don’t accept ____________.”
Wait. Hold the phone. So, you want to turn away a patient because their payment method (or your first impression of their payment method) doesn’t “match” or “meet” your protocol.
First, as a dentist, you took an oath to provide dental care to those in need of dental care, correct?
Granted, you can’t have every case coming in being a case which YOU have to pay for. BUT, do you REALLY know that’s all they’ll use to pay for dentistry?
Why not this approach, “Thanks for calling Dr. Smith’s office! This is Sandra, I can help you!”
Patient: “Hi Sandra, my name is Mrs. Johnson. I received a cute little green postcard from you and I wanted to make an appointment. Do you take _____________ [method of payment]?”
Sandra: “Mrs. Johnson, I’m sooo glad you called. That little green postcard is great isn’t it? OK, let’s see, now, when was the last time you were in to see a dentist?”
And so the conversation goes…Sandra sets the appointment in the books and gets a commitment out of Mrs. Johnson. And finally, it gets back around to payment accepted by the practice:
“Sandra, that sounds wonderful. I’m very excited to meet the doctor. Now, I asked earlier, do you take ______?”
“Mrs. Johnson, that’s a good question. Unfortunately, no, but we do accept many alternative forms of payment, including allowing you to pay over time. You see Mrs. Johnson, we believe the best dental care available is the kind you can afford. Even though we don’t accept assignment, we can arrange for a number of different ways you can receive Dr. Smith’s dental care. And believe you me, after you meet him and see just how kind and gentle he is, you’ll never want to see anyone else. My whole family comes here and we just love it! Since we don’t accept _______, can we work out the fee for services in ________ or ________ [suggest several options]?”
Now, if you DON’T accept whatever options they are requesting, why not? Can you accept them and make a profit? Can you HELP the patient get what they need while fulfilling your needs? AND, what if they refer? THAT’s where the real value can begin to add up! It’s not just what they themselves spend, but those they refer, too!
This week’s ACTION-TO-TAKE TIP: Re-evaluate how your practice can accept MORE of the calls you are paying to generate. Look at the payment methods you accept. It’s a common sense business principle to offer as many payment options as possible. Make it EASY for patients to BUY your services! If a patient emotionally WANTS treatment, they’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen.