Free dental examinations will destroy your practice – why you should never offer them
Many dental practices are looking for more patients and increasingly I am seeing more practices are luring patients in by offering free dental examinations and check-ups. You must never do this, and this is why.
The purpose of a freebie is to bring patients in so that they can see how beautiful your practice is and experience the high quality of care that they will receive, so the patients return and join your practice long term. Your patients will forget what you say, they will forget what you do, and they will never forget how you make them feel. What happens, in reality, with a free examination is, to avoid losing too much money, the session is much shorter than normal is often rushed and rather that the patient having an awesome experience and returning, the experience can be very poor and the patient leaves never to be seen again with a less than favourable and inaccurate impression of your practice and how well you treat and care for your patients.
When I have analyzed client data, I have noticed, that giveaways and special offers attract the price conscious people seeking a deal and they seldom stay and become regular patients. These patients are special offer butterflies and flit between practices based on special offers. The rewards to your patient’s dental health and beauty occur when they become regular patients with whom you have a lifetime relationship. The data also show that your income and profitability significantly grow as your practices has greater numbers of returning patients.
What should you do instead?
The key to attracting and retaining patients is to engage a patient care coordinator (PCC) with the attitude of outstanding levels of customer service, excellent communication skills, and appropriate training in a suite of field of expertise.
A PCC trained and competent in Patient Centred Sales– BEST CHOICES is the most appropriate member of the team to be offering complementary consultations.
Two months ago, I was speaking with a dentist whose hourly rate is £400 / hour and who is regularly giving away free 20-minute exams when his thorough new patient examination is normally 45-minutes. He called me because he was frustrated that the patients are not returning, he is losing money and does not want to put the fees up to his regular patients to cover the losses.
One of the successful strategies we discussed was to train two of his nurses and develop the role of a patient care coordinator.
The free examinations on his hourly rate were costing him £133.33, his thorough new patient examination was charged at £150, so he was still making a loss
He had two nurses in the practice one was paid £15/hour and the other £13.00 / hour and had been with him for 12 years and 8 years respectively and both know how he works. have an extensive knowledge of treatments available and are natural communicators who effortlessly put the patients at ease, engage them in conversation. What the nurses lacked was, confidence, belief they could become a PCC and a structure to their patient conversations.
I suggested the dentist that he brought his whole team and and both his nurses attend my Patient Centred Sales – BEST CHOICES workshop and introduce free consultations for patients with a Patient Care Coordinator. The dentist was a little hesitant and opted to only bring himself and one nurse to the two-day workshop. At the end of the two days the dentist and his nurse had confidence, enthusiasm, great plans for the introduction of a PCC and many new skills and approaches which included a framework to patient consultations that effortlessly elicited the patients wants needs and preferences and a structure to CRAFT and present options of treatment available.
The dentist and his nurse decided to immediately implement the role of a Patient Care Coordinator, offering free consultations to all new and prospective patients. The patients loved that they were being offered the time and space to discuss all their dental issues, and have questions answered. They were aware that the nurse could not make any diagnosis or design treatment plans and she could discuss options that are available.
The results quickly showed that patients were happier, new patient and prospect retention dramatically increased, new patient examinations are correctly charged for no longer a loss leader, the value of treatment plans went up significantly as did treatment plan acceptance rates. The financial rot has stopped, and profitability is soaring. Job satisfaction of the PCC was at an all time high and the overall morale of the practice improved. The dentist admitted that he had realized by the first break on the first day that he had made an error in judgement and he should have brought his entire team to the event. Since then I have been invited to the practice and delivered it in-house with all the entire team with miraculous results for the patients, practice and team, not to mention income and profitability.
Want to know more about this workshop which has a money back guarantee, call us on 01296 770462 or e mail Jane@IODB.co.uk