Because you are a dentist or dental team member, you have great pride in your work and that of your colleagues. In my experience, dental teams they will do everything they possibly can to put right a situation where a piece of work, provided at their practice, has failed, usually at no cost to the patient. Dental teams want to provide great quality treatment and customer satisfaction.
Over the years I have been working as a Dental Business Coach and Mentor I have worked with and continue to work with highly skilled clinicians and fabulous teams with high standards of clinical treatment, customer service and care. Unfortunately, many of them are financially compromising themselves because of their quest to keep patients happy and to avoid being sued. Are you making the same mistakes? Is your kindness to your patients killing your practice?
What I would like to show you in this article is that with some thought, and a system you can enhance your customer care and put your prices up significantly. One client followed this advice, doubled the price of her crowns and increased their uptake in treatment plans.
I believe that good quality dentistry is great value for money, while it, rightly, has a substantial price tag, it is not expensive. Think for a moment, how much does a patient invest in an implant? For a reputable clinician it will be somewhere between £2000- £3500, would you agree? Now where else can you spend that money on something that you can use every day, that improves the quality of your life and will last for as long as a good quality implant will do? Longevity of implants is usually quoted as 15-25 years and can be more. For a £2500 implant this is an investment of £0.27- £0.46 per day for the life time of the implant. What else can provides such an impact of health, beauty and function for the price of one apple a day?
What about a full mouth rehabilitation or smile design could be anything from £20,000 - £30,000 and again when done well should last 20 years +, that is £2.74 - £4.11 a day. I call that great value for money for health, beauty and confidence, for less than the cost of a coffee or a glass of wine.
What else do people spend £20 - £30 k on and expect to last 20+ years? Some people would spend a similar amount on a car and then expect to change it after 3-5 years, others may remodel their kitchen and then remodel it after 10 years. Good quality dentistry provides great value for money.
My concern is that as dentistry has become a commodity, patients have the work done and disappear. Time and time again, I hear of patients returning, to their dentist, for the first time after 8 years with a problem and saying something like “I paid X thousand pounds for this and now it has broken what are you going to do about it?” and because the dentist has pride in their work, great customer care and is scared of being sued they replace or repair the work, usually, free of charge to the patient and at great expense to themselves and the practice. Yet if I ask those same clinicians if they offer any form of guarantee on their work they say “No”.
Think about the purchase of a car for a moment. If you returned to your garage, for the first time, after 8 years saying there was a fault and ask what are they going to do about it, their answer would be “Nothing”. Quite rightly so. You have not had it serviced, they would have no evidence that the car had been maintained correctly, no faults would have been picked up and repaired early, they would not know if you had used or driven the car inappropriately, or if replacement parts had been used that the work was done by qualified technicians using genuine parts. If you buy a car, a washing machine, watch etc, if any form of warranty to be offered or honoured the consumer has responsibilities about how they use and look after the product.
If you were to offer a guarantee on your treatment, so that if it failed within a specified time, that it would be appropriate that it was replaced free of charge, what appropriate “Patient Responsibilities” could and should you specify?
What difference would it make to your patients, practice and team if,
· You offered and marketed treatment that was guaranteed?
· As a team you developed a “Patient responsibilities” document?
· Your Patient Care Coordinator discussed and obtained understanding and signatures regarding the guarantee, and “patient responsibilities” with each patient as part of the consent and end of treatment process?
I am sure that when you implement this you will see a dramatic improvement in the uptake of treatments and maintenance care. Both your patient’s mouth and your finances will be healthier as a result.
If you would like more information about “Patient responsibilities” documents or any other aspect of managing an awesome practice, call us today 07989 757 884 or email Jane@IODB.co.uk