By Roger P. Levin, DDS
To understand how to stop ortho shopping, orthodontists need to know how patients and parents think. They need to know what people care about when deciding on an ortho office. As trained professionals, orthodontists generally assume they are assessed on the basis of their clinical skills. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case.
While patients and parents certainly expect clinical quality, they are increasingly shopping around for the best deal. In a difficult new economy, patients and parents are often scheduling an initial consultation appointment with several ortho practices.
Turning ortho shoppers into cases involves the following:
1. Train your team to be on the ball
If your front team builds value for the orthodontist and the practice, patients and parents are more likely to schedule an appointment and accept recommended treatment. It is critical to give your team the verbal skills they need to impress potential patients and parents.
When a new patient or parent calls for the first time, this individual’s initial impression of the office must be excellent. A bored or impatient staff member sends a signal that the practice isn’t very interested in the caller’s business. That should never be. Remember, every call to the office must be recognized as a major opportunity.
2. Promote what makes your ortho practice special
Make patients and parents look at your practice for reasons more important than your fee. Do you know what makes your office different from other ortho practices? What makes it better? If you don’t know, ortho shoppers certainly won’t know either!
Maybe it’s your convenient location or flexible hours. Perhaps it’s your superior customer service or your fun office décor. Whatever makes your practice stand out from others must be promoted to every patient and parent who walks through the door.
3. Get patients scheduled within seven days
Motivation is a very temporary thing. New patients should be seen for consultations within seven days of contacting your office. Once treatment is accepted, patients should be scheduled within seven days or less to capitalize on their motivation. This process helps to maintain a steady flow of new patients in the practice. If parents or patients have to wait a long time for treatment to begin, many lose motivation, postpone treatment or start to think about fees and decide to shop around.
You can turn potential shoppers into starts. It all begins with these three strategies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Roger Levin is a third-generation general dentist and the Chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the largest dental practice management and marketing firm in the United States. As a leading authority on orthodontic practice management and marketing, he has developed the scientific systems-based consulting method that will increase ortho practice production and profitability, while lowering stress.
Dr. Levin has authored more than 60 books and 3,000 articles. He presents 100 seminars worldwide each year.