Convenient Consultations - An Alternative Consultation Approach for Today's Consumer

By Elizabeth Conforti

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Now that 2021 is quickly coming to a close, we can all reflect on it as another challenging year in recent history. While there were times of struggle, innovation continued to pave the way for those who didn't just want to survive but were determined to thrive.

We learned so much in the last 18 months about consumer demand and expectations. The extensive shift to working or schooling from home quickly became the norm and significantly shaped today's consumerism. Convenience and flexibility became priorities and necessities. The pandemic's wake made these desires more of an expectation, and it is now our job to keep up with the ever-changing consumer, for if we can meet and exceed their expectations, we are in the best position to earn their business.

I have been doing in-depth research into alternative consultation styles. While virtual consultations quickly drove business in 2020, the challenge of physically starting a patient in orthodontic treatment has remained. Traditional consultations absorb much of a patient's and parent's day, and the pressure to get to and from work or school has contributed to patients not starting the same day as their consult. These limitations are where true innovation rises to the occasion and helps shift the paradigm.

Consider this - an alternative consultation style that provides convenience and flexibility to your patients and provides you with the critical elements to diagnose and start a patient in orthodontic treatment. A Convenient Consultation is a 30-minute, in-person consultation offered at a convenient time with your TC, your TC assist, or an available clinician/records technician. The consultation consists of a strong focus on the patient's purpose and preferences, a 3D digital scan, a series of photographs, and a panoramic x-ray. This alternative consultation style focuses on the patient's agenda and needs while achieving a win-win scenario by meeting the practice's needs and objectives. You are positioning yourselves to physically start a patient in aligner treatment or gain case acceptance for braces based on the diagnostic tools you gathered conveniently. Convenient collaboration between the doctor and treatment coordinator then leads to a conveniently delivered patient proposal.

Do you have 30-minutes in your day that you can spare to see a Convenient Consult? Perhaps before patients start for the day? Or maybe over a lunch hour with rotating shifts? Are non-doctor days an option for you to keep production going with Convenient Consultations? Seeing an opportunity in your schedule can lead to a Convenient Consult offering that meets the consumer's demands and positions you to have a high success rate on case acceptance. This alternative consultation style meets their demands in this way.

To implement a Convenient Consultation style in your practice, you must consider and define the following systems and protocols:

  • Verbal Skills for New Patient Calls - The ability to identify if a patient is a candidate for an alternative consultation style and the skills needed to offer it effectively.
  • Scheduling Convenient Consults - How to incorporate the alternative consultation style into your daily schedule with proper codes and template enhancements in your Ortho2 Edge Cloud system.
  • Mapping out the Convenient Consult flow - Instructions on focusing on the patient's purpose and preference to truly understand their needs and meet those needs.
  • Setting patient expectations following the in-person consultation.
  • Communication and transitions between doctor and TC to effectively deliver on the alternative consultation style.
  • Incorporate a comfortable and confident approach to Convenient Consult Treatment Planning for doctors. 
  • Customizing the post-consultation approach on how to deliver the doctor's recommended treatment plan and financial proposal.
  • Using essential digital education tools in your delivery and maximizing your Ortho2 Edge Cloud system.
  • Effective follow-up strategies to ensure case acceptance is successful.
  • Marketing your customized Convenient Consult in your practice.

The Convenient Consult is highly effective but requires robust systems to support the opportunity. I'm passionate about this consultation style because it caters to today's consumers and directly assists with increased productivity and practice production. Use Convenient Consults to wrap up your 2021 strong and bring your practice into the New Year with an innovative approach to an exceptional patient experience!

You can hear more from Elizabeth Conforti at the 2022 Users Group Meeting, January 27-29 in Las Vegas. To learn more about the UGM, or to register, visit ugm.ortho2.com.

Elizabeth is an established business consultant with more than 20 years of orthodontic management experience. Her focus is on creating efficient and effective practice systems that provide structure, organization, and create a fun and rewarding atmosphere for outstanding orthodontic teams. Elizabeth offers team workshops and training sessions for the entire orthodontic team. She enjoys working one-on-one with offices to help them realize their full potential. Since 2013, Elizabeth has enjoyed speaking for wonderful organizations like Ortho2 and sharing her concepts with offices that truly go the extra mile for smiles.

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