Too often, all eyes turn to the front office team when the schedule is not full. At times like these, the entire front office team shifts their focus to connect with patients on the short call, overdue recare, and outstanding treatment lists. Some even call patients scheduled out a few days ahead to see if they can come in earlier, which provides more time to fill the subsequent openings, but doesn’t address the root causes of the challenge.
There are several reasons why it’s difficult to keep the schedule filled. That said, by incorporating a few best practices you can keep the schedule full and free up time for the front office team to focus on other tasks.
- Be selective when you pre-schedule hygiene patients — don’t preschedule those that have a history of short-notice cancellations or no shows
- Actively build a short call list
- Implement a robust confirmation system with reminders two weeks, three days, and two hours out
- Have a clear cancellation policy signed by the patient that requires 48 hours notice to cancel or reschedule appointments
- Implement scripting the administrative team can use when patients call to cancel
- Require an initial payment to reserve large blocks of doctor time (if permitted in your area)
What if this isn’t a front office issue, though?
What if the patient simply didn’t find the suggested treatment to be worth the investment? What if they had unanswered questions, such as “Is this going to hurt?” “Do I need to take time off work?” “Is this treatment really necessary?”
The clinical team is on point to build value in the next visit and treatment; the front office team facilitates financial arrangements and scheduling, affirming value further. Building value is an art that can be mastered with practice.
Building Value for the Next Hygiene Visit
The hygienist identifies specific reasons for the next hygiene visit that go beyond, “See you in six months!” The greatest value builds with specific, patient-focused reasons to return.
For example, “I’m looking forward to seeing you in four months. I will check the area on the lower right that is showing signs of inflammation today, and if it’s still present, we will talk about next steps at that time.”
Feel the difference? Express these reasons to return to the patient, repeat them at the front desk handoff, and note in the patient’s chart.
Building Value for the Next Restorative Visit
Building value for restorative treatment needs a different approach. The patient must be able to visualize the outcome as beneficial. Patients weigh the financial and time impact against the outcome, which requires processing time. When the doctor’s exam occurs at the midway mark of the hygiene visit, you provide processing time for the patient to decide. In addition, the patient has the hygienist available for all those questions listed earlier.
By the time the patient reaches the front office team, they get to do what they do best — make financial and scheduling arrangements.
If your practice is part of Burkhart’s Supply Savings Guarantee program, you’ll soon be receiving resources and access to an exclusive webinar designed to help you boost your case acceptance rate, including:
- One-hour staff meeting agenda focused on skills to improve case acceptance
- Consultative Case Presentation Skills article and insights for the entire team
- Consultative Case Presentation Skills Evaluation forms
Remember, we offer complimentary coaching and resources to our valued Burkhart clients.
Your success is our success. Please reach out to us anytime.
Learn more, visit the Practice Support Team page, email us at PracticeSupportTeam@BurkhartDental.com, or call 1.800.665.5323.
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