01 Sep 4 Ways to Increase New Patient Numbers at No Additional Cost
By Tabitha Jaquay Fernandez at Jaquay Enterprise
Grow Your Dental Practice
Many dentists reach out to me seeking ideas to grow their New Patient numbers. Some of these practices are strapped for cash, insurance companies are squeezing us and denying more claims than ever before. Marketing has become more competitive, which means the Cost of Acquisition keeps rising, therefore more and more dentists are complaining about not getting a big enough return on what they are spending to attract patients.
We are also seeing more Corporate practices with huge marketing budgets taking over in many cities across the United States. Practices often share that what they used to do successfully in years gone by, is no longer as effective. If this sounds familiar to you, keep on reading! I will be sharing 4 Strategies that will help you immediately increase New Patient flow, without spending more money.
4 No-Cost Strategies for Increasing New Patients
Strategy #1: Answer your phones
This might seem like a ridiculous statement. Of course, you answer your phones, right? The average missed call rate in a Dental Practice is 32%. Let that sink in…that’s 1/3 of all calls going unanswered.
Let me ask you a few quick questions:
- Do you know what your missed call rate is?
- What happens over lunch, early morning and late evening calls in your practice?
- Do you have anyone fielding calls over the weekend?
- What happens if your front desk personnel do not check patients out, or are all on the phone?
My team and I call dentists every day. It is shocking how often our calls go unanswered. It’s not your team’s fault, there are times when they just can’t get to the phone. Let’s say they miss the opportunity to schedule 2.5 patients a week, which adds up to 10 New Patients a month.
A survey conducted by The Wealthy Dentist found that of the 68 survey respondents, only one-fourth had calculated the value of a new patient to his or her dental practice. Overall, respondents estimated the value of new patients to be between $200 and $3,000, with an average of $900 to $1,200 per dental patient.
Conservative estimates indicate that the lifetime value of a New Patient is roughly $4500. Using these figures, missing those 10 new patients a month is costing you $540,000.
What to do?
Find out what your missed call rate is. Expand capacity to answer phones more hours of the day, more days of the week, and reduce those missed calls. Even if you need to hire help, or outsource some of the calls, do whatever it takes to improve this statistic!
Some of our champions have reduced their missed call rate to below 5%. It has fueled their growth. Be sure you have systems in place to convert those calls into scheduled appointments. Another stunning fact, many offices don’t track or measure their conversion rates.
This again is not the team’s fault. Despite the best intentions, we find the team doesn’t take control of the call and convert the patient to an appointment. Do you have systems in place, or monitor this in your practice?
**Bonus strategy: Ask every patient who is scheduling if they have any other family members they would like to schedule at this time.
Strategy #2: Optimize Hygiene
You know that this is my passion. Every week I review practice analysis reports from Henry Schein. I see practices that are doing well, that have built a solid foundation. However, there are so many opportunities that they aren’t maximizing in patient care. Many patients of today are high risk, and they don’t know it.
Patients say things like bad teeth run in my family…no matter what I do: I brush and floss and I always have a problem. They share frustrations with us every day. The challenges that I see is that many hygienists don’t know how to take those concerns and turn it into patient care.
When we have a risk assessment conversation with patients, and they understand why they are having these problems the solutions make so much more sense. Our clients’ hygienists take what we teach and double their production overnight. Their patients are happier, the hygienists are more fulfilled, and the practice is providing world-class care to their patients. Patients deserve better, and the production goes up. Everyone wins.
Check out this text we recently received from a doctor who hired us to help optimize hygiene:
“Jenna wants to show off her production, she did 57 sealants today! Numbers today were better than yesterday. Great day here!”
Getting new patients in the door is only the first step. Once they’re in the chair, we have a responsibility to serve them at the highest possible level. Providing same-day preventative services can dramatically increase revenue, and it’s the right thing to do.
Strategy #3: Implement Systems to Drive Online Reviews
When patients say thank you or give us a compliment, we can capture an online review. Higher and better online reviews= More New Patients.
Strategy #4: Ask for Referrals
New dental patients are powerful potential sources of additional future referrals. In the survey conducted by The Wealthy Dentist, it was estimated an average patient will bring in one or two additional referrals during their period of service with the dentist. Delighted patients will refer their friends and family at a much higher rate. This is by far the most efficient way to increase New Patients.
Call 833.ADVISRS(238.4777) TODAY for a complimentary consultation. No obligation… just a very worthwhile discussion!
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