“I Just Need More New Patients”

Picture this. You’re coaching baseball. You have a red hot pitcher. But a not so good catcher. The catcher is so bad that he’s missing most pitches, and the baseballs are flying by him, way by him, and ending up in a drain behind the park where your team is practicing. Gone. Never to be seen again… So what do you do? Do you go out and buy more baseballs?

Week after week. Month after month. Would you? Of course not, that makes no sense. Yet that’s what most Dental Offices are doing when it comes to patients. They’re losing patients right out the back in exactly the same way that the baseball coach is losing baseballs. And the way they think they need to fix their patient shortage is to simply buy more new patients. Without fixing the reason why they’re losing patients in the first place. So what would the baseball coach do? Know Your Numbers Firstly, he’d know the number of baseballs he was buying, and then losing on a regular basis. He’d have his finger right on that number. The baseball coach would know the acquisition cost of each baseball. If he were buying them, he’d know how much he was spending on each ball. He’d also know how long each ball was lasting. And he’d be trying his hardest to make sure he got longevity. Do you know your numbers? How much does it cost you to acquire a new patient? And when you purchase marketing and advertising, how many new patients are you expecting to acquire with your purchase. From each marketing purchase? Do you know the longevity of the patients you are purchasing? Do whitening New Patients buy more treatment than relief of pain New Patients? Or ortho and Invisalign New Patients? How long do they each stay as patients in your Office? Fixing The Problem If buying more new baseballs doesn’t break your bank then I’d just keep on doing that. If money is no object and spending up on baseballs doesn’t faze you, then keep on doing that. But don’t come to me complaining when we finally end up with a shortage of baseballs… You could sack the catcher. He’s obviously not a good catcher. There has to be better kids around who can catch better than this loser kid. After all, why can’t he catch? Can’t all kids catch well? He just hasn’t got what it takes. Let him go and play in someone else’s team. Don’t worry that his family and friends will think you’re a ruthless coach. They’ll get over it. Or you could train the catcher to catch better? After all, he is the son of your son’s headmaster. And the headmaster does know a few people…. Would it matter that you’ve never really sat down with the catcher and taught him how to catch better? Can’t everybody catch? Sure, other members of the team need extra tuition. Batters. We need to always be practicing our batting. We can’t expect to win our matches if we can’t hit the baseball properly. And we can’t win our matches if we cannot pitch well. So we need to practice our pitching. You see, in Dentistry, we never spend time training our catchers. We spend time training our clinical team. After all, we’re down there working alongside them all day every day. So it’s easy to guide them and train them to be better. To do it the way we want it. But our Front Office People are away from us. They’re not there beside us. They’re not even visible to us. And unlike the baseball catcher, we don’t see them missing their catches because we’re too busy drilling. But missing their catches they are. And you’ll know this because you’re watching their numbers aren’t you? On a daily basis you are reviewing these figures:

  • The number of new patient enquiry calls received by your office.
  • The number of new patient appointments scheduled from those calls.
  • The number of cancellation calls and the reasons for each of those cancellations.
  • The number of patients rescheduling, and the reasons for each of those calls.
  • The number of patients on the day declining treatment and leaving without scheduling their next appointment.

And of course, you are checking these numbers against each team member, to see who is your best catcher, and who is not. Of course, culling catchers and buying more baseballs is not the answer…. And in dentistry, culling staff and spending money on more new patients is not the answer. So what is the answer? The answer is simple. You need to train your team members to be the best they can be. Are you training your front office team to answer the phone better? The best that they can be? Or are you simply throwing them a mitt and hoping they can catch some? Some more than the previous catcher? After all, you’re too busy with your patients and your clinical staff, aren’t you? So, you either don’t know how to train your front office to answer the phone better, or you do not have the time to train them either…. But they do need training…. So why would you not employ someone to train your staff to be better than they are? Why would you bother doing it yourself at your hourly rate [of $1000.00 per hour], when you could pay a specialist to come in and do it for you [at a lower hourly rate than you], while you keep drilling teeth? To me it’s a no brainer. One of my clients also employs a phone skills coach for her front office team. My client’s ROI on the money spent on coaching with both me and the phone training is a whopping *TWELVE* times!! Her collections have gone up twelve times the amount of money spent on coaching. If you found a slot machine that returned you twelve dollars every time that you put in one dollar, how many dollars would you put into that slot machine? As many as you can!! Even if your ROI was only three times your investment, wouldn’t you keep feeding that slot machine? Well, sadly, the answer is “no” for some dentists…. Some dentists just don’t get it… Some dentists still feel they need more new patients… Yet their internal systems and trainings are so skewwhiff… Don’t you just hate it when a patient with severe perio only wants Zoom Whitening? Really? The answer to your patient problem is as plain as the nose on your face. Is it time to look in the mirror? Are you trying to ignore your catcher? Are you still just buying more baseballs? ****** Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days. You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order ***** The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report. Email me at david@theupe.com Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!