MGE’s weekly webletter, Issue 28.
Keys to Improving Case Acceptance, Part I
By Jeffrey M. Blumberg, COO, MGE
This webletter is part 1 of 3 in a series on improving case acceptance in your practice.
Asking a dentist if they would like to improve case acceptance is one of those “no-brainer” questions like, “Would you like more new patients?” or, “Would you like to increase profitability?” Chances are you would get a “yes” to any of those questions.
In this series of webletters (there will be three in all), we’re going to dig into the subject of case acceptance and really examine what it takes to become more successful in this area.
Case Acceptance and How It Affects Your Practice
Improved case acceptance pays off in a number of ways – for you there is:
a. Better collections and increased profitability for the office
b. Professional satisfaction from doing the type of work you enjoy most
c. Believe it or not, more patient referrals
And best of all, it pays off for your patients in: Completed, full treatment plans that actually restore their dental health (as opposed to “patchwork” dentistry or “phased care”).
So, if “improved case acceptance” is a needed and wanted, the next question would be: “What needs to be done to improve/increase it?”
Now, if you were to review the entire MGE training lineup, you’d see that approximately 23 days of training are spent on the subjects of communication and case acceptance. So, obviously you’re not going to get all of that information in this newsletter! But, I thought I would outline the “keys” or areas to work on if you were looking to improve in this area.
The Five Keys to Increased Case Acceptance
Looking the subject over, we hit on five key “areas” that should be addressed if you’re looking to increase case acceptance. They are:
1. Communication skills (doctor and staff)
2. Organizational issues relating to case acceptance
3. The schedule and patient flow (new and old) through the office
4. Staff participation and office policy
5. Management of all of the above.
I’ll address each of these individually, beginning with:
1. Communication skills
Communication is the foundation of case acceptance. If a patient truly understands theneed and significance behind a treatment plan, they would in most cases follow through with it.
Getting frustrated because a patient tells you about the cruise they are taking or new this or that they are buying after they just told you they can’t afford their treatment plan really doesn’t solve anything. What it does tell you though is they haven’t grasped the significance (importance) of the treatment you are recommending. Now, of course, this assumes we’re not talking about optional cosmetic treatment, but rather treatment that would affect function or general health.I'm learning valuable keys to improving case acceptance in my dental office!Click To Tweet
How a patient “objects” to “buying” and proceeding with their treatment plan may vary. You might hear they only want to do what insurance pays, or they want to think about it, or they can’t afford it (which is true in a small percentage of cases). Look at it this way: have you ever given an objection to a salesperson like: “I need to talk to my spouse” or “Let me think about it” which might not have been the case? This factually happens quite a bit. Maybe you don’t want to buy and it’s an easy way to end the conversation. Maybe you didn’t need what they were selling. Or, maybe you didn’t understand why you needed it. Either way, your objection might not have matched your reason for not buying.
So what do you do about all of this? Well, of course I’d recommend our MGE Communication and Sales Seminars to individual and more advanced communication courses. (Had to put a shameless plug in there somewhere…)
Ultimately, trouble in this area can lead you down many undesirable roads. For instance: You’re presenting a plan to a patient that they really truly need. If you were in that patient’s shoes, you would do it, no question. At the end of this presentation, the patient wants to wait, etc. This is, in a way, confusing. Why won’t they just go ahead with it? You begin looking for a “reason,” which (in reality) in most cases has to do with how the treatment plan was presented. Not knowing this and still grasping for “why,” you might pick one or more of the following:
a. The economy
b. The patient’s dental IQ
c. Insurance companies
d. The patient doesn’t care about their dental health and so on.
Using one of the above as “the reason,” you might make decisions that are not in the best interest of your practice. Thinking it’s the “dental IQ” in your area, you might move the office (I’ve actually seen this). Or if you have insurance on the mind, you might think your only solution is to join plans (seen this happen plenty of times). Maybe you decide the “economy” is the problem – no one wants to pay for anything – so you lower fees (again have seen this). Either way, you’re attacking the wrong “reason.”
No matter how you slice it, knowing how to communicate is a MUST, MUST, MUST if you wan to positively affect case acceptance, which is why I listed it first.
With that I’ll wrap up this week’s issue.
Next week, we’ll jump into points 2 & 3: Organizational issues relating to case acceptance and the schedule and patient flow through the office. Until then!
(For Part II in this series, click here.)
Jeffrey Blumberg provides this general dental practice management advice to furnish you with suggestions of actions that have been shown to have potential to help you improve your practice. Neither MGE nor Mr. Blumberg may be held liable for adverse actions resulting from your implementation of these suggestions, which are provided only as examples of topics covered by the MGE program.