In 2013, a Gallup poll revealed that 1/3 of the American population did not visit the dentist in that entire year. A saddening truth when it comes to the prioritization of dental health in the mind of the patient.
The ADA released survey results in 2014 on why adults forgo dental care. While the results have been consistently of the same nature over the past 25-30 years, it is important to know as you plan your approach to attracting new patients and case presentation that the top two reasons in all age and financial demographics were COST and NO PERCEIVED NEED.
Why focus on these specific survey results? According to the team of advisors at Jameson, two of the most common concerns dentists and teams bring to their attention are the need for consistent new patients and issues with overcoming obstacles in case presentation – mostly the concern of cost, often leading to the painful response of “I’ll Think About It.”
Here are 3 areas your team of management and marketing advisors at Jameson want you to focus on to get started in overcoming this epidemic that has taken over your practice.
1. EDUCATION. This must be a team approach. If your patient has the need of extensive restorative care, they need to be hearing that not only from you, the dentist, but it also needs to be reinforced by the hygienist when they are visiting for continuous care & from the entire team at every appointment. Use your cameras and make it a visual experience. People naturally learn and understand more visually, so use the time they are in your chair to SHOW them their dental needs and explain what needs to be done to get them back to a state of health.
It is also important to use internal marketing efforts to educate your patient base and remind them of the need for regular visits to your practice. In the 21st century, creativity abounds when it comes to ways to reach out to your patients, to get them to confirm and keep appointments, understand the care and services available to them, etc. Take advantage of this creativity and let it work to your practice’s advantage.
2. COMMUNICATION. Present the treatment appropriately and effectively. Have serious conversations away from the dental chair. If your patient has a need for restorative work, take them to a private consultation area, sit together at the same level, use a monitor to show them the scenario in his or her mouth, and have a real, uninterrupted conversation about what needs to be done. This is imperative for successful case presentation. The privacy and preparation before the presentation make for a better chance of understanding, a reduction in emotional flooding and a higher chance of the patient saying yes to the treatment as you discuss their health needs as well as their financial responsibilities and how to make the treatment financially feasible for them.
According to Jameson’s Marketing Advisors, a person must hear, see, feel, experience a message 5 to 7 times before they will act on it – do you have a comprehensive marketing and education plan in place that allows you to be communicating to both your patient family and potential patients in a consistent way about the services you provide and the care they need?
3. CONSISTENCY. One thing that can make a difference over everything else is your relationship and your consistent communication with your patients – and potential patients. It is important to establish a relationship with them, to make sure they trust that you and your team truly care for their health and well-being.
Be consistent. Show them their progress every time they visit. If they accept treatment and are progressing in a positive way – show them before and after photos and celebrate the success – this also communicates to them the great work YOU are doing for them! If they are delaying and are progressing into a further state of decay and disease, it is imperative that you continue to show them, to educate them and to ask for that YES to treatment. Consistency is the goal in all things regarding diagnosed treatment – from the consistency of your New Patient Experience to the way you approach educating on diagnosed treatment at every patient visit.