The life-blood of your practice is your patient base. Whether you are just starting out or are considering selling your practice, consistently acquiring new patients is essential. Of course, there are a few simple things you and your team at the front desk can do to have a big impact on whether or not a new patient will become a consistent one. Here are a few dental booking tips for Massachusetts dentists looking to get new patients, courtesy of Workwell Management.
Do: Have an Upbeat Attitude
For most new patients, their first direct experience with your practice will involve talking to your team at the front desk, so you want to make sure the people in this position will make a good first impression. They should be comfortable speaking to people all day, and able to maintain a positive attitude even if the practice is busy or the new patient isn’t particularly pleasant. If your team is easy to talk to, the new patient will already feel at ease, and be much more likely to book an appointment.
Don’t: Leave Patients on Hold Too Long
Practices often get busy around school holidays as students come home, and this means a sizeable increase in incoming calls. Patients who are left on hold even for just a few minutes are likely to just hang-up or not want to book an appointment. In order to avoid this, make sure your staff are informed about your practice so they can answer questions quickly, and complete calls in less time.
Do: Make Sure Your Team Knows Your Practice
This easily ties into the point that was just made. A new patient will probably have a lot of basic questions about your practice, “Where did the doctor go to school? What services are offered? What are your hours?” Make sure whoever is answering your phones knows your practice well enough to give accurate information quickly. It’s often a good idea to have a “cheat sheet” handy for these commonly asked questions so they can be quickly referenced.
Don’t: Discuss Specific Treatments
If a new patient calls and shares that they have a particular problem, your front desk team shouldn’t then discuss specific treatments that might help them. This should be left up to you, the doctor, as many patients may be unaware of underlying symptoms that may call for different treatments than what was discussed on the phone. Unless the problem deals with something you are not trained to do (like oral surgery if you are a general dentist), your team should just concentrate on informing the new patient that you can indeed help them, and that they need to book an appointment.
Do: Make Appointments on Your Website
Most people these days find their dentist online, so an easy way to book new patients is to simply let them request an appointment on your website. Make sure your website is professional looking, up to date, and that the page used to book appointments is clear and easy to use.
Don’t: End a Call Without Trying To Book an Appointment
Whenever your team is on the phone with a potential new patient, they should always end the call by trying to book an appointment, even if the patient seems like they wouldn’t want to. Patients may be upset if the practice can’t get them an appointment at the exact time they want or take their insurance, but by simply apologizing and then asking if they would like to make an appointment, they will often get a positive answer. Just have them promise that they’ll do everything they can to accommodate the patient, maintaining a positive attitude, and this will often lead to a booked appointment even if the patient did not get the exact answers that they wanted.
Of course, these are just a few general tips on how you can book new patients. If you’re a specialty practice, or want to attract a certain kind of patient, there are more specific things you will need to do. Fortunately, we can help you with those as well, just simply give us a call. We’re always willing to help you grow your practice and offer dental management tips for Massachusetts.
If you have any questions about these tips, or want to know more ways you can start booking new patients, give us a call today.