Brothers Nilash and Nitash Patel are experienced dentists who own three Serenity Dental practices north of Tampa, Fla. They were considering opening a fourth office to generate additional revenue when they had an eye-opening realization.
They could almost double their new patient revenue at their current locations if they made one small change.
What was the change?
They started paying close attention to the performance of their front desk team.
What was the result?
In just two months, the dentists added an average of $50,000 a month in new patient revenue. Within a year, new patient revenue grew by $600,000.
New focus: understand the value of every potential new patient
The Patel brothers realized their dental marketing efforts were working. Potential patients were calling the office. But their front desk team booked appointments with fewer than half of the people who called.
That meant that half of their marketing investment was going to waste.
The Patel brothers wanted to understand why so many callers weren’t booking – and understand the amount of potential revenue being lost as a result. They implemented Patient Prism to track the number of phone inquiries and the number of new appointments booked.
We were doing almost nothing to manage the way we handled incoming calls,” Dr. Nilash Patel says. “So we were open to the change.”
Unlike another call-tracking system the Patels had tried, Patient Prism doesn’t require dentists to listen to the calls. Instead, the system provides a visual summary of each missed new patient opportunity, displaying the services requested, attaching a monetary value based on the dentists’ own fee schedule, and detailing why the caller did not book.
Even more importantly, the system generates an alert for each missed opportunity within about an hour of the original call, with suggestions on how the front office team could complete a follow-up call to the potential patient, address the person’s concerns, and schedule a first appointment.
Two amazing changes happened. First, the front desk team members benefited from the call coaching and became more efficient at booking appointments during the initial call. Second, the Patels assigned a team member to handle the follow-up calls for people who did not book immediately. By making that part of the team member’s job, it ensured the calls occurred and the results recorded. When the team saw their new-patient revenue increase by tens of thousands of dollars, they became believers.
For the first time, they understood the monetary value of turning a lost opportunity into a real opportunity.
The big change: Pay close attention to metrics that matter
Now the dentists know how many calls each office receives and how many inquiries they convert to first appointments. They can see how much revenue they win or lose, hour by hour. They can see the reasons why people called their office, including the number of people who called for emergency dental care. That helps them schedule efficiently and convert more people than ever to comprehensive care.
They can also see which of their front office staff members are most effective. With that insight, the dentists can praise their team, reward them, or suggest coaching and training as needed.
On average, one office alone now sees about 120 new patients a month, Dr. Nilash Patel said.
“More locations don’t necessarily mean more profits,” says Patel. “Using Patient Prism, we can laser focus on the metrics that matter most and optimize operations in real time.”
Better staff scheduling improves conversions and customer service
Patient Prism monitors when phone calls come in, so Dr. Patel can schedule plenty of staff during high-volume hours.
How have the front-office staff responded to the changed work hours and the closer supervision of their performance?
Dr. Patel said they like the feedback they receive, especially the coaching tips on how to convert callers who are uncertain about booking an appointment. Each call review includes short, helpful videos taped by some of the top dental consultants in the country.
Now our front desk staff sees what to say and how to say it so we can get more patients in the door,” Dr. Patel said.
A different approach
Many dental practices are looking for ways to grow faster. Dentaltown is full of pleas from dentists who are struggling to grow their practice.
The problem may not be your marketing strategy. It may be something that is absolutely in your control: your front desk team’s ability to convert callers into new patient appointments. By booking more appointments, you maximize your marketing investment and increase your new patient revenue. It’s a change in mindset that pays off.
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