The more patients you have on your plan, the more stable your income and the more easily you will be able to plan for the future. Not to mention, the peace of mind this level of financial steadiness brings.
Bearing this in mind, I thought I’d share some top ways to increase your plan membership:
Ensure the whole team believes…
Everyone in the practice needs to believe that being on a plan is the best thing for your patients. You can do this by ensuring that everyone is aware of the oral health benefits of being on a plan – such as patients being more likely to attend appointments regularly, and therefore building strong, long-lasting relationships with their dentist, plus access to discounted treatments. Training is key here, for both new members of your team and ongoing refresher sessions – which you can do internally but is something your BDC will be more than happy to provide.
…and is knowledgeable about the plan
Following on from the above, that belief needs to be backed up by knowledge, which again can be provided through regular training, such as DPAS provide for their members. The more your staff understand about your plan, how it works and the benefits, the more confidently they will be able to talk to patients about it. With a whole team knowing and believing in the merits of your plan, they will feel happy to talk about it with patients and will be promoting membership almost unintentionally.
Think about who says what
Dentist’s recommendations carry a lot of weight with patients who respect the authority of ‘the white coat’ and the expertise they hold. It makes sense then that the initial conversation about being on a plan should come from the dentist. The process of signing them up can be finished by another member of the team, perhaps the front desk staff, who will no doubt find the way smoothed by the initial discussion, while the dentist can continue with treating patients. It’s therefore worthwhile spending time to decide who is responsible for saying what and when, and ensuring everyone in the team is aware of their role.
Make it your default position
When a new patient attends your practice or makes an enquiry, let them know that you work on a membership plan basis as you believe it is what’s best for them and their oral health. With the belief and knowledge mentioned above, your teams should have no qualms about explaining this from the get-go, and, in my experience, practices that take this approach see a very high rate of patients signing up to the plan.
Approach existing patients who aren’t yet on plan
You may have some patients who have not yet signed up to the plan; don’t assume it’s because they don’t want to be. Why not simply ask after their next appointment why they’re not on your plan. You may find out that they’re unaware of it, or don’t fully understand how it works, but never thought to ask more about it. By starting the conversation with them, you might be able to fill in the blanks and provide them with the information they need to make a decision.
There you have it, five ways to grow your plan membership to bring more financial control to your practice and improve the oral health of your patients.