The Front Office of your Dental Office is the first and last point of contact with patients, so lets make sure that procedures are concrete and the interactions leave both the patient and dentist feeling confident!

Why is it that some people will willingly break appointments at the dental office yet keep their hair appointments?  It is more commonly known as the “perceived value.”  Patients value how their hair looks more than their dental health sometimes!  How do we change this philosophy?  It starts with establishing a relationship based on trust and respect from the get go.  It is also important to set clear guidelines “gently” with patients so that they know what your practice boundaries are and can comply with ease.

Let’s start with the Continuing Care System.  To provide the most consistency promoting compliance with your patients, hygienists should pre-appoint chairside and have one business office team member be in charge of the continuing care follow up system.

Suggested script for doing confirmation calls:

“Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Leslie from Dr Smith’s office.  I can’t believe it has been 6 months since we have seen you last!  How is all feeling with your teeth, gums and dental health overall?”  Once the patients responds, let them know that you are looking forward to seeing them Thursday, April 8th at 3:00 PM.

Suggested script if you need to confirm by voice mail:

 “Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Leslie from Dr. Smith’s office.  We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, April 8th at 3:00 PM.  Please call to let us know that you received my message by 12 noon on April 7th. I would not want to have to give this time away to another patient.  Heidi is such a popular hygienist.”  Most patients will be surprised that you are requiring a call back to “save” this appointment time for them so be certain to use good listening skills.  Variations on this communication skill are also acceptable to help patients to create greater value in their continuing care appointments.

Suggested scripts if patients attempt to cancel especially last minute.

“Mrs. Jones, I am so sorry to hear that you may not be able to see Heidi today!  If you could give me one quick minute to get your chart in front of me…I see that we just completed 4 quadrants of scaling and root planning.  I would sure hate to see all of this work have to be redone because the perio bugs got back in the driver’s seat! It may be as long as 3 months before I can get you back into the schedule. Is there any way you might be able to re-arrange your schedule to make your appointed time today?  I may be able to offer you a littler earlier (or later) if that would help?”  Variations on this theme are also acceptable.

Appointment verbal skills tips:

When booking the 6 months out for continuing care appointments, allow 6 months plus 2-3 weeks so you have flexibility if you need to move a patient forward in the schedule.  When appointing, NEVER ask, “What days are good or you or Would you like to appoint for your next visit?”  Instead say, “Would you prefer Tuesday at 2:10PM, or Wednesday at 11:20PM?”  Patients are more likely to choose a time if given some options.  Invite patients to be on your “quick call list!”

In conclusion, know your patients emotional reason for being a patient and always focus on optimal dental health!