Welcome to the America Smiles tips and tricks. We’re going to touch on various financial subjects, technical subjects, and marketing subjects. The whole idea of this program is to give you simple tips and tricks to help you run your business more efficiently.
For today’s installment, we’re going to discuss something in the marketing category with how to onboard a new dentist. If you’re onboarding a new dentist, we’ll operate under the assumption that you’ve engaged in a marketing program or plan, making door-to-door sales, using a mailer, or hired a call service of some sort.
Getting Started with a New Doctor
In any event, once you’ve gotten a new doctor to try you for your first case, they’ll send you just one case to get a chance to get to know the patient and to see how the case fits. Let’s assume that the first case is a crown and bridge. We’ll speak from a crown and bridge standpoint, but in this first case scenario, you might want to call the office immediately after receiving it.
When one of the employees answers the phone, ask if your case patient has been seen. If they confirm, yes, the patient’s been seen, you might want to ask, “Can I talk to the doctor? I want to confirm how the case went.” She might volunteer to ask the doctor for you. Be persistent to make that personal and technical connection with the doctor. Throughout my dental career, I’ve made a point of not talking to auxiliary staff on a technical basis, asking them how the contacts were. They have to ask the doctor; then it gets back to you.
Set the Tone
I like to talk directly to the doctor. Sometimes I even sound offended, saying, “I’m sorry, I won’t speak to auxiliary staff about technical issues.” I want to get right to the doctor the best I can. If you’re confident that the patient has come in, ask the doctor, “How was the shade? How were the margins? How was the context? How is the bite at this point? Is there any chance we can get you to try us for a couple of more? We understand that anybody can get the first case, right?” I’ve always said, “Be honest.” I want to make sure I like working with you as much as you like working with me. There’s no reason not to establish your ground that you’re not just begging for new business, that you deserve respect as a business owner, and you have standards and protocols that need to be met, as well as the customer.
Generally, I like to get 3 cases onboard. How do you bring a new customer into your fold? Talk to that doctor for up to five minutes, ask him how he liked the service with generally the same line of questions regarding the fit, the finish, and the aesthetics. If you’re confident that the doctors liked the work, it’s your opportunity to establish yourself as an individual business owner. However, I also need a quality impression from the doctor. I need the right amount of time to produce what you need, and I’m a stickler for being paid on time. If I can get those things from you, then I’ll go to the ends of the Earth to get a quality product to you.
You can discuss how we all know that remakes are a part of the industry. I’m proud to say my remake ratio is about 2%, or about two out of every hundred crowns will have to be remade. I reserve the right to make a case twice and be paid once. The whole idea of businesses saying, “I didn’t like it, and I’m sending it somewhere else,” is never going to work. Take the opportunity to say, “Doc, I have a policy here for the most part. If we’re pretty confident the flaw was in the impression, I’ll do that case for half charge. If we’re pretty confident that it’s my fault, I’m going to be doing it at no cost”. But let’s be honest, the weak link in our system and dentistry is that impression.
I’ll try to hold a doctor to a high standard. I’ll try to give them feedback on the impressions they’re giving me. If something needs to be remade, I’ll let them know that an impression must be retaken and I’ll tell them that ahead of time. But in any event, it’s an excellent opportunity to establish yourself and say, “I’d love to do your work, but I am an independent business owner.”
It’s All About Customer Service
You have standards that you have to adhere to. It’s your opportunity to tell the doctor what your needs are as well as your willingness to provide him with anything he needs. Go over some of the additional services you offer, some timeframes, make sure they have enough lab prescriptions, and your price list.
Onboarding a doctor involves communicating after cases and showing you’re more than willing to provide all they could ever ask. Don’t forget; it’s also your opportunity to set your standards of what you expect from them as a business owner.