Your fortune is in your follow up
In my early career days as a dental nurse, we had a drawer for patient notes where a treatment plan had been delivered. It would get really full and I would go through it removing the notes when the treatment plan was around six months old. I’d take them to the practice manager and explain that these patients all had outstanding treatment plans… She told me to put them back in the main filing system every time.
I remember wondering how much money the practice could have made if she’d have just made time each week for one of us to call patients for follow up.
My question to you is this: Do you have thousands of pounds sitting in your files that you have forgotten about?
Be proactive, not reactive
When the diary is quiet, do you pull out a list of patients with outstanding treatment plans and ask someone to call them all? This is an awful task to be landed with because, at this point, most of the treatment plans will be a few months old and the person making the call has no momentum to pick up from.
I often notice that many team members fear being tasked with follow up, or they are uncomfortable with it. This is usually because it is done in a reactive way.
Follow up shouldn’t be scary. It should be proactive, allowing the team to contact the patient soon after their appointment while everything is fresh and the excitement around the treatment is still there. This makes the conversion much easier!
Effective follow up should be systemised for different types of patient leads. For example, enquiries from social media campaigns might be high volume but they tend to be poor quality. On the flip side, patients who have attended and had a treatment plan delivered are hot leads. You cannot apply a one size fits all approach to your follow up, you need to tailor it for different types.
In addition to this, I always recommend having a tracking system so that you know which patients are mid-follow up and which have been converted. Knowing the cash value of these conversions is crucial… when was the last time you checked yours?
How do I do it?
Constructing a proactive system for follow ups is vital. You need to build on the momentum you created while the patient was in the practice and convert that plan into a paid course of treatment.