How to respond to the most commonly asked questions, to turn calls into scheduled appointments

By November 15, 2019 November 21st, 2019 Podcast
How to answer dental patient's questions

Episode 12 – How to respond to the most commonly asked questions, to turn calls into scheduled appointments

Our special guest Maegen Brach, from Dental Success Today discusses what influences people’s decision making, and what eventually moves them forward to buy. In today’s episode she is going to share with us the 2 commonly asked questions by new patients, and how to address them to ensure success! This episode is LOADED with great information and take-aways that every dental practice needs to hear. Be sure to stick around to the end for a VERY special offer for our listeners.

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S1: 00:11Today we're joined by a very special guest, Maegen Brach from Dental Success Today. Maegen's experience began in the field of marketing and consumer behavior which is all about what influences people's decision making and ultimately what moves them forward to buy. With real dental practice experience, she has worked with a team to build out a dynamic patient experience focusing on verbiage and patient psychology. She has tried and true methods to help patients value dentistry and make the commitment to getting healthy. Now Maegen works with practices across the United States and Canada, helping them implement best practices.
S2: 00:45Just in case you guys are not familiar with us, we're a dental marketing agency. We believe in thinking different from other mass marketing companies that you're probably used to. And we help you stand up against corporate dentistry. We do this by helping independent practices just like yourself build genuine relationships with patients, create and manage positive online reputations, drive quality new patients into the practice, and retain your current patients. And you're probably thinking, "How the heck do you do that?" We do all of this by creating custom, relatable, personalized, and distinctly different campaigns that reflect the needs and personalities of each individual practice. It's as simple as that.
S1: 01:30I also want to mention if you haven't already, you really should get yourself a free copy of Jackie's new book, Dental Disruption: The Decade That Changed Dentistry. It's entirely free and jam packed with valuable information that discusses why you can't afford to be marketing your practice today the same way you were a decade ago. And what you must be doing now to get real proven results. We've gotten some really great feedback already on Jackie's second book and it even ships for free so there's really no reason why you shouldn't order your copy today. Simply visit dentaldisruption dot com and place your free order and you'll have it in your hands in just a few days.
S2: 02:08In today's episode, Maegen is going to share with us the two commonly asked questions by new patients. She's going to walk you through the process on how to steer the conversation and best practices on how to respond to the two most commonly asked questions so you can turn those new patients into booked appointments. We invited Maegen to speak with us today because most of our listeners and clients honestly struggle with how to properly handle new patient calls. This doesn't mean that your team isn't friendly on the phone. Most of the practices we talk to have extremely friendly team members but they're asked some really tough questions and struggle with how to properly respond. Maegen is going to provide great insight in how to answer the dreaded, "How much does this procedure cost? Do you take my insurance?" And she's going to walk us through how to first build trust and rapport with the patients and the right questions to ask them and I can assure you that if your team implements just a few of these things, your practice will be converting more new patients into booked appointments.
S1: 03:13So Maegen, before we jump into these really commonly asked questions and some best practices for how to respond, what don't you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself?
S3: 03:24Yes, absolutely. Thank you Jackie and Sean for having me. I really do appreciate it and I'm happy to be here to spread any sort of information that we can that's going to help people with their patient experience. So you had mentioned that I have come from the marketing world and it's interesting because a lot of people might wonder how do you get from marketing to dentistry and I like to joke that I've been in dentistry since birth as my parents run a dental practice up here in Toronto. So that's something that I've been involved in. Our dinner table conversations have been centered around the practice for as long as I remember. And it's something that I'd always heard about in the background and never really considered how much there is a crossover with consumer behavior which is all about the psychology of why people buy and what influences people to move forward in their purchase decision and how that can be translated into dentistry. So I didn't start my career in marketing and I was very passionate about the patient or I guess in this situation, it would be the customer experience. And that's where when I was involved in Dental Success Today and I moved over to work with my parents at their practice to help them build out that patient experience, I saw so much crossover and fundamentally what it boils down to is if you can be a patient's advocate, if you can make them feel like they have been heard and that you have their back, there is no selling that you need to do. And that is something that is translated from the marketing world all the way down through dentistry. So it's something that is very close to my heart and I'm very passionate about and anything I can offer to help with that, I'm happy to share today.
S2: 05:06Yeah, we're excited to have you and Sean and I have had the unique experience to get to see Maegen speak at an event and talk to some of her clients and I can assure you that everything she has to offer is extremely valuable. We're excited to really dive into this topic, and Maegen, as Sean and I have probably shared with you before, this is such a pain point for our prospective clients and our existing clients and I can't wait to get your insight on this. I think it's going to shed so much light on really how to answer these commonly asked questions. So Maegen before we dive into the most commonly asked questions and how to respond, let's start with how team members should really start every single call and the questions they should ask these new patients. And it's often that Sean and I do get to hear the recorded calls for our marketing purposes, right? We're recording calls to see how we can optimize campaigns but we have that unique experience to be able to hear these calls and it is so critical about how these team members pick up the phone and how they start that conversation. So do you mind just starting from there? And I want to hear your insight into what those best practices are.
S3: 06:24Absolutely. Well, fundamentally I do believe that dentistry starts on the phone. So I think the very first conversation you have with a patient is going to set the tone and set the stage for the rest of your patient experience. So it's so important that impression that we give patients in the beginning is very [inaudible] for the rest of the appointment. So I want to start first by going back to the patient psychology. When you think about when people are calling, we always hear the same sort of topics that come up that has to do with finances or insurance. And the big reason why patients ask these questions is because quite frankly, they don't know what else to ask. So they're asking only about the two things that they think they should know, and so this is where it becomes so critical that we take control of the conversation. Since we know what's best in order to give our patients a fantastic experience, we want to take the driver seat and guide them through it from the very first phone call. So when you think about it, when the patient's asking about insurance or finances, it's not necessarily that they're fixated there, they just don't know what else to ask. And so the first thing you want to do to take control is start off by asking the patient-- validate them first, and say, "Thank you for calling. We're really glad you called. Do you mind me asking, who am I speaking with?" The very first question.
S2: 07:43Seems so simple, right?
S3: 07:45Very. [inaudible], yeah. "Who am I speaking with?" Let's figure that out first. And actually sounding friendly. And that's something that everyone thinks that they sound friendly, but I'll tell you this, from being in a practice in the day-to-day busyness that happens, you don't realize sometimes how much of that busyness and stress can translate over the phone. So making sure that before you pick up that phone, smile to yourself. Do whatever you need to do to get some positivity going because that's going to come through to that patient. So right away in the same way that you would do it if you saw any other person. If you were meeting someone, you would introduce yourself. And so that's what we want to start with, is asking who we're speaking with. And then from there go right into, "We're so glad that you called today. Do you mind sharing with me how can we help you today?" And so this is something where we want to let the patient share as much as they can here, we want them to understand that we are here and that we want to listen. We want to be able to help them. It's not that we're trying to get them off the phone quickly. And so this is where you might get some of those questions that typically come up but we're going to try and hear it a different way. So any of those topics come up, we say, "That's a great question. First, before we get into that, I have to ask you so many of our patients they come from referrals, so I'm just curious if you know any of our patients or how else did you hear about us?" And this is a great question because it really does divert a little bit of the tension from the finances and insurance and get them thinking. So it's an important question first, because if they do have a referral, we have an immediate connection with this patient. And now we can bond with them a little bit and mention, "Oh, Mrs. Jones, she's fantastic. She's been coming here for years. We're so honored that she sent someone like you to come see us." Something like that. And if they don't, my default was always to say, "Oh, not a problem. Did you find us on Google or did you find us online?" And that's usually where the other camp of patients is coming from. And that's a great opportunity to brag about your reviews and to say something like, "Oh, you must have seen our reviews. What did you think?" And guiding them through that. So there's a lot of ways that we can take the attention and take the focus off of the insurance and finances and start to take control of the seat, of the driver seat here, the whole experience from the beginning of the phone call. And so I always like a joke that in this day and age, we all have decision fatigue. Everyone is sick and tired of having to make decisions and we want to simplify our lives. So you can give the patient a clear step by step question process to go through, they are going to appreciate that someone else has taken control of the conversation and it's going to take the pressure off of them to feel like they have to. So I just wanted to pause there. Any thoughts on that before I move on to some of the other questions that we will get into?
S2: 10:39Yeah, I think that's great.
S3: 10:40So the next question after the referral question is to ask the patient-- and actually before I get into this, I wanted to mention the very first thing that I ask before I go into these questions is I want to set the stage because quite frankly, most patients from past dental experiences are not used to people taking time with them on the phone. So this is a bit of a new process for some of them. So I like to say, "Mrs. Smith, something that's very important to us here at our practice is that we like to get to know our patients very well. We don't believe in cookie cutter dentistry here. And we really do customize all of our care based on the person that we're speaking with. So if it's okay with you, you have five minutes for us to go through some questions so I can get to know you better." And it's a good way to right way get permission from the patient and see if they're even open to this because there's nothing worse than if someone is asking you all these questions and you're trying to run off the calls because you've got to pick up your kids or get to an appointment. So I always like to start with that and to make sure that they knew you have five minutes for me to get into the conversation. And it also gives you permission then to feel like they know that we're going to be asking them questions, they understand that we're extracting information and what we're using it for. So that's a very important thing before we go into this. So my favorite question once they say, "Yes, that's fine, go ahead," and this is my favorite because it quite honestly just organically opens up so much information and so much conversation, is to say to them, "Have you been to the dentist before? And do you mind telling me a little bit about your most recent dental experience?" And this one is a loaded question, so get your pen and paper ready because you're going to hear all sorts of things from the patient. And this is gold that they're giving you because right away they're either going to complain about something they didn't like that was happening at their past dentists or they're going to tell you what it is that they're looking for in their next dentist. And whatever information they give you here is going to be your secret weapon because now we're going to have that documented and we can reassure the patient that whatever it is that they're looking for or not looking for, we can offer that to them here. And so that's a really nice way to phrase it. And I like using the term "would you be open to" when we're asking them to share. It non-intrusive, it gets the patient comfortable about sharing and they understand that we're being respectful, we're not being nosy. And I would find many patients who are very comfortable at that point to share.
S2: 13:13Absolutely.
S3: 13:13Ask them more about their last dentist.
S2: 13:14You know what, it's--
S3: 13:16Yeah, absolutely.
S2: 13:16--interesting Maegen. So right off the bat-- and I know you have more questions that you ask these patients, but right off the bat, you have steered and you use the word control which I really, really like, taking control of that call. But you have steered the question already away from the original negative ones that are typically, "Do you take my insurance?" Right? Or some of the others like you had just quickly mentioned. "And how much does X treatment cost?" You've already steered that conversation away from it just from those few simple things. And it doesn't take a lot just to ask them their name, ask them the question that you had just said and boom, you're already probably have shifted that whole conversation to your benefit already.
S3: 14:03You're so right Jackie, and that's just it right there. And if the patient does again lead with any of those financial, insurance questions, a very simple phrase you can use that will give them enough reassurance that they're willing to go into these conversations with you but still understand that you heard them, is to say something like, "Mrs. Smith, that's a great question. A lot of our patients ask about insurance as well. I'd be happy to go into that with you. But first, do you mind if I ask you a few questions so I can better understand what you're calling about?" And so this way, what we're letting the patient know is that, "I heard your question. I'm not trying to avoid it. I'm going to get to it. But you called me and I'm in charge now. So I'm going to walk you through this, and we both want that." So you come at them with that confidence that, "I've got your back. I know what's going to be best for you and I'm also not trying to skirt the question. I'm going to get to it, but first let's do it my way." And it's a respectful way to take control but still let them know you heard them.
S2: 15:04That's fantastic. And absolutely. So I apologize. We'll get back to that and I know that you have great ways to handle that exact question as well but let's get back to some of those questions that they can ask on the onset.
S3: 15:16Sounds good. So the next one after asking them about their past dental experience which that one really, well, it might even organically get you to these next questions. So if that's the case, just blow in the conversation and let it be like you're talking to a friend and that they're opening up to you. So it's okay if that happens, but let's say you have a patient that's a little quieter, might need a bit more prompting and a bit more conversation on your end to open them up, is to ask them-- first, thank them. "Thank you so much for sharing that about your past dental experience. I'm confident we're going to be able to give you what you're looking for here. And do you mind sharing with me now what exactly is it that you'd like to accomplish in your first visit with us?" And now what this allows you to do is that the new patient not only will they be able to help you understand their expectation but it gives us an opportunity to set the expectations we have for the patient. And so this will give us a chance to understand what is there a minimum. So a patient might say, "Oh, I'm just looking for a checkup and cleaning regularly." And that's great. The patient might say to you, "Well, I've been in pain on and off and I'm just sick and tired of it now. I know I need to do something about it." So whatever it is, we're getting a sense of how far in the process is our patient in terms of accepting treatment and moving forward. So we're getting good information here from that question to understand what exactly are our patient's expectations. And similar to what we said before when we asked about their past dental experience, we want to validate them and reassure them that this can happen here. So letting them know, "Absolutely. We are committed to helping you get [inaudible]. That's something that we're really passionate about here. And I'm sure we can make that happen." And now patients can see we're so kind to share what your expectations are. "I'd love to tell you a little bit more about our philosophy here." And this is where you have an opportunity now to set yourself apart from other dentists. There are very few other dental practices that are explaining what their philosophy is and what they're-- essentially what their mission statement is and what they're hoping to accomplish with their patients. And so I'll give you an example of what we say at our practice and we would tell our patients, "I just want to let you know that you are going to have the best dental experience you have ever had with us. We take this so seriously and we are so honored that you trust us to care for you. I commit to being transparent throughout the entire experience and we are going to be 100% health focused in terms of achieving your goals. How does that sound?" And so what we're doing is showing the patient through the confidence of what we expect here. Now subconsciously, what we're also telling the patient is we're not going to let insurance dictate the health of our patients here. We are all health focused and we are going to approach your care from a health focus perspective. So putting that in the first phone call is going to set the scene for every single patient experience that happens after that fact. So the earlier you can convey that in the patient experience the better.
S2: 18:26Absolutely, and then that-- you just said something very, very important. So most of our clients and prospective clients and listeners, a lot of them are fee for service or maybe they don't take every single insurance. So that is-- you're right, that's setting the tone and that helps their team members answer some of those very, very difficult questions that they probably get asked day in and day out. So I think, if you don't mind, let's just roll into that. So now that we know exactly how to kind of control or shift that conversation, if you will, when they do have to get back to those questions, those tough questions, the first one being and I'll just use implants as an example because this is a prime example of how many prospective patients are calling asking about specific treatments. So typically they'll ask how much does the implant treatment cost? How do you suggest they answer that?
S3: 19:22It's a great question. And I remember now you're taking me back to my practice days because that one came up quite a lot. So the way that we like to approach this is a little bit of kindly calling your patient's bluff. And what we mean by that is just showing them through asking questions that they might not actually be so confident about what they're even asking about. So the patient says [inaudible]--
S2: 19:47I like this already.
S3: 19:51Yeah, the patient says, let's use your implant example, "How much would it be to get a dental implant here." We can say to them, "Oh, a denture. That's fantastic that you're interested in doing that. That's for sure a service that we offer here. Now let me ask you what kind of dental implants are you looking for?" And it's a great question because usually that's enough to stump them. They haven't thought that far ahead. They haven't got that information from their other dentist, wherever they're coming from and they will admit either through stumbling through it or just telling you outright they're not quite sure. And you can even take it a bit further if they try to guess their way through it, as you could say, "What kind of material would you like to use? What brand of implant would you like?" Just start asking them these clinical questions that you know they will not have an answer to and it's not to make them feel bad, what it is is we want to prove to them that there's a lot of factors that are coming in to how the pricing is built around dental implants. And so once they sort of reveal that they aren't so confident, they're not quite sure what they need, this is where we want to scoop in as that guiding advocate and direct them, and take control again of the conversation. So we can say something like, "Not to worry patient. A lot of our patients here are not so sure on that. Here's what you can be confident in. When you come in, we're going to take a look and we do everything here custom. So we're not going to give you the same dental implant that we would give to everyone. We're going to take a look at your X-rays, we're going to have a doctor really determine for you what is going to be the long-term best fit. This is a lifestyle change for you, it's a great decision to move forward and we want to make sure we're picking the best thing for you, because as you know and all things in life, cheapest is not best. And that's just reality. So you can rest assured that we are in line with the dental field guide. Our pricing is very reasonable and similar to where else to go. But here is what you can also get, guarantee that you're going to get if you come with us. We are always going to be transparent with you along the whole process. So you have all the information you need to make a smart decision and you've got a team here that really, really cares about our patients and is committed to giving you this lifestyle outcome that through looking for. So let me ask you patient, would you be interested in coming in so we can discuss this further?" So what we're doing here is we're reviewing it to take it all back from the very beginning. We're going to help them understand that they might not know and that there is not one-size-fits-all in terms of the procedure that they're looking for. We're also reassuring them that we're pretty similar and fairly bright by saying that we follow the dental field guide or we're on the same sort of range as other practices in the area. Something generic so that they understand that we're not totally out of the limits of what would be considered average. But we're also letting them know that cheapest should not be your number one factor. It should not be the cheapest price when you're picking something that is hopefully going to be in your mouth for life. So it's something that we're going to start to subconsciously again plant that seed for our patients. So even if worst case scenario that patient hangs up and they're going to move forward on their price-shopping search, they're going to have that seed in the back of their head. They're going to be thinking about that. If they find a price that's too good to be true, it probably is. And actually one thing I do want to mention is let's say, you do have a patient that you go through all of this with and they say thank you and they're not ready to book, is to leave them with this, and it's something that is really effective surprisingly and you wouldn't believe how many people called me back after doing some price shopping. But I would say to them, "Patient, I understand that this process can be quite confusing. So as you're making your calls, as you're doing your research, please know that our door is always open and we do this all day, every day. So we are happy to help guide you through this and help you make the best decision possible for you. So please call us back any time. It would truly be our honor to care for you." And just leaving that little door open, it can be so powerful. I had a friend here actually in Toronto and she was looking to get borderline done, and she went and-- I think she called eight different practices and money was a big factor for her. This is a significant investment she was going to be making. So when I asked her eventually who she moved forward with, I had thought it would be-- price would have been at the top of her list. That was something that was at the top of her list when she started her search. And what she told me surprised me, because she went with someone who was actually middle of the road price-wise. And when I asked her what was the difference between them versus the other seven practices she called, she said this was the only practice that sounded like they were invested in helping her achieve her outcome. She said every other practice that she called, she would ask the question, they would answer it and the phone line would go dead. No one was engaging with her. No one was trying to actually help her through this process and this one practice said something very similar to what I said. They said, "We are committed to helping you through this whole process. Give us a call back after your done searching." And she did. She did call them back and she ended up going with them, and is very happy in her borderline stages now. So it's something that-- just leaving them with that little seed and that reassurance that "we've got your back" can be quite powerful.
S2: 25:10All right. Yeah. And I don't think your friend is alone. I think a lot of practices don't realize how that can make a true difference. It's interesting, a lot of our marketing and I promise to our listeners, I did not prompt Maegen to say this just a minute ago. But in our marketing, we really try to preach for our practices, of course. Quality over discounted, and that has to be a driving factor for a lot of these practices. We try to convey even before they call that they need to be thinking about the quality of the practice and not just discount dentistry or the lowest cost option. And I can't wait to share this with our clients honestly because that key phrase that you presented just a moment ago will only reinforce what we're trying to say in our marketing, in our landing pages, in our ads. So personally I love that you had stated that. But secondly, I think that your friend is not alone and that has to be a deciding factor. Maybe not for everyone. I don't think the three of us sitting here today are unrealistic to think that there's always going to be shoppers and they don't care what you do on the other end. But those aren't the good quality patients you want anyway, right? So I think you have to make those individuals feel like you care and that they can trust you. So yeah, I think that's key. I think you really nailed it there.
S3: 26:35Yeah, you're absolutely right, Jackie. And something that-- well, I won't get into in detail on this call but as part of Dental Success Today, we do have a screening system in place because as we all know not all patients are the same. And so something that I like to point out is even the best patients like the top notch patients that come in and value the work and want to move forward and understand the clinical value of the treatments that we're talking about, even them they're going to have many questions. It's just a normal thing and I find so many of us, we freeze up when we hear the money question coming because we think it's the be-all-and-end-all and it's not. It's going to come up every time. Sure. But it's okay. And the more we downplay it, and the more we elevate some of the other items that they should be considering like the dentist experience, the type of team environment that they're going to have here. The quality care. All of that other factors that they should be considering even though those are going to be the most important, it's okay if our patients are asking us about money. We just have to decide that we're not going to focus our energy there. So just something I wanted to point out because sometimes I think people think that if someone is asking about money oh, they're just price shopping. But again, quite frankly, they just don't know what else to ask. So don't let everything hinge on finances. Don't let everything on the call focus around money. It's going to come up, but we have the control here where we can decide how much energy we're spending on it versus how much energy are we elevating some of the other factors.
S2: 28:11So what you're telling me is good quality new patients still ask these questions? And I'm going to say this jokingly that Sean and I probably hear at least two, three times a month where the client may say, "Well, I'm just not getting good leads from these campaigns because they're asking about you know fees and insurance." And I kind of say this half-jokingly but you said just the opposite. And we try to preach the same exact thing that people with money, even if they are multimillionaires, may still ask these questions. Did I just hear you say that?
S3: 28:47You got it. Absolutely, what you're saying. I mean, I like to consider myself as a patient so to speak. I value dentistry. I value the work that is done in our industry. I still want to be financially prepared for my appointment. So it's okay for me to ask those questions. It doesn't mean that I'm going to be my opinion on who I move forward with on that. And it's our-- you're correct in understanding that it is our job to move our patients past that point. It's not our patients' jobs to get over that question themselves. So this is where we have the privilege of educating our patients on what is important in a dental experience. And that's where it gets define where we get to bring that passion forward on these calls and really get our patients excited about the experience that they're going to have with us. I think so much of dentistry can sometimes be rooted in feeling bad where the patients are coming to us with problems in their mouth and it's a little bit of a killing the messenger where we're the ones that are having to deliver the not-so-good news. So any opportunity we have where we can bring in some positivity, and bring in that really good positive side of dentistry, like I said, the amazing experience of your dentist. The wonderful team dynamic that you had. All the speedy courses that you guys take in order to stay on top of what's going on in the industry. These are really great things that we want to organically bring into the conversation so that our patients start to learn that price is not the only thing they should be asking about.
S1: 30:17Yeah, that's really really great insight and it's so different what you just described than what we hear a lot of dental practices actually practicing today and what they're doing, and what they're saying on the phone. So I think that this is just going to be wildly valuable for all our listeners. So let's talk about the next most popular question which is certainly, "Do you take my insurance?" And I don't even think it's fair to say it's the next most popular question because I think we hear it on the calls we listen to almost as often as we hear the price question. Sometimes at some practices even more often. And just like you Maegen and Dental Success Today, a lot of the practices we work with are fee for service as well. And we find that the staff isn't always trained on how to answer this question properly. And I'm hoping you'll provide some insight there. So what's your advice about the insurance question?
S3: 31:10It's a great question and I think it truly does come up all the time for all the practices that we work with. So I'll described this one based on what we said at our practice as an example. So we were a fee for service practice. So we did. We're not a network with any insurance companies. So this is definitely a challenge at first, but something that we were able to work through using that Dental Success Today verbiage. So when that question comes up, "Do you take my insurance?" you really want to try to avoid saying no. So we're going to say no without saying no. And that's really the key thing here. And so what I would say if someone asked that is to respond with, "It's a great question patient, I'm glad that you asked. Here's what I can reassure you. We're going to help you every single step of the way with insurance. And as a courtesy, we will file that claim for you and you will be reimbursed directly by the insurance company and we are committed to helping you get every dollar that you can from the insurance company." So what that means for you is at the time of the visit, you're going to take care of the payment but we are going to process everything for you so you don't have to deal with the insurance company. So you let us do that and they're going to reimburse you directly. So I say that knowing that's not everyone's system. That's not how everyone works. And like I said, we customize all of our verbiage depending on the practices that we're working with at Dental Success Today. But just for the sake of this example, I'll tell you how the patient responds. Usually with some apprehension. They haven't been told this before. I'll be honest with you, there's a little bit of hesitation on the phone. I'm ready for this. I know it's coming. And this is where I jump right into, "Patient, I just got to tell you I know this is different than what you're used to at other practices. But all of our new patients that come over here say it's a very easy system and they're often with us for life. So we're very-- we do this system so we can focus on your care. Focus on dentistry here, and we're going to help you get every dollar that you're eligible for from your insurance company. How does that sound?" And so we're giving them that reassurance that you're not losing any money, you're still going to get every benefit that you are eligible for but we're not going to let this dictate the health of our patients. And this is where it gets really critical. So let's say this patient is willing to engage a little bit further and is asking more questions about the insurance. This is where it is our job to help educate our patients to understand that insurance is not all that helpful for people who are not healthy. And so this is where I've got a patient, let's say again, worst case scenario they are getting frustrated by this, they don't like this answer, it's not what they wanted to hear, and they seem like they're going to call elsewhere, I would let that patient know before they go, "I just want to let you know, if these insurance companies that are the problem, I want to prepare you that no matter where you call, no matter where you go, you're going to likely run into similar problems and you're not going to be reimbursed all that much from the insurance company. The better way to think of it is like a coupon toward getting healthy. Insurance is meant for healthy people. It's meant to maintain an already healthy state. So unless you're there, you got to think of insurance as a coupon that's going to help you get to a state of health. And I'm only sharing that with a patient because I do this all day. I'm in this industry for a while and a lot of patients are surprised to hear that, so I wanted you to have that information as you continue your search and please know that our door is always open and call back anytime you like if you have questions. We'd be happy to speak with you." And so as you walking them through this, again educating them in a helpful way of what the role of insurance should be in their decision making process. They're going to be disappointed if they have not been to the dentist in years, if they've got problems in their mouths and they're expecting their insurance to cover everything. They're going to be disappointed no matter where they go. So we want to preemptively let them know, "That should not be your number one factor. And here's all the other reasons why you should consider us over anyone else."
S1: 35:29Yeah, that's really great because obviously it's easy for them if they do their homework to find a practice that is a network, and that's just going to answer that question, "Yes," but that's not really the full answer to the question obviously, as you alluded. I mean yes, the fact is that those practices may be a network and take those insurance but they're still likely to be additional fees and costs involved in getting healthy which they would have had no matter where they went, right? So I think that that's really, really important and really neat that you're alluding to that now, which I think probably helps adults in authority with, in this case, obviously your practice or the practices you're working with kind of hopefully early on in the process. So Maegen--
S3: 36:10Absolutely.
S1: 36:12Sorry, go ahead.
S3: 36:14I was just going to say that to do a callback to the beginning of this podcast when I had mentioned that dentistry happens and it starts on the phone. So by already explaining to our patient how this works and how they should consider dentistry, I'm sorry, how they should consider insurance in dentistry, this is going to help with [case acceptance?] down the road. So we're already having this conversation with a patient now and we're repeating that message if we take them through the experience. When it comes time to the treatment presentation, they're not going to go in expecting insurance to now cover everything. So this is actually going to lead to bigger cases, more comprehensive work that's being accepted because we've got patients now who are educated and have a higher dental IQ about what to expect and what the role of insurance really is which quite frankly, is minimal in terms of how much they're going to help someone who is not in a healthy state. So it's a really great way where it's a bit of heavy lifting at the beginning of the patient experience on the--
S1: 37:13Sure.
S3: 37:13--phone call but let me tell you, it's worth it down the road once we get to to the treatment presentation.
S1: 37:17Yeah, absolutely. That makes perfect sense. So do you have any success stories Maegen, that you can maybe share either whether it's from your past of obviously implementing some of these strategies you've talked about on our podcast episode today, or maybe practices that you're working with now at Dental Success Today that have been transformed after implementing some of these tips as far as answering these questions on the phone?
S3: 37:43I do have a story actually, and this is I think everyone who's been in the industry has one or two patients in their mind where they really feel like we've done some life-changing work in this industry where this patient-- you can see the transformation that's happened and this was at our practice where we had a young lady, she had been through a pretty rough life. She was quite young. She was in her late thirties and she was a single mom. And she was working as a cashier in a restaurant. And she'd come in with not really any insurance quite frankly, in terms of what they were covering for her. So as far as right off the bat, we could have judged this patient. And it's not meant that we're bad people or anything like that, it's just given the facts, we've seen patients in this state before that a lot of times, it takes a bit of more education and time to get them on board. So anyway with this patient, had really bad-- no judgment in terms of how she got to this state by any means, but her mouth was bombed out. And so it was one of those cases where we gave her this fantastic new patient experience. And by the end of it she was in tears. She actually said to us that no one has treated her so kindly. Forget about dentists, no one had treated her so kindly in a very long time as we had with her. And it was something that we could see the impact it was having. Just to simply look someone in the eye and say, "I see you. I hear you. I am here to listen to what is going on with you and I'm all ears." People don't get that in this day and age. So fast forward with this patient. She couldn't afford the treatment. It was not possible for her in terms of the extensive work she needed. But we did not give up on her and we started to have more follow-up conversations and over some time, it did take some time with her, we finally worked something out with her and she went out on her own and took out a very big loan so she was able to completely restore her mouth properly. And I will not lie to you, it took time to get her there. It took persistence and it showed her through that persistence how much we believed in the treatment because we were walking the talk now. It's easy to say, "This is really important. You need to do this or your mouth is going to fall apart." But if no one ever follows up with you after that, it doesn't seem so important anymore. So we had our great team that was doing a lot of follow-up with her to make this successful and really help her see value in this. And so she went on her own and by seeing value in the treatment through our conversation, took out a loan, got her mouth restored and she is a different person. I mean, she walked in the room and she looked 20 years younger. She was glowing. She was always very shy before and now she talks to everyone when she comes in. And it was just a really beautiful experience. And I remember she commented to our treatment coordinator on her very first inpatient experience how much she liked her lipstick and it was a little conversation they had and our treatment coordinator made a note in her file. And so when we finally did the last appointment and she had her beautiful mouth restored, we presented that gift to her with that lipstick and a card signed by everyone and I mean it was just a beautiful memory that I'll never forget. I think our whole office was in tears seeing that happen and seeing that change and impact we had had on that patient. And every time she comes in, she's wearing that lipstick and she loves to point it out that she remembers that we gave that to her. So it's a nice story. I think about her all the time and she sort of that golden patient for me that I don't think I'll ever forget. When you really see the outcome of the work that we do in this industry. So just don't give up. See your patients as human beings. Give them that attention even if it means that we're having a busy day. That patient deserves it. And you just never know through that persistence when someone-- and who it's going to be. You never know when they're going to make that switch and finally decide to accept the treatment that's going to change their life.
S1: 41:48That's really, really neat. That's an awesome story. I really appreciate you sharing that. So Maegen, Jackie and I want to thank you so much for joining us on our podcast today. I know it's been terribly insightful for Jackie and myself and knowing that I'm sure our listeners are just going to get a ton of value out of all the great tips that you provided today. So thank you so much. If we have-- I'm sure a handful of our listeners are going to want some more information about how they can get in touch with you, they have additional questions or maybe if they want to talk about maybe not only you but how Dental Success Today can potentially help them in their practices, what's the best way for our listeners to get in touch with you Maegen?
S3: 42:25Oh, absolutely. I would love to hear from anyone directly. If anyone has any questions, they would like to hear more about this, the best way to get in touch with me is to email me directly. So my email is Maegen@dentalsuccesstoday.net, N-E-T. And just for some spelling because my first name is spelt a little bit uniquely. It's spelled, M-A-E-G-E-N, and again that's at dental success today dot net.
S1: 42:58Thank you so much, Maegen. We really appreciate it. We can't thank you enough for being on our podcast today. And I hope all of you guys got just a good amount of value out of our episode today. So thanks so much for listening.
S2: 43:09Thanks Maegen.
S3: 43:12Yeah, thank you Jackie and Sean. It's my pleasure truly.
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