This task is critical to the health of our clients and the economic success of our practice. Be sure to give the highest priority to scheduling these clients as soon as possible. Spend whatever time is needed to win these clients back. These people already have chosen us once. It’s much easier to win them back than to generate a new client. Here are the statistics adapted from Customer Win.
If they have payment concerns, refer them to our upper level team members.
Each week a report “Unscheduled Treatment Plans” is generated. Take pride in keeping this report short.
Unscheduled Treatment Plan List
Weekly, we run a list of people who have been seen in the last week, had treatment recommended and entered into the computer but have not had that treatment completed. It is our responsibility to follow up no more than three times with a person who has had treatment recommended to answer any questions they may have and offer to schedule their appointment. We work this list weekly. All calls are expected to be completed within one month.
To run the unscheduled treatment report in Dentrix:
To run the unscheduled treatment report in EagleSoft:
Example: on Tues. Sept. 25th, print report for Tues. Sept. 18th-Mon. Sept. 24th.
Once you have the report, go through the computer file for each and look for:
If you have a large team, you may want to take these names and retype them into Excel – that way, you can type the admin staff person’s name beside the patients she checked out. Its helpful for the same person who checked out the patient to be the one to call and follow up.
Your excel spreadsheet could include:
On your Unscheduled Treatment report, you will run across treatment that has been sent out for a PTE (Pre-Treatment Estimate). You can add a separate table to your excel spreadsheet to keep track of the PTEs and make sure the patient gets a follow up call once we receive this back from the insurance company.
Your PTE table could include:
When we receive a PTE (pretreatment estimate) _______________ will enter the results into the computer and put the PTE ________________. Pass out this excel sheet along with any PTE’s to each front desk staff person that is listed. It is her responsibility to review the charts to start making follow up phone calls.
Before making any calls:
Make sure you understand who this client is. The client is not “Mrs. Crown on #19.” She is a person who has been coming to us for ____years, who enjoys ____, and like to ____.
When calling it is best to speak to the patient, if the patient is not available leave a message on the answering machine or with a family member. Make the two phone call attempts at different times of the day and different phone numbers if possible.
“Hi, this is Jill from from HealthPark Dentistry. I’m calling to follow up on (type of uncompleted treatment) that was diagnosed by Dr.___________ at your visit on ___________. Do you have any questions about the treatment or the cost for this visit? (If no . . .) Great! Then, I have time on ________ at _________, how does that work for you?
If yes – then answer their questions and again, offer a date/time to schedule.
If you call different numbers at different times and still end up with voicemail, then send a letter or email to follow up. Note all calls, emails and letters sent and results in the patient’s clinical notes. Give the doctor a list of patients and their charts that did not schedule – that way, the dentist can call certain patients personally. Expect to make a total of 3 attempts, approximately 3 days apart to help each client accept treatment.
Cover Page for Unscheduled Treatment Weekly Report:
Unscheduled Treatment Plans for the week of _______________________
______ Total Patients on list
______ Already scheduled
______ Calls / Emails made (B)
______ Scheduled (A)
______ % Success (= A / B)
To print a blank copy of this cover page: Tx plans cover sheet
Sample letters for unscheduled treatment
For a patient who needs a comprehensive exam:
At your visit on April 29th, Dr. Pierson did a clinical exam and extracted a tooth for you. According to our records, this makes 4 upper teeth and 2 lower teeth that are missing from your smile right now.
Dr. Pierson recommended you come back for a comprehensive exam and full series of xrays so that you can make a plan for the future of your teeth. Either way, whether you plan to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime or you are planning on dentures, Dr. Pierson can help you so that you can avoid being in pain.
You are always welcome to come in when you’re in an emergency, but we would be happy to help you manage your teeth the way you want instead of waiting until you’re hurting. The best way to manage this is to spend about an hour with Dr. Pierson for this comprehensive exam.
Just call anytime and we’ll be happy to get you in the schedule. In fact, Dr. Pierson works Tuesday & Thursday evenings until 7pm plus some Saturday mornings if these times help you to get this visit accomplished.
I look forward to hearing from you to schedule this appointment.
Letter for patients who simply do not return our calls
At your cleaning on March 15th, Dr. Pierson recommended a two surface silver filling on your bottom right molar. I can see that you’ve been a regular patient for just over 5 years – and this is the first repair on a tooth you’ve had in all that time. Congratulations on staying healthy for 5 years!
I also see that you missed your last appointment to get this tooth taken care of. I left you a message last week to offer you an opening in our schedule, but I missed you.
I would like to help you keep up your healthy streak by getting this tooth repaired before the infection gets into the nerve of the tooth and causes you any pain. Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific day/time you would like – or we are available to schedule appointments from 7:45am – 7:00pm Monday – Thursday and 7:45am – 5:00pm on Friday plus 8:00am – noon on Saturdays. Just call anytime and we’ll be happy to get you in the schedule.
I also see you asked us to send a pre-treatment estimate to your insurance, looks like this full $181 will go towards your deductible. Might as well get this done early in the year so that if anything else comes up this calendar year, you’ve got your deductible taken care of.
Again, congratulations on staying dentally-healthy – did you know you’re in our top group for dental health? That means you have saved the most money & time possible by taking great care of your teeth!
I look forward to hearing from you to schedule this appointment & keeping you in great dental health.
Letter for patients who say they have money concerns
Just last week, Dr. Pierson recommended a full lower denture and three extractions so that we can remove the infected teeth from your mouth and replace your missing teeth.
You said that you were concerned with the cost of this treatment plan and wanted to talk it over with your husband. I called you last week, but since I didn’t hear from you, I thought I would send you some information regarding options for financial arrangements.
Your total treatment plan costs $2,060 and we estimate your insurance to cover $1,042. This leaves your portion at $1,018. You have several ways to take care of this amount.
6 months no interest program – If you can afford $170/month then you can get a revolving line of credit through Care Credit with no interest.
12 months no interest program – Or, if you need more time, the 12 month program brings your monthly payment down to $85/month.
48 months loan with 10% interest – To lower your payment even more, you can apply for a health care specific loan through Universal One Credit Union. This would bring your payment down to $22/month plus 10% interest.
Any of these three options allow you to get your treatment completed right away.
If you are concerned about being approved for these financing programs, then you are welcome to make payments to us directly. You choose the payment amount – for example, $100/month. We handle this type of payment arrangement just like layaway – you will build up a credit in your account and when 2/3rds of your treatment is paid for, then you can schedule the treatment and continue paying it as you go.
As you can see, we have several ways you can work dentistry into your budget. I know you were concerned about the infection in your mouth and didn’t want to risk getting another toothache, so please give me a call directly and I would be happy to set up the financial arrangement that makes the most sense to you. We can set all of these programs up over the phone, so just call!
Thanks for taking the time.
Letter for sealants
At Austin’s visit on April 26, Dr. Mason recommended sealants on his molars. I can see that you’ve been a regular patient for just over 10 years – and we would love to get you scheduled to continue your dental care! Keep in mind that this treatment will be under warranty for three years with your regular recommended cleanings – which means no fee for you if any of these sealants pop off!
I would like to help you keep up your healthy streak by getting this treatment done to fully protect Austin’s teeth. Feel free to email me directly at email@example.com if you have a specific day/time you would like – or we are available to schedule appointments from 7:45 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 7:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Friday plus 8:00 a.m. – noon on Saturdays. Just call anytime and we’ll be happy to get you in the schedule.
Again, congratulations on staying dentally healthy – did you know you’re in our top group for dental health? That means you have saved the most money and time possible by taking great care of your teeth!
I look forward to hearing from you to schedule this appointment and keeping you in great dental health.
Email for patients with tx plans over $1,000 – or were dental emergencies
Dear First Name,
At your visit on (month, day), I recommended a treatment plan to (primary concern), so you can avoid future repairs and replace your missing teeth. (Tx coordinator name) discussed financial arrangements and your next appointment for ________________________.
I’m concerned that I haven’t been able to reach you after several attempts. When this happens it almost always is that I either didn’t give you a plan that you were comfortable with, or the cost was too much. I would be happy to sit down and discuss any additional concerns you have to create a new plan that more closely meets your needs or to discuss other ways to make your treatment more financially possible.
If we don’t solve your current dental problems, they will only get worse and lead to (describe what worsening of client’s main concerns would lead to).
Here is a video (insert link) that discusses how one of our patients put off dentistry for over 20 years before he gave us a call. We can serve you as well as we served Randy! He was so pleased, he made this video and wanted everyone in his shoes to see it.
When you’re ready to schedule, we can make your appointments convenient because we are open from 7:45am – 7:00pm Monday – Thursday and 7:45am – 5:00pm on Friday plus 8:00am – noon on Saturdays. Just call anytime and we’ll be happy to get you in the schedule.
I look forward to hearing from you to schedule this appointment & keeping you in great dental health.
Signed by the Dentist
Letter to follow up on PTE
Here is a copy of the insurance estimate on the treatment you discussed with Dr. Smith. It is wonderful that your insurance company plans to pay $ of the total estimated cost for your treatment of $ . Please give us a call to set up your appointment.
If I do not hear from you before, I will call you in a week to answer any questions and arrange your next appointment. I will look forward to talking to you soon.
We print this recall list in Excel each month. You are responsible to call from this list and complete your calls within the month. This list is used to schedule our patients that did not schedule a recall (cleaning) appointment when they received our email and postcard in the mail for the current month. Your responsibility is to call & get them scheduled. Your goal is to schedule at least 65% of your list.
To run this list in EagleSoft:
To see how successful your recall system is before you work the list – run the same instructions as above for steps 1 – 4 then:
5. Checkmark the first block “Patients with scheduled preventive appointment” Enter the dates for the month. Leave “AND” in the last box. Click Next.
6. Leave at the following defaults: Method: I want to print to paper; Summary report; Sort by Next recall date; and make sure the correct printer is selected. Checkmark Preview Recalls before you Print. Click Finish.
7. This brings up a list of patients. You can see the total number of patients on the list – if you are tracking your recall success, make a note of this number. Do not print.
To calculate your success:
____ # patients with scheduled preventive appointments
____ # patients without scheduled preventive appointments
Add these together to find the Total patients due for the month
____ Total patients due for the month
____ % patients scheduled (Take the number of scheduled appointments / Total)
Your script for this call is:
“Hi, this is Jill with HealthPark Dentistry. I’m showing you’re due for your dental cleaning, exam and oral cancer screening and I’m calling to get that scheduled for you. How is Thursday at 11am for you?”
Your script for leaving a message is:
“Hi, this is Jill with HealthPark Dentistry. I’m showing you’re due for your dental cleaning, exam and oral cancer screening and I’m calling to get that scheduled for you. Please call me back at 667-2417.”
You only have about 15 seconds to make your point and get your client to make an appointment.
To work this list:
Using the day box for patient follow up, make a note on an index card and put it into the month and day that follow up needs to occur. For example, a patient you called to schedule their recall or unscheduled tx may have told you they want called back in three months. So you don’t forget to follow up with this patient, a day box note should be made.
To get checked off on this section, you need to make sure that all patient follow up is occurring regularly, that the day box and all lists are being worked and are up to date and that all team members (especially level 1) are following the follow up system – for one month.
Team Leader Signature Date
Communication Skills Development
From now on, you will develop more skills as a patient communicator. Many large companies give their communicators from 2 weeks to 2 months training before they are allowed to work with clients. This section, the support of your team members and a sense of humor is what we have for you! The more you develop and polish these skills, the easier your job will be. Good telephone communicators have the following characteristics: outgoing, bright, poised, curious, good listeners, quick thinkers, even tempered, personable, enthusiastic, good clinical knowledge and confident in doctor’s ability. Remember, even if it’s been a couple years since the clients were in, they usually still believe they are our clients.
Some other reasons to work on reactivation are:
One of the true tests of a communicator is to motivate overdue clients to return to the practice. It is 2‑3 times harder to motivate a new client to enter our practice than to keep an existing client in the practice. Our goal should be long-term relationships ‑ clients for life. This task is also in level 2. You will take over this task since it’s extremely important to our success.
Every month the secretaries will purge a portion of our client files. 68% of clients go to another dentist when they aren’t contacted regularly. Here is a list of reasons clients leave us:
Didn’t spend enough time 51%
Didn’t answer questions completely 40%
Treatment didn’t work 38%
Wasn’t knowledgeable and competent 37%
Didn’t explain problems simply 30%
Wasn’t up to date 29%
Didn’t treat you with respect 27%
Wasn’t always available when needed 27%
Fees weren’t reasonable 25%
Refused to accept second opinion 10%
As you know, the best way to communicate with someone is face to face second is telephone, and third is a letter or email. Your second task is even more important. Find out why they left us. Your skill at finding where we failed will be a major source for our continuous improvement. Make a list of our failures. Your team leader will review the cover sheet of why patients did not schedule. This information will be used by the team leaders to strengthen our practice.
Determine the status of our “lost” client. The possibilities are:
The reasons a client can give are related to:
Your call has two objectives
1. Make sure the client wants to leave us not that we’ve abandoned the client.
2. Keep educating and showing our care and concern.
a. Past due hygiene ‑ make cleaning appointment
b. Unfinished treatment
1. Overdue for prophy
2. Not overdue for prophy
a. Schedule for prophy
b. Hesitation by client ‑ offer staff exam time to reevaluate
a. A slight sense of urgency
b. Have a benefit
1. Show off how well you’re doing
2. Polish your presentation so you’ll be more comfortable
3. Problem solve ‑ find new answers to objections, etc.
4. Hear how you sound ‑ courteous, concerned, etc.
5. Effectiveness in dialogue with clients
This scripting is similar to our telephone-screening interview during the hiring process. It is more difficult. You’ll have to think quickly. Now here’s your chance to practice your communication skills.
Anyone requesting an after 4 or Saturday cleaning appointment will be placed on our “primetime” waiting list. Treatment with a dentist does not go on the Primetime list. Neither do any new patients.
“We have more than 25 evening and Saturday appointments every week, but due to the popularity of these hours we have established a waiting list. Right now there are approximately ____# people ahead of you for those times. We do have ___ or ____ (alternate times) during the day if either of those times would be convenient or if you like I can add you to the list.”
If yes, verify phone # and desired times. Add to the “Primetime” list located in metal basket at the front desk and add required information to the end of the list. Make a G note in the patient’s ledger that you have added their name to the Primetime list.
Use this list daily as new time opens up.
Note appropriate follow up when contact was made
*Left message answering machine
*Spoke w/member of family
*Spoke with person to be sched
Delete person from list when appointment has been made.
Objections to Reactivation
“I’m glad you brought that up.”
“That’s a good point.”
“I can understand your concern.”
“I’m sorry you’ve had problems with us.”
restate the objection
“So you feel….”
1. You don’t have time for ____________
2. Can’t afford _______________________
3. Don’t feel it’s necessary to _______
4. “I want to think it over.”
5. I don’t want to do ________ right now
Now you have a choice – Thank the client for their honesty and tell them Jill will contact them to solve the problem or if you are comfortable, go ahead and resolve the problem yourself.
What would you like for us to do?
Offer a new benefit to counter the objection
1. Money ‑ We’ll make payment arrangements, waive a particular fee
2. Fear ‑ We’ll let the doctor know and be very careful
3. Time ‑ Less now than to repair later
4. Understanding ‑ Listen, answer appropriately
Now your client has 3 choices
If our client has switched dentists don’t automatically assume we upset the client.
Other possibilities are:
1. The client married and switched to the spouses dentist to keep harmony in the family.
2. A relative or friend has become a dentist and the client feels obligated to change.
3. The insurance changed and the patient is trying to stay in network
If the client is unhappy, you can say “I’m sorry we didn’t provide you with the care that you wanted. Would you help us by telling me what we could do to improve our care?”
If the client says “no,” then say:
“Would you like me to contact you next month for that appointment or would you prefer to contact us?
If the client chooses not to make an appointment, make sure they aren’t dissatisfied with us.
“Mrs. Boring, I’m concerned. Is there something we’ve done or should have done that has upset you?”
If yes, ask the following questions and try to solve these problems. Alert the dentists.
1. Overall, how would you rate the quality of care you received
2. How would you rate Dr. __________ on his
c. Level of skill
d. Concern for you problems
3. If we should have done one thing better what would it be?
Do you feel comfortable in receiving services from Dr. _______ in the future? (If yes) Would you like to schedule an appointment now?
To be most effective, alter your response to match the personality of the person you call.
direct/natural efficient, pleasant, professional
pleasant/outgoing friendly, some small talk
insecure, anxious nurturing, reassuring
confused, uncertain patient, caring, clarifying
angry empathetic listening ‑ refer to trained secretary
emergency, panic equal sense of urgency ‑ quick action
skeptical, cynical knowledgeable, professional
Many of these calls will be failures. Be sure to stress two attitudes:
1. We’re still thinking about them
2. You’re concerned about their health
3. They are welcome to return to our practice anytime they want
If someone answers, say: “May I speak to ___________? She isn’t? Is there a better time to reach her? Thank you, I’ll try to reach ___________ then.”
Score Card for Reactivation of Clients
Reactivation of Clients ‑ goal: 15% outstanding, 12% good, 10% okay
|Month||#Clients on list||Clients contacted||Appt made||% reactivated|
Team leader Date
To complete this level, you must be able to fill the schedule.
You must average these %’s in a quarter before you can pass this level.
As part of this level, you are responsible for sending a letter to all of our patients that have dental benefits and treatment plans – we send this in October of each year with the hope of filling schedules for the end of the year.
Instructions to create & print the 4th Quarter patient letter for patients with dental benefits and treatment plans:
This report & letter may be saved in Quick letters in Misc. Treatment Plan Reminder.
The filters for this report include:
It is a good idea to review this patient list to check the dentrix treatment plans. Once, when we sent this letter we had some problems with folks only needing an x-ray, that had actually been completed.
The letter itself, reads:
When we reviewed our records, we found that you have some treatment that we recommended that hasn’t been completed. Last year some of our patients waited until December to call us to make use of their dental insurance benefits. We did our best to help, but we couldn’t get everyone’s treatment completed by the end of the year.
If you would like to complete your treatment that we discussed, please call us as early in November as possible so you can use your benefit on days and times that are convenient for you.
P.S. According to our records you have over $250.00 of benefits that you will lose on December 31st.