Increasing case acceptance is high on every practice’s priority list; however, one factor that often gets overlooked is where the treatment and financial discussions take place. Let’s take a look at a common scenario: you deliver a clear and solid treatment plan and the patient demonstrates a strong interest in the treatment but in the end does not reserve an appointment. Instead, the patient’s response is, “Let me speak with my spouse and get back to you” or “I need to check my schedule first.” Does this sound familiar?
Patients often judge the quality of care they are receiving by the appearance of the office and their overall experience. A great experience means you are an awesome clinician in their minds. Patients rate that experience as great when they have felt heard, important and had uninterrupted time with the team member. While this seems like a tall order to achieve, simply using an area that is away from the front will help support these objectives. Many modern dental offices have a consultation room but ironically very few teams actually use it as originally intended. It may surprise you to hear that your consultation room is the most important one in the practice. Determining ROI on this room is simple; greater treatment acceptance translates into more revenue for the practice.
Treatment and financial discussions that occur in a safe and private environment build trust and encourage patients to openly communicate any barriers or challenges. Patients may feel uncomfortable and even embarrassed at the front desk to say they cannot afford the treatment, so it’s easier for them to give you the common “Let me get back to you” response. The fluster of activity happening up front when the phone is ringing and patients are checking in or out can be extremely distracting to both the patient and the team member. A private area lends itself better to a discussion where the patient does not feel rushed. It enhances a more personalized and educational experience that will set your practice apart.
Another benefit of the consultation room is the opportunity to educate patients. Since 83% of learning is done visually, this venue can include a larger screen and tutorials to help patients “see” as well as hear about their treatment needs and options. So how can your team develop or enhance their skills to help increase case acceptance? The process of engaging a patient in co-discovery needs to be practiced and practiced again. Roleplaying the scenario will help to gauge the team members’ comfort level and enhance their communication skills regarding your recommended treatment and financial options. Use the consultation room during your team training so everyone has an opportunity to practice in the “real” environment.
If you’re thinking about adding a consultation room, or making updates to an existing room, our office design team can help facilitate your design process. Visit our website for more information, and be sure to talk to your Patterson representative today.