6 reasons you need scripts (and tips to help you get the most out of them)
Developing well-thought-out scripts can do wonders for a practice, yet it’s a step many dentists skip. Some don’t think they’re worth the effort, while others never find the time to create them. No matter the reason, these practices are missing out on the many benefits scripts provide, from better-educated patients to a more confident staff. Scripts guide team members through even the most difficult conversations, helping them stay calm and on point. They keep messaging consistent, which builds trust—and that leads to patient loyalty and improved case acceptance. The benefits are endless, which is why I suggest you put developing scripts on your to-do list.
Still not convinced scripts can help you grow your practice? Here are six reasons your office needs scripts, along with advice to ensure you get the most out of them:
- Scripts help put team members at ease. Talking with patients over the phone can be a bit nerve-racking for team members, especially when they’re upset about a billing error or are past due on their account. Scripts put team members in control of the conversation. They don’t have to worry about how they’re going to answer new patient questions, or what to say when patients complain about lack of insurance coverage. It’s all right there in the script. Team members are more confident and less likely to stumble over their words, and that leads to more successful conversations.
- Scripts improve patient education. The more educated patients are, the more likely they are to accept treatment. Scripts help provide that education, making it easier for team members to talk about the benefits of the services the practice provides and why it’s so important for patients to maintain their oral health.
- Scripts lead to increased case acceptance. After the initial case presentation, most patients want to think about their options and to talk everything over with their spouse. When the Treatment Coordinator follows up two days later, having a script to guide the conversation ensures patients are reminded why going forward with treatment is so important—making them more likely to schedule before hanging up.
- Scripts grow practice production. Not only can scripts help the Treatment Coordinator get patients to say “yes” to treatment during follow-up calls, but they’re also a great tool for revamping the practice’s recall system. How you ask? I suggest you task a team member with calling and scheduling a specific number of past due to patients every day. If that team member has the proper training and is armed with a solid script, it won’t be long before you see familiar faces back in the chair and practice production beginning to rise.
- Scripts lead to more new patients. If new patient numbers are down in your practice, it could be because team members haven’t been trained to properly handle first-time callers. Scripts help ensure they can answer common new patient questions, and that they don’t put up barriers by saying “no” to a request or telling potential patients “sorry, we can’t do that.” With scripts, these calls will go more smoothly, leading to an increase in new patients on the schedule.
- Scripts keep messaging consistent. When patients hear one message from the hygienist and something completely different from the assistant, it doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the practice. When you use scripts, patients receive the same education and marketing messages from all team members, telling them everyone is on the same page.
A few tips OK, now that I’ve convinced you it’s time to develop scripts, you’re probably wondering how you can get the most out of them. I suggest you start by scheduling a time for team members to read through them together. This exercise will help team members feel comfortable with the new scripts, which will, in turn, make them more effective when interacting with patients. Even though they’ll be referring to scripts, it’s also important to remind team members to keep conversations natural. Remember, patients don’t want to talk to a robot. To get the best results, team members should smile when they talk, speak clearly and always remember it isn’t just about what they have to say. They should listen to patients and their concerns, then personalize the conversation to their situation. Developing scripts will help make team members more confident and comfortable when talking with patients, improving practice messaging and leading to improved case acceptance. Scripts are well worth any time and effort put in, and will lead to higher practice production numbers and a more robust bottom line.
Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nation-wide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dental Billing Tips and News for Pros; Edition #134