Posts

An Old Nissan, Five Dollars and Your Dental Practice

“Here’s the scoop,” writes futurist, marketer, speaker, CMO and frequent blogger Greg Verdino in a post at his blog. “I drive a Nissan Altima and I’ve been reasonably happy with it. It’s neither the best car I’ve ever owned nor the worst, but I’m not a car guy so if it gets me from point A to point B safely without costing me an arm and a leg in gas money I’m satisfied. The Altima more than fits the bill.”

This may not be the world’s greatest endorsement, but it is most likely representative of how many Nissan owners feel about their cars – it’s not amazing but it certainly works well. Like it or not, this also may be how many (or most) of your patients feel about your practice. Let’s keep going here.

One morning Greg realized that his $315 lease payment was due THAT DAY! “Luckily,” he recalled, “Nissan offers an online payment option—so I logged onto their site and authorized an electronic deduction from my checking account.” The catch? Nissan charged a $5 fee for the convenience, and even more for using a credit card.

Here is Verdino’s take on the situation.

“In terms of dollars and cents this charge may be smart business. But in terms of perception and sense, I’m not so sure. Like I said, I’m a pretty happy Nissan driver but this morning I’m pretty annoyed with Nissan as a company. Even a minor inconvenience (in the form, ironically, of a convenience charge) takes its toll on how I feel about the brand itself and my experience as a customer. So much so that I’d not consider trading in and trading up to another Nissan when the time comes? Maybe. I’m not sure. But if that were to happen, wouldn’t the lifetime cost to the company (in the form of lost opportunity and lost business) outweigh the near term $5 windfall?”

Customers (and patients) expect to be rewarded for doing things right – not penalized. Nissan’s accounting department made a decision that the customer service department may feel is horrible! The explanation? What is comes down to is basically – “Sorry – that’s our policy!”

So how about your dental office? Do you have any procedures or policies that may make sense financially or even clinically – but could be turning off your patients?

Here’s a classic. Say this loudly in your best snooty tone.

“In OUR office, no new patients can get a cleaning on their first visit. They must be examined by the doctor and then reappointed.”

Is that the ideal way to do it from a purely clinical standpoint? Most likely. But how about from the potential new patient’s perception of how they would like to be treated? Is it convenient for them? Does it make sense? Is it making them jump through an unnecessary hoop to become a patient in your practice? Absolutely!

How many policies or standards do you have that may be 100% correct but are turning off your current patients or cutting off new patient flow? Probably more than you think! Even something that appears to be a nice service (i.e. offering “in-house” financing) can turn patients off when it comes time to make that collection call – and they most likely will stop coming in and certainly won’t refer their friends.

So take a few hours to brainstorm with your team things that you are doing, big or small, that may be “right” theoretically but in practical terms are turning off your patients. Remember – next time you see Greg Verdino he will be driving a Toyota!!

Special treat: If you are not seeing as many new patients as you would like – chances are you are doing many of the same things that Nissan did to Greg. Our new program will help you figure out how to eliminate them and increase your production like crazy! Check it out by clicking here!

SHORT WEEK? LOWER YOUR OVERHEAD!

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means so many things – sweet potato pie, the chance to say “pass the stuffing” with a straight face, playing football on the lawn like The Kennedys, crashing on the couch in an L-tryptophan haze, being with friends and family – and if you are a dentist, complaining about all of the revenue being lost due to a three day work week.

Well now you can take that well deserved break knowing that even though your production may be down due to the holiday you are also taking steps to lower your overhead immediately AND in the upcoming years as well!!

Two of the biggest overhead items in the dental office are wasted chair time (i.e. spending chair time on non-productive procedures) and lab costs. So what would happen if your crowns popped right in with very few adjustments or remakes necessary AND your lab bill was lowered at the same time? Obviously there would be a big chunk taken out of your overhead. But let’s face it – sometimes we reach a certain comfort level with our lab and are willing to put up with them because it is easier than switching. It takes a lot to get a dentist to switch a lab – maybe getting sent the wrong denture (“Wow – I’ve been adjusting this thing forever and it still isn’t close!”), not getting cases back on time, having little insects included in the lab box, and the like.

Over the last three years we have researched hundreds of labs, interviewed the owners and even performed site visits, all in order to answer the question – “Can you guys recommend a great lab?” And wow did we find a winner! As a matter of fact we were so impressed with Maverick Dental Lab that we actually teamed up with them! Why? Because we wanted to offer a fantastic high quality lab with unmatchable customer service owned by ethical caring people – and give you incredibly low prices!

The fact is, sometimes we tolerate mediocrity in a lab because it is just easier than switching, or maybe we don’t really know where else to go. That’s why we are going to make you an offer that is impossible to refuse! Try Maverick Lab this week and cut your overhead even more by getting THREE FREE CROWNS! This is an unbelievable opportunity to make your practice better and cut your overhead at the same time!

Think about it – how much better would your life be with better fitting crowns AND a lower overhead? Why wait? Check out our offer of three free crowns before you do your next impression! Just click here or call 1-866-318-6624. Now you can enjoy your Thanksgiving more with fewer remakes, lower lab bills, and three free crowns!!

By the way, to lower your overhead even more, be sure to ask Maverick about fantastic prices on top quality burs! Why pay retail if you don’t have to? Call 1-866-318-6624 now!!

A Great Way to Collect Your Money Before the Year is Over!

If your dental practice is like many others, chances are you have quite a bit of outstanding money owed to you. It’s a simple fact, many patients are finding it very difficult to pay the dentist on time when they have so many other bills to pay. Although these are some of the toughest financial times we have seen, you are still running a business, which means you have your own expenses that must be paid in order to keep the business going.

To complicate things a little more, now that we are getting into the holiday season, you do not want to see your patients spending the money that they owe you on holiday gifts. That would definitely be a very dangerous situation!

Most accountants and practice management experts would tell you that as a debt ages, it becomes virtually worthless. If that is the case, wouldn’t it make sense to collect 90% of all of the money that is owed to you right now, as opposed to taking a chance at never seeing it again and having to write it off?

Here is an idea for you. Compose a letter to your patients that have overdue money on the books letting them know you would like to extend them a courtesy due to the tough economic times that we are all experiencing. Go on to tell them that they may deduct 10% from their entire bill if they pay everything in full before November 30.

Let’s face it, your patients do not want to owe you money. And if given an incentive such as this, many of them will want to settle up (before they hit the malls!). This could mean a lot of money coming into your practice this month!

One lesson we would like you to take with you for the future is that starting now, you should no longer act as a bank! Please let the professionals, such as CareCredit take care of your patient financing. Do not do it yourself or you may get into a situation that is very tough to get out of! No more in office “payment plans!”

One more thing… if you have any patients that have become nearly impossible to collect from, you may want to consider a form that has been working particularly well in this economy. Click HERE for more info on this.

Is Your Dental Practice Drying Up?

Did you know that over 1800 drugs, both prescription and over the counter, can cause dry mouth in your patients, including 8 of the 10 most frequently used medications? The list seems to be endless, but includes:

Antacids such as Prilosec and Prevacid
Antianxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium
Antidepressants such as Zoloft and Celexa
Antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec
Anti-hypertensives such as Norvasc
Anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin and Naprosyn (Alleve)
Cholesterol reducing drugs such as Lipitor
Hormone replacement therapy (Premarin)

And the list goes on. Even diarrhea medication such as Immodium AD can cause dry mouth! (Guess it dries out everything!!) It seems that practically every prescription or OTC med has dry mouth as a side effect.

So, as part of your health history, be sure to ask about prescription AND non-prescription drugs. Many patients believe it is not necessary to inform you about over-the-counter medication they may be taking, but that simply isn’t true.

If your patients are taking any of these medications (or any of the over 1800 that list dry mouth as a side effect) it may be a good idea to make in-office fluoride a part of their hygiene visit. Besides protecting your patients’ dental health and saving you some headaches (root caries are a bitch to restore!!), you will also add to your production!

Recently we did an interview with Anastasia Turchetta, RDH, where she gave twenty productive and educational facts for your dental practice such as this one. Many of them had to do with tips for dealing with our aging population along with other things that will help your practice AND bottom line! It was a fantastic eye-opening session, and part of our monthly Madow Brothers Audio Series. Recent interviewees have included Dr. Roger Levin, Dr. Marty Goldstein, Dr. Ross Nash, Dr. Howard Farran, and many more! To check it out and get two CD interviews absolutely free, click here! It’s the best way to get fantastic continuing education without leaving home!