Dental practice phone receptionists need to be prepared to prequalify dental implant treatment leads.
- Because doctors want to spend most of their time treating patients.
- Valuable time should not be spent in consultation with patients who are not serious about treatment or are unable to pay for or finance treatment.
Most callers inquiring about implant services are somewhat familiar with implant treatments.
- They have done research online,
- been referred by a dental professional, or
- been informed by family or friends.
They called you because of your messaging or reputation. Over the phone, your team members have the task of determining whether an implant treatment caller is a great or even good lead.
The 3 criteria of a great dental implant lead:
- The caller has a reasonable understanding of the treatment they want and what is involved.
- The caller can pay for or finance treatment.
- The caller is internally motivated to schedule a consultation.
All marketing messaging needs to be on point and aligned
You can pre-educate your leads through your website and landing pages that are linked to your social media and ad campaigns. Your online content needs to educate readers about:
- The several types of implant treatment you offer
- The circumstances in which each type can be done
- Considerations that go into treatment decisions
- The procedures commonly involved with each type
- The relative advantages and costs of alternative treatments
- Answers to frequently asked questions such as:
- How predictable are the results?
- What complications can occur?
- How long does treatment take?
- Can I be sedated?
- Treatment payment options and plans
- The expertise and experience of the doctor
- The latest technology you use to ensure precise results
Your Implant Services or Procedures pages, blog articles about the benefits of implants and frequently asked implant questions, and your “Paying for Your Implant Treatment” page should include these types of statements:
- You offer different implant treatment options, and these have different price points due to the implant components, chair time, and lab fees involved.
- Treatment fees are presented and payment options are offered before the patient accepts treatment.
- Many times, treatment procedures can be sequenced in affordable phases.
- You can help the patient apply for third-party financing and you can set up a multi-year payment plan.
Here’s a sample message from a highly successful Patient Prism client’s “Paying for Your Implant Treatment” website page:
We never want cost to stop you from achieving your oral health goals. We take the time to make sure you understand your treatment options, as well as the costs associated with each option.
We also specialize in phasing treatment at a pace that is financially comfortable for you. Although many of our patients opt for treatment that delivers immediate results, such as All-on-4 Implant Placement, we also have patients with a 2-year to 5-year plan to restore their full dental function with dental implants.
It is our job to find the right balance for each patient between treatment options and financial feasibility.
We work with the following lenders to help our patients secure financing that may make their treatment more fiscally comfortable: CareCredit and Citi Health Financing.
You may apply for a loan online prior to treatment. We will be happy to assist you in doing this while you are in our office reviewing your treatment plan and the associated fees with our expert patient coordinator.
Online info & live conversations need to be aligned
On an implant call, the caller is seeking information (often cost and the availability of an initial appointment). The receptionist is seeking to prequalify the lead for a consultation with the doctor. Thus, the receptionist needs to know:
- Answers to callers’ questions
- How to make each caller feel comfortable on the phone
- How to gather prequalifying information
- How to nurture relationships with leads without taking up practice resources inappropriately
Be prepared to answer frequently asked questions
If you have multiple team members answering the phone, all should be well informed on qualifying leads and at least one should know all your implant messages and ads backward and forward so when a question comes up, there is a “go-to” person to continue the call.
Follow Patient Prism’s best phone etiquette practices
To qualify a lead and to best help the caller, you need to build immediate rapport, which can be as simple as a friendly introduction, listening attentively and politely to hear the caller’s desires, needs, and concerns, and being empathetic, relevant, and helpful in how you respond. Tips for building rapport are in multiple downloadable Patient Prism resources.
Gather prequalifying information
Sometimes you will immediately hear everything you need to know to judge the quality of a lead, and other times you will need to prompt the caller to disclose that information. Remember, you want to know if the caller has some understanding about implant treatment, can afford or finance treatment, and if the caller is genuinely interested in scheduling an appointment to learn what treatments the doctor says are appropriate for their situation.
The ideal lead is a person who indicates they want to move forward. Said in another way, this person gives an indication that they are already invested in wanting implant treatment. It’s likely they have presold themselves on getting treatment but have some questions to ask and need to feel they have called the right place. Your assurances and enthusiasm for implant treatment will help these individuals decide they want to move forward with an initial appointment.
Because the cost of implant treatment is the most frequent obstacle in callers’ minds, the caller needs to feel they deserve this treatment. The caller needs to envision an improved life and smile that is well worth the investment. While you are gathering qualifying information and answering the caller’s questions, express how delighted your implant patients have been with their treatment and that your treatment coordinator has expertise in helping patients work out payment plans.
Does the caller have some understanding of implant treatments?
To prompt callers for information that gauges their level of understanding about implant treatment, you might want to say:
- “I’ll be happy to answer your questions, but it will help me to know a few things first. Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions? How did you hear about us? What prompted you to call us today? Have you had time to read the implant articles we have on our website?”
- “Are you interested in replacing a gap in your smile or are you interested in a full-arch solution?”
- “We provide multiple types of implant treatment. Have you read about the several types of implant treatment available today? Is there one you are most interested in?”
Keep in mind that many callers scan headlines, intend to do research, or do minimal research before responding to your ads. They may not have a good understanding of dental implant treatment. If you recognize this is the situation, the caller might not be “ready” to move ahead with an initial consult. Stay in the question long enough with the caller to evaluate whether the caller is a good implant lead you should encourage to schedule an appointment now or is someone you should nurture and follow up with on a call-back “strategy call.” Nurturing leads is discussed below.
Does the prospective patient have the means to pay for treatment?
To prompt callers for information that helps both them and you determine their ability to pay, you might want to say:
- “Our fees are competitive with others in our state. For example...”
- “I understand. Most patients are concerned about how they will pay for their treatment. We do have payment options…”
- “We can help you apply for CareCredit zero percent financing for a period that is based on your credit history. Would that make a difference to you in deciding to have treatment?”
- “It sounds like you really want a fixed denture and are concerned about what it could cost you. We might be able to set up a payment plan so you can have a much better quality of life than you do now. Do you have a particular budget you need to work within?”
Keep in mind that most people are concerned about the cost. Patients may come for an initial consultation and then say, “I have to think about it,” when the treatment coordinator presents the treatment fee(s). This does not mean they will not schedule treatment after digesting the cost of treatment and deciding how they will pay. Many times, they call back.
Because the front office and clinical team have already invested time in developing this lead, this is a good person to put on your list for nurturing with a check-in call in a week or two.
Does the caller indicate they are internally motivated to schedule the initial appointment?
You do not want to push callers, who are not “ready,” into scheduling an implant consultation appointment. They may not show. They might cancel. If the appointment is complimentary, they might inappropriately waste the doctor’s valuable time.
If someone is just kicking the tires and starting to imagine implant treatment as a possibility, they might say something that indicates they are in hesitancy mode. For example:
- “I’m just calling to find out about what implants cost. One of my friends mentioned them and I’ve seen TV ads about affordable implants.”
- “I’m not sure implant treatment is for me but I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering some questions for me.”
- “If I decide I want to do implants is this a good place to call? Okay…would it cost me anything just to find out if I can have implants and what they would cost?”
If someone is keenly interested in implant treatment and ready to move forward, he or she might say something like this:
- “My dentist recommended Dr. T for implant treatment. I have a gap in my smile and I’m ready to fix it. I like the idea of an implant instead of a bridge.”
- “I’ve been wearing a full denture for a couple of years and I am fed up with it. I think it would be worthwhile to get a fixed denture on implants. My friend did this and raves about Dr. T. She says you made it possible to pay for it over 12 months.”
- “I have so many bad and missing teeth that the dentist I saw recommended I talk to you about implant treatment possibilities. I’ve been wondering about the All-on-4 treatment you advertise. Maybe that would be good for me, and if I can’t afford that, maybe you have another treatment for someone like me. I’d like to get this over with and not worry about my teeth anymore.”
- “I’ve heard implant treatment is expensive but if I’m deciding between a new car and new teeth this year, I’m choosing teeth. I’m really interested in what Dr. T could do for me. When can I get an appointment?”
- “One of my molars broke off and can’t be crowned. I think my dentist’s office called you to let you know I would call. He recommended Dr. T to remove the tooth roots and talk to me about implant treatment. When is the soonest I can see Dr. T?”
- “I saw your ad, and I decided it’s time for me to get rid of my denture. I think I’m worth whatever it’s going to cost, and my friend said it would be affordable.”
Sometimes it isn’t easy to discern if a caller is leaning towards doing implant treatment. If they are or you think they might be, you can say something like one of the following:
- “It sounds like you are definitely interested in implant treatment and want to learn more about treatment for your particular oral health circumstances. Dr. T is in high demand but I do have an opening early tomorrow afternoon if you are ready to take a serious look into what implant treatment would be like for you. Can you come in at 1:30?”
- “It sounds like you are definitely interested in implant treatment and want to learn more about treatment for your particular oral health circumstances. The first step is to come in for a 30-minute consultation that includes a panoramic x-ray (or CBT scan). The way we do that here is to charge you a $50 fee upfront and then waive that fee if you decide to move forward with treatment in our office. I know you will love Dr. T. He’s so compassionate. Shall we schedule you to come in this week?”
Keep in mind that many leads, who are not “great leads” the first time they call you, could become great leads in the future with nurturing.
Nurture relationships with callers
Dental implant patients can take a long time to move forward, and you do not want to crowd your docket with patients who are not ready. Some callers will be just starting their inquiry into implant treatment and are apt to make numerous calls to multiple implant providers. From each conversation they have, they hope to glean more information and, perhaps, more motivation for treatment. They are in the process of feeling their way.
As they have conversations, they are likely to hear from multiple providers that the cost of their treatment cannot be known prior to a consultation and diagnostics. By doing online research, callers might see reported ranges of fees. By reading implant doctors’ websites, they will learn about implant terminology and procedures. They will become more comfortable talking about implant treatment and discerning their questions. They will become more comfortable thinking about financing their care. They will recognize the benefits of implants and begin committing to finding a way to afford the treatment they know will improve their lives.
Your front desk will stand out if they are always compassionately striving to help the caller move forward, and their tone of voice indicates they are friendly, well-informed, understanding, and happy to help.
On a call, it is okay for a receptionist to summarize a conversation that is not going to end in a booked appointment and say, “It sounds like you are in process with your thinking and not ready to schedule an appointment just yet, but would you mind if I give you a few suggestions about how to proceed?”
To nurture the relationship and impress upon the caller that they can call you back. You might say:
- “We’ve got multiple articles on our website about implant treatment and its benefits. I suggest you take time to read those pages because I think you will get a lot out of them.”
- “You can read about third-party financing with CareCredit at CareCredit.com. Even if you don’t come here, the doctor you choose will have financing like that, and reading about CareCredit will help you understand one of the ways many patients pay for their treatment over time.”
- “I am always here to answer your questions. Just call back and ask for ___________.”
- “When you get closer to wanting to move forward with treatment, we are here to help you. If you go elsewhere for a consultation and want a second opinion, we do those here, too.”
- “Would you mind terribly if I called you back someday to check on you and see what you are thinking? I’ve seen so many people’s lives transformed for the better that I like helping others get the great care we give our patients here.”
Schedule times to make nurturing “strategy calls” that help potential implant patients move forward with implant treatment. At Patient Prism, we call these “Re-Engage Lost Opportunity” or “RELO” calls.
Utilize Patient Prism to help you
The Patient Prism call tracking and coaching platform will automatically monitor and keep track of all calls that mention implant treatment.
Unique phone numbers on your implant ads will enable Patient Prism to track leads generated from specific ads.
If a caller does not schedule an appointment with you after talking about implant treatment, the call information is recorded and Patient Prism alerts you to a Re-Engage Lost Opportunity (RELO), so you can later call back and nurture the lead. And, if the lead becomes “ready,” you can convert that lead to an initial implant consultation.
Patient Prism users that do RELO callbacks typically increase general new patient conversion by 25 to 35%. In the case of implant callers, callbacks might not develop “qualified” leads at such a high rate. But you will be able to find leads who do become ready to move forward. Because these patients will be accepting high-value treatment, converting one or more new “qualified” implant patients a week will substantially increase practice revenue.
Patient Prism tracks and reports RELO call success and the estimated revenue for each scheduled new patient. Patient Prism users can log the actual revenue collected.
Patient Prism data will enable you to track and compare call performance and implant patient growth--week over week, month over month, year over year--in one location and across multiple locations in your group practice or dental support organization (DSO).
If you haven’t seen a demonstration of Patient Prism’s full call tracking and coaching capabilities and its robust analytics, you owe it to your practice to request a demonstration today!