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August 2020--This video is a sample of what your receptionists are dealing with all day long. Patient Prism records thousands of calls each day, and when the caller inquires about high value services such as dental implants and is not booked, our system quickly sends out a text alert. A call back by a prepared Front Desk team member, patient coordinator, dentist, or specialist usually results in 30% conversion.


If you listen to the call in this video, you will hear a lack of enthusiasm in the voice of the receptionist. You will hear dead space in the conversation and a lack of momentum to interest the caller in booking the appointment. Red highlighted sections with comments show seconds when the conversation was lagging and in need of something else.

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An Ideal Conversation

As a dental call coach, there are a lot of things I would love to hear communicated when a caller inquires about high value restorative and cosmetic dental services such as dental implants.

  1. I would love to hear a warm and cheerful voice making an immediate connection with the caller by thanking him for calling, asking his name, and using his name.
  2. As soon as implants are mentioned, I would love to hear the receptionist say without hesitation:

    1. Mike, you made the right choice by calling here about implants.
    2. Smiles does everything right here in our office and our patients don’t have to go elsewhere to a specialist.
    3. Everyone who has had implant treatment tells us they wish they had done it sooner. They love the results. You know, full comfort, no slippage, strong biting and chewing, a naturally beautiful smile.
    4. And you will love Dr. Smiles. You will have a free initial evaluation and consultation to learn what type of implant options are right for you and about the payment options that would be best for you to consider.
    5. I understand you are concerned about the cost. Everyone who calls about implants has so many questions and everyone’s oral health situation is different, so it’s best to have Dr. Smiles meet with you and explain what implant treatment would look like for you,
    6. Then you will have the right information you need to decide if you want the treatment.
    7. The initial visit is completely free, and you will get to hear first-hand from Dr. Smiles the relative advantages of the different types of treatment for your situation and why specific treatment is recommended for your situation.
    8. I’d love to get you in right away. Could you come in at 8:00 am some morning this week?


When the Caller Keeps Pushing for the Fee

When the caller asks directly for the fee, the tendency of untrained Front Desk team members is to simply quote a range of fees for the desired service. This often fails miserably in engaging the potential patient. We see lost opportunities like this in call records every day across the nation.

The conversation needs to be framed in the context of the value provided and accessibility. I would coach the Front Desk to do this.

  1. Build Value for the Dentist: Only the dentist will know the correct treatment based on diagnosis that only the dentist can provide. A good response would be:

    “Would you mind if I tell you a little more about what you want to know? First, Dr. Smiles is an amazing expert with lots of experience in implant treatment. That’s why we perform all dental implant related procedures here in our office, using the latest in equipment and methods. Dr. Smiles also loves helping people have better lives. Patients love him.”
  2. Communicate Dental Implant Treatment Comes in Multiple Forms: In this video of a recorded implant call, the receptionist tries to do this, but it could have been framed in a more positive manner. The receptionist’s voice sounds fatigued from having to respond to the cost question repeatedly with callers. Here’s a possible response:

    “Dr. Smiles strives to make dental implant treatment affordable for patients because it is life transforming. That’s why we do various cost levels of implant treatment in our office. The highest quality materials and methods are used, but there are different types of implant treatment, ranging from implant crowns, bridges and dentures that snap on and off implants to fully fixed, full arch dentures. Oftentimes, Dr. Smiles can take an existing denture and refit it for snapping on one or more implants. Only the doctor is going to know what is possible for you after doing a free evaluation of your oral health circumstances, but you will find this one-on-one time with Dr. Smiles gets to the bottom of your questions accurately. It will be really assuring to know you have the right information to consider and not what little I can tell you over the phone. Let’s get you scheduled!”
  3. Help Patient Envision How to Afford Implant Treatment: What if the caller still hesitates to book or responds by asking about fees and payment options? The caller has likely been reading about implant treatment and the costs of implant treatment on the Web. The caller may have already called other dental practices asking about fees and may have concern they will never find a place they can afford. But the caller called your practice for a reason.

    This caller is predisposed to have treatment. This caller desires treatment. But this caller is concerned about the cost. It could be this caller just needs some time to adjust to what implant treatment realistically costs and think through how they will pay for it… the “sticker shock” syndrome. So, you now need to do two things. You need to keep the conversation going by expressing empathy and encouragement. You need to tell a tiny story, like the one in italics below, so the caller envisions a way to afford treatment.

    I would coach the Front Desk to say in their own words:

    1. Concern about cost gets in the way of many people having the treatment they deserve. I understand your concern. So, let me help you out by telling you more about what I do know.
    2. Implant treatment ranges anywhere from $3,000 for a single tooth replacement (all inclusive) and up to $27,000 for a full arch, fixed denture (all inclusive). But only Dr. Smiles will know what treatment would look like for you and the actual cost involved. Sometimes bone grafting is needed, so that is a factor in that total cost, but it isn’t always needed. And remember, I mentioned that snap on implant dentures cost less than fixed implant dentures, and even a current denture might be used to lower the cost.
    3. I can promise you that when Dr. Smiles figures out what the cost would be, you will be the first to know and you will not be under any pressure to have the treatment. We will work with you to help you afford the treatment you want.
    4. We have many patients who are paying interest free loans from Care Credit on 24-month terms. If you have dental insurance, a portion might be covered by that. We have some patients who defer a vacation to make a down payment and then finance the rest. Dr. Smiles even offers a 5% discount for upfront full payment at the time treatment begins. I just had a conversation with a patient this week who said she is really happy she made the investment in herself. She loves her new smile and ability to enjoy life.
    5. Our financial coordinator will go over all the payment options with you during your initial free visit. The good news is that we have found ways to help our patients have the treatment they want and need. And it is worth your while to come in and find out what is possible for you and then you can decide.
    6. Hey, I really like talking with you. I’d like to help you. So, let’s get you scheduled for that first complimentary appointment so you can get your questions correctly answered by the doctor.

If the caller remains hesitant to book, the Front Desk team member can say, “I understand you need some time to think about this. Would you mind if someone calls you back who might be able to help you more?” Usually, the caller agrees.


But I Don’t Have Time for Such a Long Conversation

The answer to “I don’t have time to do all this” is “Yah, you do.” It’s winning the patients who want higher value services that immediately jumps up your practice profitability and makes those answering your calls most-valued players on your team.

Every time a patient calls about high value services, remember that the patient called for a reason. Even if the patient asks about cost, the patient is still predisposed to have the treatment. The doctor ultimately will convert the patient to treatment. The Front Desk’s job is to get that patient excited to meet with the dentist or specialist.

When discussing high value services, especially when cost is a spoken concern of the caller, someone needs to settle in for a longer conversation than your receptionists would normally have with a new patient looking for a cleaning and checkup.

When the person answering the call is inadequately prepared or under too much time pressure, a call back call should be arranged. Receptionists can be coached to say, “Mike, I really want to help you get the answers to your questions, so what I would like to do is ___________.”

Here are some possible scenarios:

  • The receptionist who took the initial call can call back within less than an hour prepared for a longer conversation.
  • A higher-skilled, patient coordinator can call back immediately or within less than an hour.
  • The doctor herself or himself can call back, setting the anticipation that this will likely be midday or at the end of the day.

In some practices, the dentist or specialist likes to make the call back personally. The potential patient is impressed by this, and the initial appointment is almost always booked.

Patient Prism is tracking up to 30% call conversions to appointments when call back calls are made within less than an hour by team members well prepared to talk about higher value services and address patient concerns.


Learn More About Patient Prism

People need your services, but something keeps them from moving forward with scheduling. It might be cost. It might be insurance. It might be a scheduling conflict. We can help your team know how to address every concern.

Patient Prism analyzes your new patient calls, identifies the ones that didn't schedule an appointment, coaches the call, and sends it back to your office so your team can call back - and win back - that missed opportunity. And we do all that in about 30 minutes.

In addition to the coaches' comments, we also attach short one-minute training videos from the industry's top experts so your team can see exactly what to say and how to say it for optimal success.

If you want to know your call volume, the number of missed calls, why people are taking the time to call your dental practice but then hanging up without booking, click here to schedule a demo at a date and time that's convenient for you.

See why Dental Products Report named us a Top 10 Game Changer and a Top 10 Technology Product of the year, and why we received a Cellerant Best of Class in Technology award at the 2019 ADA annual conference. 

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Additional Resources

Patient Prism Academy is a video library containing hundreds of videos that feature dental industry experts presenting recommendations and examples growing your dental practice, multi-location group, or DSO. In our Patient Prism blog, you will find additional videos featuring ways to engage and convert more patients.

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