- June 17, 2016
Laura Hatch Founder Front Office Rocks Interview | Dental Marketing Guy Show – Dental Marketing Guy
Transcript of Laura Hatch on The Dental Marketing Guy Show:
Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show. I’m Justin the Dental Marketing Guy and today it is a huge honor to interview you, Laura Hatch, who is the founder and CEO of Front Office Rocks. You may have heard of this, frontofficerocks.com, the leader in web based front office training for dental practices. Front Office Rocks founded when Laura recognized the desire to share her success with her fellow dental practices. Laura earned her master in Organizational development, that’s interesting, from John Hopkins University and has worked with her husband, Dr. Anthony Hatch to start and grow two extremely successful dental practices. One outside of Baltimore and their current office in San Diego, California. That’s pretty close to me, that’s good.
Laura: Yeah, right. California West Coast.
Justin: Yeah, it looks like these have been really really successful and you know some of the training that you offer I’m sure you’ve been able to, you know, always love to talk to people that have worked in dental offices and whether their dentist or their front desks or they’re hygienists because they actually know what’s going on. They’re actually in the trenches. So I really love hearing for people that have started dental practices and run them successfully. You know you’ve authored articles for leading dental magazines, web based dental communities and I’ve seen you on dental town in the forums. Laura is a fellow of the American association of dental office managers. A national and international speaker for a leading authority on dental practice management. As well as state and local dental societies, study clubs and she’s an adviser to several companies in the dental community. So, wow, this is quite the introduction you, I’m just going to let you take the floor, Laura. How are you?
Laura: Well good, nice to talk with you. Thanks for having me on today, I appreciate it. I actually love everything that you do. You and I kind of started in the same area, the reason I started from Office rocks was because I think that so many dentists don’t think marketing works and I fully believe marketing works. I’ve had to, you know, fee for service offices. We average between 50 and 85 new patients a month but i think you’re not gonna get great return on investment if your staff’s not handling the phone as well so I love what you do and then I kind of balance that out on the front end because once, you know, you’ve got a postcard out or somebody seen some of your marketing, the next thing you do is you’re going to call your office and the people answering your phones need to be well trained to handling that. So I’m glad we’re talking about this, you know. Subject in the training that I offer.
Justin: So they want mediocre front desk training they shouldn’t contact you but if they want their front desk to rock.
Justin: Tell me a little bit about what you do to help the front office rock.
Laura: Yeah, so just like you said my husband’s a dentist so i kind of got thrown into office manager by default because my husband said “Hey you know once you run the back or the front and I’ll be in the back so when I got into dentistry in 2002. I mean just like now there’s not a lot of schools that you can go to, to learn how to be a front office manager. There’s not, you know, a lot of resources out there for us so I had to figure it out on my own and I know that a lot of dentists aren’t trained on the front office part of things so I started from Front Office Rocks with the hope to help the, you know, new employees. The ones coming into a dental office going “Okay how do I do this?” you know “How do I fill a schedule? How do I handle the phone calls? How do I do my daily job” You know. Dental offices aren’t like anything else. I mean they are their customer service and more in the serve industry but we really gotta learn the dental part of it so my goal is to help dentist and teams get their “How to’s” down to the front office, you know everything from that very first phone call to ask him for a referral and ask him to go online and do a review. Everything along the way is really what I focus in Front Office Rocks.
Justin: And maybe we can give the viewers maybe two or three quick tips as far as you know, just a short punchy version if there’s anything that our viewers can do to take action based on your training. What would two or three tips be for “I’m a dentist, I am watching the Dental marketing Guy Show and man, and it sounds great it sounds like you help dentists out? What do I do? What should I do with the first step?
Laura: All right well the first thing I would suggest is to make sure, especially if you’re spending money on marketing, to make sure that the people answering your phone are trained so many times in the dental office the place we try out the new employee is answering the phones and if that new employee doesn’t know how to handle that phone call. If they don’t know about insurance and if you’re in and out of network and how to handle a shop or a phone call or whatever. That’s gonna be a waste of your marketing money. So the last thing I would do is put a brand new employee on the phones until they’re trained and proven before you’re going to let them answer your phones because that’s just going to be a waste of money that you’re spending in any regards to answer, you know, to the marketing that you’re doing and my second thing would be making sure that your team and this is what I trained on, this kind of how the start of Foreign Office Rocks started it is they know how to handle the questions when patients call I because they’re gonna get the marketing from your website or from your office and they’re still going to call no matter what the marketing says, they’re still going to call your office and typically ask, you know “Do you take my insurance?”, Do you have weekend hours?”, “How much is a crown?” Like these are the typical questions and if your employees answer that question and if your employees answer the question at all with a no like “No we’re not network for your insurance” or “No we’re not open on weekends”. All that patients going to want to do or prospective new patient is hang up. You know they’re just gonna be like “Okay well” because they think they need to call somebody who’s in network, or that has weekend hours, So the number one tip I teach anybody on the phones is to try not to even answer their questions with something negative because once you’ve answered it was something negative like “No we don’t have weekend hours”. That person is just trying to get off the phone. What we need to do is we need to answer with a positive response and then take control of the phone calls. So yes we work with your insurance, yes in certain circumstances we’re open on the weekends. Let me ask you a few questions because if we don’t take control of that phone call to find out who’s calling, why are they calling, what intrigued them about the marketing that they got about our office, what if they heard about us, what can we help them with. We’re never going to get to know the person on the other end of the phone. So it’s my recommendation that every question anybody calls in we’re going to answer with something positive so we can start to find out about the person on the other end of the phone instead of just talking to them about their insurance because yes we have to do with insurance. But at the end of the day that’s not over here for. We’re here to really care about our patients. So for me training the front office team, making sure they’re very well-versed in how to handle new patient calls. So important for every dentists and you know around the world let alone, you know, the United States.
Justin: You know it drives me crazy, you know I do SEO for dentists and you know it doesn’t matter what kind of marketing you’re doing, the perspective patients are going to call when they’re gonna call.
Justin: It drives me crazy that you’ve got some dental offices spending 5, 10 grand a month of marketing and those could be 90% emergency cases. But they don’t see emergency cases if they’re not a patient of record. You know like it just seems that there should be some system in place where instead of pissing away 5 grand a month for marketing and then, you know, saying no to 40 grand a month, 50 grand a month in production. What, did you actually found a way to deal with that, you know?
Justin: So do you go into that sort of thing?
Laura: Completely, yeah. One of my, I hear a lot of doctors tell me that, you know, new patients don’t show up for appointment so they have a lot of cancellations or no shows. Well one of the things behind it is we need to get the patient to come in when they’re motivated so we need to get them in as soon as possible. You should be seeing emergencies, you should be seeing new patients. My policy is in the next one to three days. Get them in like I had a good, for example. I had a patient that called in and he’s been getting postcards to his house for my dental office for four years and he’s finally calling into my office now to make an appointment. You know he’s gotten 25, 30 postcards from my office and he’s motivated now to pick up the phone. I need to get him right away, you know? We’re not going to be able to diagnose the patient over the phone. We got to get them in, so you got to make your doors open and available and get patients and if you want to see your new patient, you know, your new patient numbers increase. So I’m all about that one of the things I teach is in the huddle in the morning. Everybody should be having a huddle to talk about, well where do we stick new patients and what’s a real emergency, and how do we fit them in so that the team can work together to bring in new patients to make the marketing work. Because you’re gonna get your best return on investment if you’re actually keeping your doors open and making it easy to become a new patient in your practice.
Justin: Yeah, you know both Howard Farran and Fred Joyal, the founder of 1-800-DENTIST were on this show and one of the things that they always talk about is 8% of emergency rooms visits are dental related. So the emergency rooms meaning not dental offices but hospitals and imagine the cost to society especially because a lot of these people presumably can’t pay or the government’s footing the bill or the hospital is footing the bill. This is a cost being passed onto everyone. What if dental offices actually did emergency care and emergency rooms? What if people actually knew that other dentists was willing to do that but I don’t know, that’s outside your wheelhouse or you actually read about too.
Laura: Well I think, for me because I, you know we see emergencies. We see new patients, we’re you know, we’re all about that. I think the biggest thing for me is having the right people answering the phones. Having them trained well and having them think about calling in two different medical offices and that, just mean that mean lady who answers the phone or she’s really short, you know. That’s the first impression people have on our dental offices. So we want to make sure that we’re friendly. We’re handling the call well, we’re getting them in as soon as possible, that we have the right attitude because anything that you’re doing- SEO or otherwise, you know, you get paid to get that phone call, you know. I say I like to say my husband argues with me because he would say its CEREC but I say the biggest piece of technology in our entire dental office, the most important one is the phones because the phones, there are connections to the outside. They’re our lifeline and if we don’t have phones or we’re not handling them well, we’re not gonna have a lot of patience to work on so I just think that missed so much with handling calls and handling new patients and emergencies or whatever the case may be.
Justin: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So could you tell us a few things that may be dentists can, you know, well how does your process work? Tell me how it works.
Laura: So the reason why started Front Office Rocks is because I didn’t find that there was a resource out there for dental team. So the doctor says “Hey fill my schedule tomorrow” or, you know “Lower our number of cancellation” or “Whatever, get your collection. Collect the money we need” and then they go in the office and they cross their fingers and hope that the front office teams knows what to do. So what I’ve designed as a resource for dental offices that’s a one price to train as many people as you want and its price so that any dentist, new, big, small can afford it and they’re short video based training. So basically there’s a hundred eighty videos and I add new videos every month because I’m in the dental office so I see things going on all the time and the videos are anywhere from 5 to 12-13 minutes long. So they’re easy to watch, you can take a break during the day. Watch a video, there’s quizzes at the end. Make sure that the employees are getting it that and the doctors can see that the quizzes are being taken. And the idea is to give the front office team the training they need when they need it on the subjects that they need without having to send him to some CE in another state and have them be off, you know, out of work. It’s there for significant or training that’s going to help every employee whether they’re new or maybe they can you know, use a little enhancement on handling an issue or two. So the concept is just really to give the staff the resources they need to be better in their own jobs. Which in turn is going to help the office, the doctor in the office grow.
Justin: Excellent, excellent, so you got a program and can I ask how much is it?
Laura: Yeah, its 149 a month and it’s month to month, mean it’s, you know, you just cancel so there’s no long-term contracts. And like I said it’s priced so anybody can really afford and I mean it’s 149 dollars a month, in fact I had an office, a doctor told me they signed up within the first two days their front office receptionist had answered, you know, watched a couple of videos. She answered the next phone call and that phone call with somebody who asked how much the crown was. She typically would have given the crown field over the phone but because she watched the videos she didn’t give the fee over the phone, she converted the person to a consult and they ended up closing that patient on a crown. So it paid for itself for the whole year. So the idea is so that you can train. I mean I have some offices that have 25, 30, 40 employees and some that have 1 and it’s all one price, easy to use, easy in the office. Some offices use it as a team training and their huddles, some use it one on one training. It really, it’s adaptable to any office really and in looking to help them, you know, grow and fix their front office.
Justin: That’s excellent. I really like that so, you know, there’s a lot of companies out there that are talking about front desk training. You know you got a couple of big names and then I know there’s a lot of smaller people. What would you say, I mean the 149, that’s an incredible price point and do you update those today?
Laura: Well I update the videos and I add new documents so basically I have hundreds of clients across the country and they are, I felt I could help more offices doing it the way then try to go in office to do training or consulting so what happens is the clients reach out to me. They might have a question about how do you handle this, how do you handle that. I’ll address it. I’ll add it to the website for the rest of the clients, I’ll do a video about it. If I don’t have a video in there I’ll write a document like I just wrote a document on how to get out of network, the different steps that you should consider. So my concept behind Foreign Office Rocks is to be a resource for dental teams across the country and add, like I said, at a price that they can afford where they can use the knowledge. I have to be able to help them implement, you know, different things they want to work on in the office.
Justin: that’s really cool. I mean this is different from many things that I have heard of just by the way that you’re describing it. The medium that you’re using, I can, you know, its scalable. That’s why it’s inexpensive because it’s not, the knowledge is just as valuable as having a consultant come in but it’s 100 times cheaper, that’s really interesting.
Laura: Well one of the things that I think sets Foreign Office Rocks apart from, I mean I think consultants are great, trainers are great, speakers I was just talking to a couple speakers today, all amazing. The thing is with me, as I’m an office manager, I mean that’s what I am. You know, I’m not a consultant, I’m not coming in office. There are needs and necessities for consultants for sure. My focus is on the day-to-day duties, the leave behind for the employees of hoe do I do this, how do I do that because training, as you heard my master’s degree in organizational development with which basically means change management and one of the biggest issues that happened in businesses like all different kinds of that. A lot of the issues start from the very first day, the very first week that the employees aren’t trained correctly. They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re just kind of thrown into the wolves and especially in a dental office, you know, you go in and one employee shows you how to do something in another place shows you how to do it but differently and you kind of just learn as you go and with Front Office Rocks it’s now structured training for every employee to hear the same message without having to take other employees off their jobs and it’s all done by an office manager. You know, I show real life examples of how to handle the patient that doesn’t want to pay, or how to handle an angry patient that comes in or how to run a huddle. It’s all kinds of videos that can be absorbed easily and have real life examples and then of what happens every single day and dental offices.
Justin: That’s excellent, so you’re right there in the trenches. You’re, you know going on. So the reason why it’s month the month a month I’m guessing is because you do the updates and so you’ve tapped into all these ever dental offices. They come to you with questions, you answer them. If it seems like that’s kind of a frequently question or something really important that they need to know, you update the videos you update the content.
Laura: Yup, I just had a lot of it is people, my clients just want to know like how do you do in your office, you know. I’ve had an office on the East Coast we’ve had an office on the West Coast. I mean my husband and I have, we have eight operatories, a staff of 15, we got 50 to 80 new patients a month, we have 4 doctors. So I have a lot of different scenarios that I can pull from and I just want to be a resource for as many offices as I can because I get the same questions over and over again from the doctors and dental offices and I thought “Why not have a resource that they can go to, to be able to get information they need when they need it.
Justin: That’s great and you know I love that one of the things I think our listeners like about these interviews is there are sometimes unscripted. You know I’m just kind of throwing questions at you here. You know I’m wondering like how many, this is kind of an esoteric question. So let me know if I’m even phrasing it right. But like how many front desk employees do you actually need. I mean in terms of like exact guidelines like her dollar amount of production. How many, her number of patients and stuff like that, is that a, does that question make sense? How many front desk per dollar production per patient is there?
Laura: Well you know I’m gonna be honest with you. I’m not, I don’t know off the top of my head. I know when my husband and I added and what worked and what didn’t and I’m sure there’s some, there’s like I said there’s much smarter people out there in the dental consultant world that probably have formulas of when to hire, when they’re not, I will tell you that I find that doctors tend to be somewhat frugal on the front desk and having enough employees. One of the things I say is if, you know there’s two sides to it. That the doctor can be frugal so that in the front office person is overwhelmed, I mean they just can’t get everything done in the day and or are the office for office teams, are they working as efficiently as they could be? So you have to kind of weigh what’s going on the front office. But for me if things aren’t happening, for example, I was just talking to a doctor last week where they’re so busy at the front they haven’t made overdue re-care calls in 6 or 8 months. So those are patients that are not on schedule, that are just out in the world and they haven’t called them to say “Hey we need to get you back in, you’re due for your cleaning”. They have huge outstanding treatment plan list but they haven’t called on, they have outstanding claims that are over 90 days old. So all of this, is areas that the doctor is losing money because their front office team is overwhelmed and he’s reading until they get to a certain level before you hire somebody. Well if they wait until we’re so desperate that’s when we just hire whoever, stick them on the front phones and say “Hey, start answering the phones” you know. We really want to make sure that we’re planning and looking and saying “Are we doing everything we should at the front desk?” Because if you’re not the practices aren’t going to grow, you know. So I don’t know if there’s a specific number and i’m sure I could look it up and find out but I’m not going to guess at this point. It’s more of just kind of going “Is everything happening in your front desk?”, “Are you making calls?” I mean, you know, oh patients disappeared, get out the schedule and if we’re not calling to follow up with them too make sure that they know they need to get scheduled. Who’s reminding them, you know, who’s reaching out to them to say “Hey you need to get back in” so it’s things like that I kind of help asses and help train on, to make sure that you know, you’re not being short-sighted because doctors tend to focus on production. You know what we’re producing and producing well. We also have to look at what are the things that aren’t happening or are happening in our front desk to help our practice ground.
Justin: Yeah, you know one of our past guests, Spencer Peller from yestrack.com. Its after-hours call answering service. We were talking about how voicemail is basically a thief in your office. I mean, you know I had Dave Harris on the show too. We talked about embezzlement and you know, it’s like that. I’m not sure, I think it comes to marketing, dentist will invest in marketing but then when it comes to actually bridging the gap of making sure that marketing converts into dollars there’s a lot of steps there and I think, just wanted to do dentistry but this is really important is to have experts like you come on and say “Look you know we’ve got it, we’ve got to follow up on these dollars that you’re spending otherwise” I always tell dentists, I say just stop investing in marketing stuff, stop investing. If you aren’t making money, if you don’t have am ROI and a lot of times the dentist don’t know so it’s like, for instance if you’re doing SEO, you might not be able to geometrically track the leads as easily as if you’re doing like ad words, pay-per-click ads where you can use it to track with. Direct mail, radio, billboards, everything, TV, you can use tracking numbers, you can’t do that for SEO. It’s the one thing I really don’t like about SEO’s but you do have a lot data and when you can see “Oh there’s new patients coming from the website and its concurrent” you see there’s all this new traffic on the website but for whatever reason you’re not increasing revenues. Now it’s not the SEO fall, you’re ranked number on in Google, you’re getting lots of traffic but you gotta follow up on that stuff so I really like that.
Laura: I think you and I may have been posted on a similar thing and then we’ll talk about that because I feel like you’re going to get better ROI on any marketing that you do when you have a well-trained staff. When you’re answering your phone 5 days a week, when you’re like it’s so frustrating to me when I call into dental offices and I get their voicemail and the voicemail says if you’ve reached during business hours we must be helping another patients. For me I’m like “Well what is that telling this potential new patient that’s calling your office?” the other person is more important than them, right? When we let is go to voicemail over lunch. Well or somebody who works a 40 hour week job and they’re handling their personal issues, when do you typically handle things like making their dental appointment?
Justin: With their lunch and the evenings, yeah.
Laura: Yeah, right. And so in most offices are closed on Fridays and they don’t answer their phone on Fridays and I’m like you spent this money to get your phones to ring and now nobody’s answering your phone. Like it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I think a dental office phone should be answered minimally for Friday. I think it’s great if there’s an after hour service like you know, you were talking about. But for sure between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday it should not go to voicemail because we’re not corporate America, you know. Don’t push one for billing and two for making an appointment they want to talk to a human, you know. And then people are spending more to come to our office. No, insurance isn’t paying more, our fees are going up, people are spending money they want to see a value in that and that starts with that very first phone call once making sure that your phones are answered. So we’re definitely preaching to the choir here you and I.
Justin: I hope the listeners take action on it because I gotta tell you, I’m so tired of dentists giving me a million dollars month for SEO. No, I’m just kidding.
Laura: Yeah, right? I need to get your business
Justin: so here’s another question. I’m wondering is, do you recommend hiring a front desk with dental experience and if so how much? Because a lot of good, just like you said, they’re very cost-conscious. They might skip on investment in the front desk, meanwhile they’ll spend 20 grand on their website but I think on that, but you know the point is you know what the difference between a fixed or removable bridge. You know these people in banking and waitresses and people that you just pick up on the street. They don’t know the difference between this stuff and you gotta teach him so anyways bring it back to my question. Do you recommend hiring a front desk with dental experience and if so how much?
Laura: That’s funny that you bring that up because this is one of my mantras that I talk about. I actually, I’m not saying you shouldn’t but you don’t have to have somebody with frank desk experience we can teach, like when I started I mean, dental experience. When I started I didn’t know that teeth had numbers, I didn’t know they had surfaces, I didn’t know, I remember seeing the dental codes. Thinking I need to do all those ATA codes like somebody surfaces. You can teach what a removable or a fixed bridge is but you can’t teach them how to be friendly. You can’t or we don’t have time to do that, we don’t have time to teach some great customer service and for example I had an employee who, she just never smiled and she could have been the best employee in the world but you need to smile and be nice to people. You need to, you know, we work with our dental family more than with our regular family. Our patients are paying money to be here and this is just something that is couldn’t teach her to do. So for me, I feel like dentists do feel like have to hire somebody with experience. I feel like dentists feel like you have to have somebody with 2 years Eagles Software experience or 2 years Dentrix experience. And I do believe you don’t. I believe with resources like what I’ve come up with Front Office Rocks. My video start with ok here are dental codes and what they mean, here are what services of teeth are, here are procedures and we can take somebody who understands how to take care of patients, how to get more clients in the door, how to be friendly, how to work hard. We can teach them the dental vs sometimes we try to hire somebody that has the Eagle soft or the Dentrix experience but what’s happening is first of all you’re paying more for that employee and second of all you’re bringing the other dental offices experiences into your office which isn’t always what you want. I would rather take somebody from you know, banking or a hostess or Nordstrom’s and bring them into the dental office and teach them that dental because they’ve got the customer services down. They’ve got the business part of it down and that part is more important to me than knowing removable vs fixed bridge or whatever the case may be.
Justin: Excellent, excellent. Do you feel the back office should discuss financing or cost with patients and if so or if not, why?
Laura: I don’t know back office vs front office, it kind of just depends on how your office runs. I feel I think it’s more important to make sure the right person is talking about finances. Meaning I don’t want to put anybody in a consultation with one of my patients who may have issues with money. For example, maybe the treatment plan is 5,000 dollars and I’ve got a young dental assistant who barely makes that in a certain period of time and so when she like “5,000 dollars, that’s a lot of money”. You know, I want to make sure whoever is talking about money with our patient sees the value in the dentistry that the patients are getting, understands the patient needs to get this dentist redone because it’s necessary for their dental health, and has no problem talking about money. So it can be an assistant, it could be a hygienist, could be a front office employee. For me, that doesn’t matter. I do feel that you have to make sure there’s good system in your office, meaning not to talk about the patient to the patient about money while they’re standing at the front desk with their tennis shoes on 12 feet away from the front door because all they’re trying to do is get out of your office when we’re talking about money. So I would prefer that the conversation happens in a consult room or chair side. Somewhere where we can really get into full communication with the patient and handle all their questions and do everything in our power to help them understand what they need to get him to schedule vs what happens a lot in dental offices right now, is the doctor tells the patient what information they need, we welcome to the front desk, the patient gets handed that treatment plan and all they see is the dollar amount on the bottom and they’re like “Whoa, wait a minute, I didn’t expect this” and they’re trying to get out. So for me it’s more important to make sure that you have systems and I’ve, I don’t know- 15, 20 videos specifically on the system in the office and how to talk to patients about money and you know, the patient says “Well in only doing what the insurance covers or cant it wait?” How do we handle those kinds of things? That’s more important to me than whether it’s a demo assistant or if you’re not, you know, for an office employee.
Justin: Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah that makes a lot of sense. You know I had a client who told me that their front desk gets off the phone with someone like you know, oh yeah it’s gonna be 10 grand or whatever procedure and then they hang up the phone and they go “”It’s a dental assistant, probably making 12 dollars an hour and she gets off the phone. She’s like “I would never pay 10 grand for a mystery, that is way too much and it’s like okay, hold on doctor that is not the right attitude. How are you supposed to sell dentistry which sales is kind of a dirty work? This is kind of an on-going theme of the show is talking about how sale is a four letter word in the dental world. But you know and how it shouldn’t be. Whether you call it case acceptance or patient experience or what are you know me, yeah. I mean the bottom line is if you have the best clinical skills in the world you have a responsibility to sell dentistry.
Laura: Well think about it, what do we sell, right? We sell dental health like what we sell helps out patients live longer, live a better life. We sell dental health, but in our patients minds what do we sell, we sell drills and needles in their mouths they are going to pay thousands of dollars for something nobody’s going to see and half the time it didn’t hurt before you touched them. Well if you had your choice I want to spend a thousand dollars on a big screen TV or a thousand dollars on a root canal. What do you think the patients are going to want to pick, right? So we don’t sell things that people want but we have to get over that, because they ultimately need it. You know we are their health care provider and we need to make sure everybody on your team including the doctor has that same philosophy and understands the importance of selling. The other word I use, you know. Instead of sell I use help and that’s what we’re doing, we’re helping our patients, you know, live longer and live a better life. So and on that note I have a quick story. When we first moved into San Diego i called a bunch of different dental offices,, just trying to find out what their fees were in my area and how much they were charging and I had one that’s near my office who I said “you know how much is your crown?” and she told me the price, whatever it was. 1200 dollars or whatever and I said “Wow that’s expensive”, she goes “I know right, if you get insurance it will definitely help with that”. Like this is somebody answering this doctors phones who’s agreeing with me that 1200 dollars is expensive for a crown and I’m sure that doctor probably call someone like you and says my marketing does not work. You know I haven’t gotten more new patients and it’s like, that’s because the person you have answering the phone has a real issue with money and she’s giving out these fees over the phone. It’s not your marketing that the problem, your staff’s not trained well. So we’re definitely on the same page with that.
Justin: Imagine if a dentist. I mean it’s almost like a joke if the dentist shoots out a mailer that says isn’t 1200 dollars for a crown too much? But it’s telling them.
Laura: Yeah, completely. Yeah and so that’s why I get so frustrated when doctors, you know. I had one office that asked me to call into their office to see how their demo assistant was doing answering the phones because they weren’t busy enough to keep her busy on the back so they put her out the phone because they needed help up front. Well she want trained at all, so when I called and talked to her, you could tell she was nervous, she didn’t know any of the questions or the answers to my questions. She didn’t know what insurances they took. We hung up and I thought you know I could’ve been a potential new patient and you know they were busy enough in the back so I put it on the phones, that’s the worst thing you could do. At least train them before they start answering phones, anybody.
Justin: Right, right. Well you know many patients don’t want to pay until you actually do the work, especially the elderly, sometimes so I’ve heard some experts tell me that. Do you believe patients should be pre-pay for the treatment before the scheduled or just bring in their portion on the day of service?
Laura: You know it’s, I think that everyone, we should figure out the finances with patients before we put them in the schedule for sharp. If we are at all concerned that the person is 100% sold we should have them pay something because that is, I would rather find out in the consultation if somebody is not sold on getting the dentist redone they’re not going to pay you a dime. They’re not gonna pay you anything and hat we do is we put them in the schedule. We cross our fingers and we go well, hopefully they’ll show up but why do we do that to ourselves. Like would you rather find out when you go to appoint them if they’re sold or not. So for me anybody who you’re not 100 % sure on at least have them put a deposit down for the appointment. Now if you don’t want to offer prepayment discount, great I’m up for that but minimally don’t put them in the schedule and then just hope they’re gonna show up. Now if you’ve got great patients that show up, the pay their bills, they never cancel appointments, they’re always there. Well you’re not going to wanna, you know, change the policy for them. This is more for, you know, people who keep failing and cancelling. I mean I hear doctors is the number one issues is cancellations and no shows. Well this will fix it, ask a patient to pay then you’re going to find out are they really on boards and are they gonna shop up and if I’ve got two patient in the schedule and this one is paid and this has not even paid a dime I’m gonna bet that this one’s going to show up without any problem because we all get those phone calls in the morning where it’s at “I’m sick” right? Well they’re here like “No I just saw you at target last night. You’re not sick”. But basically they’re waking up going “Mehh”. I have a root canal scheduled today and I really don’t want to do that and I have to pay 500 dollars, you know. So it’s just better to handle it up front if you’re at all concerned about that person, you know, coming to the appointment.
Justin: Excellent, excellent. Well we’re coming to a close on our time but man this has been some amazing value. I really appreciate you answering and some of these unscripted questions. Sounds like you really known what you’re talking about. Where can I go? Where can they find you?
Laura: It’s just frontofficerocks.com. I have other videos are all broken into categories- receptionists, scheduler, treatment coordinator, office manager. there’s free videos on the top where you can watch a couple sample videos to get an video of what the training is about and there’s an ask Laura in there and you can reach out to me and you can sign up for the monthly or you can sign up for annual and you get a discount if you do that. And if they mention that they heard this podcast. I’ll give 50 dollars off the first month so all they have to do is mention that they listened to us and leaned some stuff. I wanted to give it a shot and we’ll make sure they get a discount because I want to definitely try to help as many of your listeners as we can.
Justin: Excellent. What kind of discount are we talking? I love this.
Laura: 50 dollars off the first month, so it’s not even 149 now. Now it’s what? 79 or 99 so this gives them the opportunity to get in there and try it out at any point you know, just when you’re done training you can cancel. There’s no long term contracts because I really believe in that training, that its’s something that you use every month and it grows with your practice.
Justin: Excellent, excellent. Well that’s great. Well thank you very much, Laura for appearing and man I hope if anyone has any questions feel free to reach out. Let me know if you have questions for Laura. You’ve got her information, do you have an email they can reach out to?
Laura: Yeah it’s just [email protected] You can go to the website, there’s also an ask Laura in there and that comes directly to me. So if you’ve got any questions about the training, the website, and my philosophies- anything, feel free to reach out to me. I’m here to help as many offices I can.
Justin: Cool, well hey, you know what like I’m always saying, you gotta answer that phone you gotta answer it with courtesy, gotta know what you’re talking about, you gotta be able to feel these objections about insurance and whatnot. Well here’s someone who might be able to help you with that so for all doctors who are, you know hitting it up the dental marketing guy for SEO and web design and whatnot. Let me tell you this is the kind of thing that you need to really take the marketing investment that you’ve made and turn it into a growing practice, a practice where you get the patients that you want most. Thank you, Laura and thank you to all of you watching the Dental Marketing Guy Show.
Read more at my dental marketing guy blog!