Archive for July, 2015

Insurance “Coupons” Put Patients in the Chair

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Coupon use is growing. According to an analysis by The Neilsen Company, “more affluent households dominate coupon usage: 38% of ‘super heavy’ users and 41% of ‘enthusiasts’ come from households with incomes greater than $70,000. Households with incomes of $100,000 and up were the primary drivers of coupon growth…”

So, what does this have to do with dentistry? It is a reminder that attitudes toward money – specifically spending and saving – have changed significantly in recent years. Moreover, those most tuned into the value of the dollar – the better educated, higher income households – are also those most likely to understand the importance and value of your dental care.

However, as consumer savvy as this population may be, the majority of them don’t realize that they are likely losing $500, $250, $700 in your office. How? Many, many patients have dental insurance plans with unused benefits that are poised to go to waste come year’s end.

Dental insurance companies make millions of dollars off of patients who never use their insurance benefits because unbeknownst to the consumer, many of these plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Insurance companies aren’t going to encourage customers to use benefits, and it is rare that patients actually know what they have left in benefits. Most are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them, which makes informing them about the benefit an excellent win-win opportunity for patients and dental practices.

Take these steps:

1.  Generate an “unscheduled treatment plan report.”
2.  Identify those patients who still have unused insurance benefits.
3.  Prepare and send a special letter to each patient.  ( I have templates for this if you or your office needs assistance)
4. Add a P.S. that says, “Take your insurance dollars further with interest-free patient financing. Ask ‘Jessica’ in my office for all the details.”

I can virtually guarantee that every patient you notify will thank you for calling this to their attention. Whether they take advantage of the opportunity or not, they will appreciate the fact that you took the time to educate them on this important insurance detail.

 

 

Employee Recognition and Rewards Programs

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

 

In our last blog, Summer is mentioned as the ideal time to begin your employee rewards program to keep the momentum going.  What are you doing so far to keep your top players?

As you get started, keep in mind that while it may be easy, a one-size-fits-all approach to recognition and appreciation is ineffective. People respond differently to different forms of appreciation. One employee will beam in the spotlight when he/she is recognized in a staff meeting, while another will shun the individual attention. There is no substitute for genuine displays of thanks and appreciation.  Of course, if you tell everyone that they are “the best,” your words eventually become hollow. So, keep it real. Keep it sincere.

Screenshot 2015-07-07 13.44.50

Invest in your team. When it comes to rewarding high performing employees, continuing education opportunities are a commonly preferred perk. What’s more, CE can benefit the entire practice. If employees are learning new skills that energize them, they will be eager to put them into practice – resulting in improved systems, better patient education, and increased treatment acceptance.

While you’re at it, don’t overlook the immediate and obvious benefits of catching employees at their best. On the spot rewards in the form of gift cards – $5 to a favorite coffee shop, $10 for a nearby lunch spot, or $20 for Amazon.com – can be ideal for recognizing excellence immediately. The program should be flexible, so that bigger rewards can be tailored toward the specific interests of the employee(s) recognized.

Ensuring that your employees feel appreciated and valued will ensure that the program achieves its intended purpose – motivation, recognition, and achievement of overall practice goals. 

Having a rewards program in place recognizes your top performance and reinforces the goals you are all working towards.  If you cannot afford the gift cards, appreciation is your best form of reward to keep your team headed in the right direction to a time when you will be able to afford it.