4 “Clusters of Emotions” That Can Impact Your Dental Practice (Part 3)

In today’s blog, the last in a three-part series, we will deal with the “Attention Cluster” of emotions as enumerated and described by Colin Shaw, and how your dental practice should address them. InterestedEnergeticStimulatedExploratory and Indulgent are the chief emotions found in this group, and are the ones most likely to generate only short-term spending if not properly handled (which includes that first call). Properly dealt with, however, these feelings can have a tremendous effect on a dental practice’s cash flow and overall success.

In the course of its 3-year pilot study, iDENTIfy has gathered and reviewed tens of thousands of data points relating to this cluster of emotions at orthodontic practices in the Western US. Overall, the study revealed that 43% of new patients are eager to start treatment on day-one and 72% within 7 days. This validates our research, so we recommend that you put strategies in place to ensure that your practice attempts to convert patients within this critical 7-day window.

This result from iDENTIfy’s pilot study helped leaders in one practice pinpoint a problem and develop a strategy that improved their conversion ratio by 27% within only 6 months. Although 70% of the patients in this office indicated via our consumer profiling platform that they were ready to start treatment within 7 days, less than 40% of them actually did so. Upon closer examination, via data reviews and interviews with patients and Treatment Coordinators (TCs), it was discovered that the key reason why these patients disengaged or delayed the start of treatment was that TCs and doctors didn’t communicate compelling value during the exam/consultation. Then, after patients left the practice without starting treatment, a secondary problem occurred – staff failed to follow up.

Below are three tips that can help you utilize the “Attention Cluster” to demonstrate more compelling value, resulting in an increased number of dental patient conversions.

  1. Tell a brief story. Based on our experience, there is no better way to stir the “Attention Cluster” of emotions than with an energetic story. TCs and doctors who have experienced orthodontic treatment themselves tell a better personal story, thus gaining the patient’s trust sooner–the person giving the presentation seems more like a ‘trusted advisor’ than a dental employee. For example, a TC who is wearing clear aligners or a retainer can not only take it out and show it off along with his/her beautiful smile; they also open up the opportunity for questions or even better, objections. The sooner you know what a patient’s objections are, the sooner you can effectively address them and convert the patient!
  2. Utilize a 5-minute sales presentation that doesn’t feel ‘salesy.’ During the presentation, the Treatment Coordinator (TC) should do more listening than talking. See this as an opportunity to discover barriers and remove them, ultimately boosting the patient’s confidence that they will receive high-value and high-quality care from your practice. Opt for a professionally designed interesting presentation that includes clear and colorful pictures for the visual learners who comprise 65% of your patients. Utilizing a presentation also helps ensure a more value-packed and consistent message across multiple TCs and offices. Be sure to include your practice value statements, i.e., “our practice is open on Saturdays, our doctors have more than 100 years of experience combined, we speak Spanish and Vietnamese too, etc. Doug Staneart, President of the Leader’s Institute and expert on presentation delivery, has said that his mentor once gave the following advice: “Rule number one is never to speak on a topic that you yourself are not enthusiastic about, and rule number two is that if you ever violate rule number one– fake it ‘til you make it.” We at iDentify wholeheartedly agree.
  3. Make a list of common objections and rebuttals. Finally, practice and perfect your message through role-playing. Ask well thought-out, focused questions to help you connect with your audience. Exploratory question/answer scenarios can be very effective because if you already know what the patient will ask, you will be more likely to be ready with a prompt reply. For example, if a mom is trying to decide between braces and clear aligner treatment for her teen, you might say, “How busy are you?” Knowing full-well that most people nowadays are very busy, you can respond with, “The nice thing about clear aligner treatment is that Jessica will miss less school. Appointments are every 12 weeks, versus every 6 to 8 weeks with braces. What that means for you is less time on the road and more time for other priorities.” “Additionally, you won’t have any painful pokey wires, and you won’t have to do any special food preparation.” We at iDENTIfy also recommend preparing a list specific to the front desk, designed to help increase the number of patients making initial appointments.

As patients have more options open to them than ever before, it’s important for everyone in a dental practice to understand and appreciate the value the practice has to offer, and to act quickly and with confidence to convert patients. This is best accomplished through inspirational leadership, management of the practice’s systems and ample patient follow up. If patients don’t grasp what you have to offer right away, they might choose a competitor whom they believe provides better value. That competitor may be right next door or on in another state, but there are people prepared to travel to get better value.

Shaw’s takeaway: these critical 20 emotions, divided into the 4 clusters, have an important influence on your customer experience, in ways that are not always at first apparent. Once, however, you understand the type of emotional engagement you have established with your customers and how it drives or destroys value for your organization, you can design an emotional experience, not leave it to chance.

We at iDENTIfy want to leave you with the following to chew on: The reality is that practices will lose some patients no matter what, but why not try to convert and retain as many as you can by taking proactive measures that help promote patient loyalty? Staff and doctors need to understand the simple fact that what they say and do directly impacts patient loyalty and their production goals. Finally, they should remember that when it comes to dental treatment, much of which consists of elective procedures, today’s patient has a host of options, and if unhappy with the treatment he/she is receiving, can blithely get up and go somewhere else.

Before you go, please take a look at our corresponding team-building event by clicking here.

–Read Part (1) Advocacy and Recommendation Clusters

–Read Part (2) Destroying Cluster

–Read our other articles on topics such as Operational Excellence and High-Reliability Concepts:

Ten Steps You Can Take Right Away to Improve the Reliability of Your Dental Practice

High-Reliability Concepts: Insights of Value to any organization.

Trude Henderson is the founder of iDENTIfy, Inc., a startup elective dental and medical practice improvement software company. In 2016, she was the first to introduce High-Reliability Organizational Concepts to the dental industry. For questions, contact her directly at Trude@GetIdentify.com. Follow Trude on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/trudehenderson/ (no email required)

Go to iDENTIfy’s website: www.getidentify.com

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