In this day and age of Internet and social media advertising, many patients call your office wanting to know the price of specific treatments. Your receptionist may be hesitant to quote a fee over the phone. You don’t want to be boxed into a corner, since you don’t know what the patient needs clinically. On the other hand, you don’t want the potential patient to hang up and call another office seeking a price quote. According to consultant Dr. Matthew Krieger of a Million Dollar PPO, this is how your front desk should handle the phone call.
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The standard advice given by consultants has always been not to quote fees over the phone. In the new paradigm of practice management, and the new world economy, quoting fees over the phone is not only suggested, but is absolutely necessary in order to best serve "shopping" patients. How you quote the fee and the message that you leave are critical factors. First, shoppers are not only not bad; they are great! Shoppers become buyers! When a patient calls to ask a fee, here is how to handle the call:
“Hello, how much do you charge for an implant?”
"Thanks for calling our office. My name is ___________. Can I have your name? Well, (name given), it sounds like you are considering an implant. Our doctor is highly skilled in this procedure. The fee for implants can vary from as low as $______ to as high as $______ based on your specific needs. We find that many patients are concerned over cost and don't want to make a decision about treatment until they know very specifically all of the fees involved in their treatment. I would suggest that you set up an appointment to meet Dr Krieger, have him examine you and take any necessary X-rays, and then we can provide you with a fee for your treatment. We are happy to do this at no charge! When would you like to come down? I can fit you in today at _____."
This conversation offers a solution to their concerns, and puts their mind at ease regarding cost and transparency of fees. It also breaks down the barrier of the expensive examination that often turns patients off to treatment. Imagine calling Mercedes to ask a price on a car and being told that in order to test drive a new SUV you had to put down $450! Remember, shoppers only become buyers after the right experience at the right price.
Scott Froum, DDS, is a periodontist in private practice in New York City. He is the editorial director of Perio-Implant Advisory e-newsletter, as well as a contributing author for DentistryIQ and Dental Economics. Dr. Froum is a clinical associate professor at the New York University Dental School in the Department of Periodontology and Implantology. Contact him through his website at www.drscottfroum.com.