dental news for dentists from the best minds in dentistry today header image 2

Three Small Steps for Big Results: Starting Points to Increasing Case Acceptance

April 7th, 2010 · 2 Comments

With so much happening in the economy and in healthcare today, you may find yourself running into more and more obstacles with your patients when it comes to case presentation and case acceptance.

Have you started hearing new objections?  Are you hearing more objections about money?  Are more concerns circling around fear for the future when it comes to healthcare coverage?  These are not times to sidestep and avoid the unavoidable.  These are also not times to back away from presenting the best possible care to your patients because you are afraid to hear no – again.  What it is time for is a Back to Basics approach on patient care and case presentation.  Here is where you can start.

In a recent report by the ADA, it was stated that 51.6% of adults stated they would be more likely to visit the dentist if the dentist had a friendlier and more caring attitude.  This is saying that over HALF of those surveyed would come to see YOU, doctor, if you had better customer service!  If you could increase your new patient flow simply by improving your customer service skills, wouldn’t that be a healthy place to put your energy in your business?

This same ADA report states that only 34% of those surveyed listed money as a deciding factor on whether or not to visit the dentist.  What that tells me is over two thirds of your patient base is most likely saying yes or no to treatment based on obstacles OTHER than money – which is great news!  This means you can help get your patients to say yes by tried and true methods that have worked in dental practices for years.

There are three ways you can see immediate improvement in your case acceptance.  They aren’t necessarily simple, but if you work at these three areas, you may find your patients are more prepped and ready to say YES and less likely to come to you with walls of objections.

  1. Pre-heat your case presentations with effective telephone and written communication.  Your business team and treatment coordinators hold an incredible amount of power in their hands because they are representing you over the telephone, especially when dealing with new patients.  How they respond to questions, how they speak to the patients, how they communicate what is to be expected in upcoming visits, all help to build that patient’s expectations of what they are going to experience during their time with you.
  2. Take the time to work out the kinks in your telephone technique, as well as your welcome packets.  Work on scripts, practice on each other, record phone calls and listen back to find what needs work.  As for the welcome packets, look through your materials and make sure they are reflecting the most professional and the clearest version of your practice and your services as possible.  These are just a few ways to strengthen this gateway into your practice and to strengthen your relationships with your patients.
  3. Develop a solid, professional case presentation protocol for your practice.  This involves everything from the initial phone call, to gathering of clinical data, to the presentation itself.  A successful, streamlined case presentation system in a dental practice involves each and every member of the team.  And you always have to bring your best.  You are only as good as your weakest link.
  4. Follow up!  You may find you are having more “I’ll think about it” responses.  This means that you most likely have more dentistry sitting in your charts waiting to be done than you ever imagined.  Instead of wishing for more and more new patients to fill the void in your production – market from within!  In your patient family you have established relationships, trust built up from years of working together and an inexpensive opportunity to educate and motivate case after case.  Check your scheduled patients’ diagnosed dentistry every week.  Make note of this in your morning meetings.  Establish a protocol for every hygiene appointment to involve the use of intra oral cameras and create time in these appointments to educate your patients on dentistry diagnosed but untreated – while they are a captive audience, in your dental chair.  This gives you the opportunity to tap into their decision making senses, both auditory AND visual, and create that need and want so they are more likely to say yes!

Now is the time to persevere.  Work on those weak links in your case presentation system.  Focus on improving your customer service skills – starting with where it all begins – the telephone.  And, never give up, which means – follow up.  Those that continue to improve and continue to build their patient relationships will find that when the dust settles, their practices will be stronger and better than ever.

For an article on Cathy Jameson’s Six Steps to Successful Case Presentation, visit the Jameson website at

Tags: Administrative

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pat // Apr 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    There are some great points here. We have recently been pleasantly surprised by how many patients will accept elective procedures which are not covered by insurance, just because we present them in a way that demonstrates value to the patient.

  • 2 Pat // Apr 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    There are some great points here. We have recently been pleasantly surprised by how many patients will accept elective procedures which are not covered by insurance, just because we present them in a way that demonstrates value to the patient.

Leave a Comment