Gold Star Scheduling with Flint Geier of the Scheduling Institute

Dr. Williams 

Welcome to another episode of the Practice X Factor. And we’re back this episode to share with you some tips on really boosting the membership aspect of your practice, and have a cool, unique, and precious guest today, which is Flint Geier from the scheduling Institute.

So, welcome, Flint. Thanks for joining us today.

Flint

Thank you, thanks for having me.

Dr. Williams 

So we, you know, I’m a high Quick Start Kolbe kind of guy. So I like, you know, pictures, colors and graphics, bullet points and those kinds of things. I was delighted that you’re willing to come on the show and honored to have you guys because you are the expert, as far as anything goes with phones. You do a lot more than that, but when it comes to having good data on phones, like with my team in the office, you know, if something comes up, like hey, look, you know, the Scheduling Institute has a lot, hundreds of 1000s, if not millions of calls that they can account for on, you know, this one point.

So, great to have you here; I love to have data. So please share with our listeners a bit about you, kind of your journey, and your role with the Scheduling Institute.

Flint

Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s funny, just as you were even explaining that, right, talking about all the data that we do have on the phones, it’s interesting because you’ll have listeners. You may be familiar with the scheduling Institute for some of you listening. So you may have a perception of what you think it is that we do.

It’s funny when you’re in the marketplace for as long as we have been, and you get to build this fascinating laboratory of offices, team members, doctors and, and kind of just observe the marketplace like that, we’ve been able to do a lot of really cool stuff. And really, we’re where I fall into it; if you have been following us, you’ll recognize the last name, Geier, and Jay Geier, who was my father started the scheduling Institute back in 1997. And it was really around this core principle, that, whether you’re marketing, whether you’re not marketing, whether you are the most significant clinical producer there is.

I know you guys talk a lot about obviously increasing those capacities. But at the end of the day, there’s only one avenue that almost every single new patient comes to your business through, and that’s, that’s through the telephone. And so we’ve been working on that aspect of the business, that first point of contact, that intake piece for the company’s existence and built on the things a lot over time: whether it be team training and coaching. But what’s been rewarding in my actual journey with it is, you know, I didn’t plan on coming to work here. I played football in college, went to Cornell University to study finance and entrepreneurship.

And, you know, the Wall Street deal that was, if you’re, if you’re in the business school at Cornell, that’s pretty much where you have to go. Oh, my roommates ended up there. And what was fascinating was about halfway through my time at Cornell, I had an opportunity to get a little more involved in, you know, what is the journey that we’re witnessing clients go on? It, you know, goes much beyond that first piece, which I’m excited to talk about today. But, you know, when that flip is switched off, you’re not just impacting the person who answers the phone, it’s, it’s the doctor, it’s their teams, it’s the community they serve. And, Dr. Williams, you get to see this.

And from what I’ve seen, it looks like you have several excellent examples of how the things you do to work on your business have that positive impact on your team members, your patients, and ultimately, their community. And so, that was a massive draw for me. And so out of school, I decided, you know, what, I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to come home, if you will. And it was. I was happy to get out of the Northeast. It’s not that nice, dry cold like you guys have out in Utah. But you had a fascinating experience, right off the back, being one of our onsite trainers.

And so we’ve got about 50 team members who are traveling full time, we’ll do about 300 in-office training a month, and it allowed me to be in, you know, three or four offices every week, all across the country. We do so internationally as well. And when I talked about that laboratory, it’s, you’ve got these team members who are in hundreds of offices over their first few years. And it’s funny, I was listening to one of your previous episodes, and I think it was Dr. Farran mentioning the number of offices he has been into. Right? What do you think that number is for the average? Dentist? Oh, the standard like, say, someone like me, how many other offices have I been in? Yeah, probably like, just a tiny handful, I mean, not as much as we should do, you know, right.

And it’s so interesting, because, you know, we’ll go in, and we’ll get to have a conversation and the lens, almost, that a lot of your listeners I’m sure have is one, two, maybe five ops. And so we’re enjoyable unique piece about doing that, as you can just see it on all sides, sizes, shapes, different towns, etc. in how people are doing things right and wrong, and all those areas. But really, it comes down to the exact first place that they all get to talk to you. So after I did that, I moved over into our new member acquisitions team, which was a great experience, really just helping doctors find the right mix of services. And now I’m running our foundational memberships.

So the stuff we’re going to talk about today when it comes to the phones, the original value proposition, the foremost thing that we brought into the marketplace back in 1997, is where I spend all of my time, which is rewarding and fun for me. Because, you know, I remember when it was in the basement right there. Just mounds of cassette tapes in the basement of our house into now what is we’ve been fortunate enough to win the Townie choice for a practice management consultant for I think 11 years in a row now and have some excellent facilities for our clients to enjoy that are not the basement of the house.

So excited to be here and sharing a bit of some of the foundations that we’ve been talking about for a long time.

Dr. Williams 

That’s cool. You know you make a good point because I had a couple of old crowns and fillings and stuff I was replacing lately. And I’ve been intentionally scheduling them with different doctors, different dental offices. Some I know well, some I don’t so just because for precisely what you said is like, you got to get out of your own space sometimes see, it’s eye-opening for me because they’re every time I learned something, so I’m like, you know, whatever I’m paying them to get that procedure done. Because I don’t want to freeload off my friends or colleagues is or that in multiples: because of what I get to observe the office staff doing the doctors doing their workflow, things that are maybe beat myself up about our office that is like, Hey, we’re not doing too bad, because they’re kind of dropping the ball gives you both sides of it.

Flint

And interestingly enough, we look at it through the lens of okay, even in the context of this podcast, right? So I’m sitting in an audio booth right now, and there’s a chair across from me. And, you know, this is not anything new or radical. But you know, when we have this conversation, and I’m sure you do the same thing, you almost want to be able to say, All right, well, there’s you and there’s me. And then there’s that patient, and how is everything we’re doing affecting that person? Even my father will, he will try and find the worst rundown practice he can if he moves to a new town: because there’s so much valuable information and things tomorrow, that I mean, we do it because we’re in the business of it, but I think it’s a precious learning experience for any doctor.

Dr. Williams 

Well, it sounds like your experience was really like, Hey, I’m going to go the Wall Street Avenue. When you’re in college, or you go the mainstream avenue and the differences, the Wall Street Avenue, you got to please shareholders. And even corporate dentistry is a lot that way. Not that we’re, you know, kicking down corporate dentistry, it has its place, but it’s much more about pleasing shareholders, where you guys teach us about pleasing your client, your customer, your future patient, your existing patient. And that’s really what feeds the practice.

And I think I’m always amazed at how practices will undercut or self-sabotage. How much things cost to get done, you know, dental work is not cheap, but, you know, even just the way the doctor speaks about, Hey, your insurance doesn’t cover this, or this is going to cost a lot unless you don’t want the patient to choose that as an option. I mean, there’s a way to word that, in my experiences, if I really kind of want to steer the patient away from an option. And that isn’t a good fit. You might use that as a technique. But, you know, we just undercut cutter and lays out. And I think and dentistry is so valuable because, yeah, some of this stuff costs as much as a car, but it might last you a lifetime. Everybody else turns their car over every five years and gets a new one. Oh, yes, that’s $40,000 over and over and over again. It’s like, man, it, you know, a friendly smile. You can’t put a price tag on that. But it’s, you know, something that can last a lifetime.

Flint

Yeah, you? You’re sorry, not to interrupt you. I think you’re right. And I’ve heard you say a couple of times, you know when you’re selling dentistry, and people have such a negative connotation around sales, but you’re right, it might be the same as a car. But how valuable is, you know, entirely new self-confidence?

Dr. Williams 

I mean, that is me. Yeah. Well, that’s the whole thing was, you know, what, why I think memberships are so helpful, because, you know, when everything’s based on insurance model, the problem is, dentistry, for the most part, costs a lot less than, than most procedures in medicine. I mean, I always just think, man, if you were to have a tooth taken out, that’s maybe a few $100 in the dental office, and he may, he might hit a four-figure number, if it’s bone grafting, and an implant or something. But I think, man, if he had that done in a hospital, it probably three to four times that, and it’s all because they’re playing that third party game.

And so the challenge in dentistry is we have to demonstrate the value more than in a lot of hospital systems: where it’s like, well, this is where the insurance told me to go, I’m here, I might be having a mediocre experience, the doctor might be the most socially awkward person and can’t even talk to me straight, what I see is 90 certificates on the wall. So I’m just saying, Oh, this seems reasonable enough. We’re in dentistry, and even certain areas of, you know, elective medicine, Lasik eye surgery, those kinds of things, you have to sort of show that value to your patient.

I remembered years ago, you guys sent us one of those CDs, you probably still send them, and it’s like, you know, Dr. Williams, your ears burning or something like that. And of course, my ears were burning, you know. So we’re, I remember putting that in is like, you scored a zero out of five, like, oh my gosh, so I remember, a call came in. And this is when I just started. I had like one, maybe two team members. And I remember grabbing a call being like, Okay, I’m going to pay attention to what this lady is saying. I will give her my best, most detailed response and get another zero. And I’m thinking, Oh, my gosh, what’s going on? But once I understood, it was eye-opening because the response is, you know, people ask like, you probably have better data. But it’s like, there’s a small handful of questions people ask. And it’s not about what you’re saying. And even as much as how you say it, and how you’re, you’re spinning that question to make it.

How am I giving value to this? Caller? Like, why do they want to see me? And you know, when people ask these questions like, well, how much does this cost? Or you take my insurance. It’s opening that up to Hey, yeah, you know, How’d you hear about our office here? I mean, that’s just magic because it just softens that. And I just see when, when I’m teaching my team members how to do that, it starts to make it about the person and the relationship. And that that wins every time. So can you share with us, you know, people listening some data: because I, you know, I’m, I love doing these, have shared it with my friends who are made me think, oh, man, you know, I need to sell my office to corporate practice, or should I try to model after corporate office and to me, it’s like, you know, if you do special, membership-driven training, you can shine but share with us, as you said, I mean, what percentage of contacts are still coming through phone? I mean, we all think everything’s going to text and automated responders email, but at least in my office, yeah, probably 90% are still through the phone. What are you seeing, half an hour?

Flint

I think what you just said is a fantastic point. And so yeah, exactly. The first thing we’ll tackle is alright. the initial point of contact, right? Because obviously, you’re into the marketing game, right? With that nice mix where you know, you’re doing mail. You do all that good stuff. And a lot of your listeners: I’m sure are taking some of the things you guys have talked about and want to implement. Right? Because yeah, no, that all makes sense. Absolutely. They move into town; we should go after those people. But what’s fascinating is, in every year that I have been looking into this, it gets less and less surprising. So when I first started, I was convinced, you know, these old numbers were saying 95% of all new patients call before they come in, you know that’s going to change right that is going to be affected by the Digital Age.

And to be honest, it hasn’t made a real, impactful change. I mean, you’re still looking at 90% of new patients where even if they schedule online, they’re still going to call in, right? People have so much angst, nervousness, and fear of coming into, especially a dental office. And I think, because, you know, some of your listeners are in the industry, or maybe have grown up around it, that doesn’t exist for them. But if you look up…the top three fears, number one is public speaking. So if you can do that, you are like a superhuman. Number three is death. And then number two is going to the dentist. And so, we are to assume that online scheduling will make this radical shift.

Even if they got to 30% of all new patient calls, you’re still talking about an enormous opportunity coming through the telephones. And so if really everything that we talked about breaks down into three key areas of how to grow the practice: you guys touch on a lot of things that fall into this, but it’s number one, increase new patients because a certain percentage are going to leave every year, people are going to die, people are going to move, people are going to say You know, I don’t like that guy anymore. There’s nothing we can do about that 10% of human beings that are a little bit crazy. And so we have to be able to not only get more new patients through the front door, and that’s the key piece they need to walk in, they can’t just call right. Marketing is effective only when that person walks in the door.

Flint

Up until that point, it’s pretty much all loss. Because while people may know your name, if they call in and essentially are turned away inadvertently, which we see happen often, then we’re paying someone to pick up the phone. We’re paying somebody to market to get the call to come in. And none of that comes back as a return to your business. And when you were going through your nine pitfalls, I think it was your episode 26. It was so fascinating. Not knowing the value of a patient and not knowing your numbers. I think that is by far and away. If you could do a podcast every single week on that, I would imagine because you know your numbers. And one number I want to talk about is the average value of a new patient.

Flint 

And so everyone who has a practice, right, anybody collecting money from patients and having new patients come in if you just take your collections over time, let’s just say a year, and divide that by the same time, right? divide out how many new patients, so collections are divided by new patients, that should give you a number that will be an essential tool moving forward and figuring out every time the phone rings, and there’s a new patient on the line. What is at stake! right. And that’s essentially the first, the first lesson that we want to teach anybody, even before we engage with them, is Hey, every single time someone calls into your business, you already have existing conversions have, you know, when they come in? Are they going to stay? Are they going to accept treatment, but the one that we put the least amount of focus on is a win when they call in? How many of them schedule? What is the conversion rate on new patient phone calls? And the easiest way to increase intention, increase focus around something is to let someone understand what it’s going to cost him to do it incorrectly.

And so if you have that average value of a new patient, which for a general practitioner is somewhere around 2000 or 2500: you know, for your Orthodontist that’s going to be closer to 4500, maybe 4000 that essentially says, If I can get that call, to walk through the front door, as a new patient, I can expect over their lifetime with me that amount. So let’s say it’s $2,500. So, Dr. Williams, you guys are open for five days.

Dr. Williams 

Four days. Yeah.

Flint

Awesome. So you guys are open for days.

Dr. Williams 

And are we answering phones on the fifth day?

Flint

Yeah. Okay, so what’s crazy? And obviously, you get this piece in every other business in the world. We have to be there five days a week or answer the phones before seven sometimes or seven. I mean, that phone support. We’re like, hey, so Let’s check on the <calls> that trickled in on the weekend where you’re like if I call that guy back, and you know, there are some crazy people over the weekend too. So those happen, but for the most part, it’s like, to call someone back and go, Hey, you know, I saw you had a toothache or whatever, how can we help that like, people are just like, oh, my gosh, you call me on a Saturday? This is unbelievable.

Flint 

Absolutely.

Dr. Williams 

But the whole crazy piece is, everybody else has to answer the phone and work American business hours. But for some reason, the industry’s gotten away with it.

Flint

And I think why some nice insights into why that happens. But right, if you don’t answer the phone for a full day, in the workweek, Monday through Friday, you’re immediately kneecapping your business at 20%. And so, like, the easiest thing you could do, pay somebody to answer the phones. Test it out; no one calls for 90 days. Fantastic. Maybe you don’t have to do it. But if you get two new patients, maybe you get one new patient a week because you answered the phone, and your average value of new patients is $2,500.

Right, you just made back 10,000. Over time, just by answering phones. And that’s just picking it up. Right? So we marketed, the person called, the team member picks up the phone. Think of it as a funnel. What happens at that initial point of contact? So I wanted to pull some data for you. Because you know, doctors like numbers. And so we have done, and this is just this year. practices who have inquired, and they want to see, hey, you know, how are we doing at the initial point of contact? What is the, at our intake process, right? How are we handling it when you compare it to hyper-successful and effective teams and offices? And so I pulled a study of about just under 4000 calls.

So 4000 offices, where we are trying to determine, you know, based on what we know, to be effective: which essentially breaks down to be a welcoming greeting, that is very concise, professional, you know, let the patient know who they called, and where they’re where they’ve called right instead of just doctor’s office or something like that, which you hear still way too much. And then effectively handling questions and answers, right. So making sure that not only do we respond to the question, but you’re not oversharing and doing what you call verbal vomit because, again, you’re talking to someone who was already anxious, who is looking for any opportunity not to schedule. And we just breezed past this. We forget that that person is seeking a reason not to schedule, but they already know they need. They have already researched providers.

They have already picked you on the list on Google. And they’re speaking with you, right. So all of those things have already occurred when any new patient phone call is just happening. But that is not how it gets treated. It is treated as if, oh man; I sure hope they schedule you to know, it’s up to them. Maybe they will; they won’t. They’re just price shopping, right? They don’t want to come in. I will apply all of my incorrect monetary preconceived notions and how I think insurance is important, but maybe it’s not to them. Right, and just apply all of this garbage that’s in my head on this patient. Because I don’t know any other way. That does happen.

Dr. Williams 

You said it because, like, especially with newer team members, I noticed our default is kind of like, Oh, this guy’s asking a one-off question. And all of the sudden that like, the initiative to get them into the chair, like just like, case acceptance. Oh, he’s asking if we do this XYZ procedure here. I figured I better talk with the doctor about fully describing the procedure. Okay, yeah, if we do that, we may as well kiss him goodbye, now. Share the life out of him, you know, he’s going to like, what you’re going to put that in my mouth, like, you know, and the worst thing you could do is describe what’s going to happen to them when they are how pleasant it’s going to be.

It is going to sound terrible to the untrained ear. I mean, that’s just the reality of the business that you guys are in. I mean, out of those 4000 calls, it’s probably just slight deviations of a handful of questions. I looked this up to a scientist I fall, who did this COVID study. And it was like 4000 cases of studies; why Thinking of this number you threw out here at 4000. Because there were 4000 of them, he looked at the DNA on every one of those viruses, and every single one was slightly different. You know, and, and the point of this was what, you know how the virus is evolving.

But the moment I bring this up is, you know, like, 99.9% of that big long DNA thing is the same. And it’s like people. People aren’t; they’re not asking, like, do you take my insurance or thinking, I’m scared of the dentist, I might want to bring my family here, maybe refer my friends? Do I feel confident in your response? I mean, would you? Would you agree with that? It’s almost like that’s what they’re asking when you do white fillings. They’re saying like; I’m kind of scared. It’s been a while I don’t want to feel judged. I want to feel comfortable. I want I’m calling the right place.

Flint

Absolutely. And what’s fascinating too is, you know, if you go across the industry, typically, you’ll have a process for determining what type of call it is. And, if you look at it dental practices, only seven types of calls come in, but new patients need to be the number one priority. So even in that example of hey, do you do whitening? If you call me and ask if I’m if I do whitening? The first thing I’m going to ask is, when’s the last time you were in to see us? Because the answer, that’s not Mrs. Smith calling in to see hey, when I come back in, can I do whitening, too, that’s a potential $3,000 new patient, that’s somebody who may need a lot of stuff, who needs to find a new place, that you need to be confident enough to say that this is the right place for you. And we can get everything that you need to get taken care of.

And just making it easy for that person who has all kinds of anxiety and has probably some, you know, if they’re at least 30 years old, they probably have one negative experience. That’s the unfortunate truth that you have to kind of undo psychologically. But, you know, earlier when you talked about the treatment presentation piece of it, and being able to do that effectively. And so much of this is undoing the way people think innately. And showing that there’s a correct way because you don’t know what you don’t know. And so, once you handle the question correctly, we want to take control of the call, right? So-called the transition. It’s that question you just mentioned.

How’d you hear about our office? Do you want the referral sources? But now, because I’ve asked you that question, I have complete control. And then we’re going to go into an effective close. And what was fascinating, I’ll get to the results of the 4000. But in a sample of about 140 non-clients who joined us at an event in October: one person offered an appointment out of 140. Wow. Only one person even offers.

So we’ve had we had 139 potential new patient calls, where they were never actually offered a time to come in. We were running complimentary dental question & answer service lines, and I don’t think that’s what your listeners are looking for. But that’s the norm, right? So you want to be able to have, right, greet them nicely, answer the question, transition, close them, and then get the data, no matter what happens. So whether they schedule or they don’t, we’re still gathering that information. Because like you mentioned about that Saturday call.

Dr Williams

This is a $2000 – $3,000 opportunity for your organization, for your business for your practice. And we’re just going to let that go after one try. We’re in every other industry, right? What is it like 7 to 12? Attempts?

Flint

Yeah, seven in one.

Dr. Williams

And how much that bottom line brings? I mean, you know, you were saying, hey, 2500 bucks, but I’m thinking about your office managers already there, your assistants already there. So that overhead already has all kinds of sunk costs. It’s like that 2500. It’s probably 70 to 90% is going right to your bottom line too. So it’s not even just, you know, you might go well 2500 on a monthly that’s not a ton. But what if you go well, 2350 that’s profit.

Flint

Because in that study, let’s see we had 96% got a zero or a one. This means we have changed it to zero probably since the first time we did it for you because so many people got upset by getting zeros. You can only get an A. That’s probably why you have to change it. So, the only way you can get zero is if we call during business hours when you have stated that you were open on end in it, and we tried three times Wild. I mean, you’ll see stuff all the time. 30% of the time, people go into practices, nobody picks up. We track a metric where it’s just handled by a person who can help.

And that’s happening, you know, across the board at really, really not great rates, we’re talking under 70% of the time is the person who can help that patient, the one who picks up the phone. And then I mean, just picking up the phone at all is drastic. And its just so much opportunity going, going away for really no reason. Because if you take that $2,000, just let’s say you lose one new patient a week because you’re conservative, and you’re, you know, you’re a humble listener. You say, alright, well, if 3732 of the 3879, right, get a zero or one, that’s a pretty good chance I might be in there too, let’s say you’re losing out on one new patient a week. I mean, throughout was that so 4000 a month. See 4000 times 12 You’re looking at, I’m sorry, it’s 8000 mental math.

So it’s almost $100,000 a year. And we’re talking about a process that happens possibly at the highest repetition of anything in your business. New patients’ calling happens every day, happens every week, and happens every month. But it’s happening probably 30 feet away. So I’m sure the first time you went through this, it was you kidding me? This is happening 20 feet away from me. And I had no idea that that’s what was occurring. Or that’s what, essentially, and then we’re all complaining that there are not enough crowns on our schedule. And oh, my gosh, September so slow, and all the holidays are here, no one’s calling, you’re like, nope, what my experience is the holiday, everybody’s breaking tea, I don’t know what it is they’re out spending their money or even on top of the hurricane.

Dr Williams

It’s like, there are specific, you know, markets, things change a little bit. But you know, December’s been some of our best months, you know, some of yours. Kicked butt, December, you know, it’s just about how you approach it. But I’m just; I’m just doing some math here on my handy calculator based on what you’re saying, because I’m taking all kinds of notes around, but okay, someone’s listening to this, and they have sort of a million dollar a year practice. And they’re getting, you know, 25 new patients a month, that’s 300 new patients a year, we take your formula and divide that 1 million by 300, you’re going, and each of those patients is worth $3300. And let’s reproduce that, you know, and all you got to do is answer that phone. And, you know, based on what I’ve learned from scheduling Institute and infer, you know, listeners are, one thing that helped me out is like, it takes a while for your team members to understand like, hey, the phones are in like, let’s do a cartwheel backflip and grab that phone because that’s who’s paying your paycheck not me.

You know, I joke with my team, I’m like, this is who’s paying your salary, not me, I just sign it, but they’re the one funding. And you know, so? Well, if you’re listening to this and you’re implementing this, what I do, if I’m sitting there talking with a couple of team members, maybe having a quick meeting going paychecks and the phone rings, I reach my hand down, like the first rings not even finished. I grab that and follow this script or hand it to a team member. You know, and I don’t answer the phones a lot. Once in a while, I’ll do that just to kind of get a pulse on what’s going on. Because I think too many of us practice owners just kind of bury our heads in the sand and hope everything’s going the way you want. But you got to this is your investment. Not your team’s. Oh yeah, you got to get them on board with what you’re doing. And the man in that’s like, a way to show exemplary leadership. So your team’s like, Okay, we get this, this is very important to him, he sees me doing this, he’s probably going to be pleased. And then there’s perhaps more bonus opportunities or whatever.

Flint 

If You don’t take it seriously as a leader in this area, that goes for anything, right? Anything we teach, and we go in. We implement something into an office. We could pretty much tell before leaving whether or not they’re going to get the intended benefit based on the engagement level the doctor, correct and, I mean, that’s the thing, it’s. Still, it’s also a process that is so easy to learn that you can always lead by example when it comes to this one piece. Right, and it’s a process, and it’s the beauty of it once you get it into place correctly. Team members may change over time front desk is probably the highest turnover spot even before COVID. Still, it’s just maintaining that process and in a standard, if you will, from that first point of contact, and that’s the purpose behind everything we do. And I love what you said about, you know, it’s the patient that pays the paycheck. It’s, the patients don’t just pay them, they don’t just pay you, right? Everything that we put out there has to be suitable for that patient when it comes down to it. Because the patient pays us all.

Dr. Williams

We do this thing. It’s like, you know, when we get a bonus thing, it’ll say like, congratulations! You hit the gap because we close the hole, and whatever the goal was, and it’s this business card has a picture of Michael Strahan smiling with a significant gap in his teeth, you know, the NFL player? And then it’s like, here you go! But the thing of the thing, I think it’s cool. You know, I was just thinking about this when you’re saying it. Because we’ve done, this is like, how often are we answering that phone? And, you know, if you’ve got someone listening to this, like, you got a college intern or the highest school student who wants to come in on Saturdays or evenings. Like, set something up where they answer phone calls, and its incredible people are calling at six, seven, you know, two seven breaks at a convenient time. Or we don’t have a question, convenient time.

And we have, you know, we have a phone system we use is Weave, and there are others like this, too. But, you know, if we miss a call, it’ll automatically respond with a text that says, hey, we saw Mr. Call, how can we help? And it’s a good tool. It’s helpful because we can just see the traffic coming out. But still, when that happens, it’s like, immediately, you know, I’m always talking to the team every morning. Hey, if any missed calls slipped through, we got to call them back like. And I think the same goes for tele dentistry. In episode one, we had my friend, Dr. Tanner Clark. He’s got a teledentistry thing going because he works a lot with public schools. And it has its place, but even you know when we’re bringing up the patient still to kind of like how are you going to do dentistry virtually? I’m like, Well, yeah, you know, it’s for emergency kind of things.

But we start to think, oh, everything’s changed so much. But it’s like now the basic human need, just like you said, is they might schedule online, but they’re still going to call and go; oh, by the way, I forgot to ask you to take my insurance. And if you follow, perfect, consistent outline that’s patient-oriented, like what you guys teach in the scheduling Institute, patients are like, Okay, I feel confident. That seems like someone who knows what they’re doing. It looks vibrant, exciting. We ask you about dentistry not like, you know, Mary sitting behind the desk like, yeah, we take insurance? Yeah. Oh, no, he’s not here that day. We were moaning and groaning, eating a doughnut on the cell phone. Yeah, you know, I mean, I, even the days I’m not in the office, you know, on my team, call me for the huddle when I’m available.

We’re not seeing patients those days like Yeah, but look, we still got a collections goal today. We still have a new patient goal. So like, I want to know how many leads came in because we have a little daily lead track, and we call them leads until they have. Well, let’s have a goal for how many leads because this is a perfect way to kick the week off, and rev that thing up. And I think that’s where you know, these numbers, you’re saying that I’m writing all kinds of notes down here, really, really just kick in. And when we look at it from a membership standpoint, I like to follow Costco because I think they do many incredible things.

They know the value of their membership. And there, you know, 80% of their profit comes from their memberships, because essentially, you’re buying air, just a step in the store and maybe cost them a $12 million renewal card once a year. And Costco, compared to Amazon or even Target, has an average revenue per employee of 80 to 100%, higher their profit per employee is double that of Amazon, Walmart, or Target. And they know the value of their members. And so if you’re going, hey, $2,500 is the average revenue per new patient. And that example you gave, you know, what I want to listen to think about it, what about that patient who’s like, really got a significant overhaul. They’re referred to you, and they’re going to join your membership plan announcement; they might be worth two to four times that based on the data we have, oh, my office, it’s usually two to three times the value of an insured patient, which is impressive.

You know, it’s crazy too. The mishandling of the initial contact is more of a turnoff for your right high expectation—self-pay, potentially membership. And I mean, luckily, when the referrals, you have a little bit of good grace from the person who referred them, but I mean, we messed that one up. You know, this is a high, high-value patient who could be a long-term part of your practice, but we just get so focused on it. Well, what about the one person who’s going to call in and complain about how we don’t accept XYZ insurance? That’s the wrong way to think about it. Half the time, they’re calling what they want, not even covered anyway.

Yeah, we were like, she’s calling because she wants veneers and whitening, and I’m thinking off the top of my head? Well, I know none of that’s covered anyway. So why do you know why we hung up on it? But you have to be more diplomatic with my team because I want to do it. But I think, you know, that initial contact, as you said, I saw a study and they took surveys from like a home, you know, like a home and garden show at like an expo center. And they had these survey cards, saying, hey, when are you thinking of remodeling your home?

It was either like remodeling a home or finishing your basement, something like that. And it was like 85% of people said in the next 18 months, and they’re at the Home Show where they’re looking to buy stuff for their home, it was a home remodeling show, the purpose of the show is revived home. So that’s like an 18-month lead time. Because like some of these, even if they’re not ready for the implants or veneers, you get them in for a cleaning or consultation, build some trust you keep them in, you keep them nurtured as you said, and they give you more time to build trust. And yeah, they’re not all red hot right now. But you got to keep those things warm. And they can just produce such great results for your practice.

Flint

Oh absolutely! And then what’s fun is once you get that piece secure, right, you’re just increasing the number of those $2,500 means not a transaction, but when they walk through the door, essentially, that’s what you can expect, then you’re going to work on every piece that follows. All right, what about when they do walk in, right? What are all those other things that you can do to create a patient-centric environment that is going to not only increase the quantity of those new patients but also increase the value by making sure that your team is ultimately living up to what their potential is, which, as far as we believe is? No one is there. And so there’s always huge room. And I know, there’s a lot of you know, I mean, if you watch the dental town boards, it is just employee complaint after a team member, you know, issue X, Y, and Z, and a lot of my understanding, but a lot of the stuff you see on there is, unfortunately, the exact opposite of believing that people have a higher potential than exercise.

So that’s, that’s some of the fun that we get to have. It turned into an event. It’s like there’s a Facebook dental page by me where everybody goes to temporary hygienists and assistants. I can’t even go on there because it’s just a negative thing. Yeah, everybody, there is complaining or unemployed people. I just think there’s a reason you’re not employed, you’re probably not very employable, or you’re just looking for the wrong thing. And so they’re complaining. And so I just can’t when we need to find someone I’m like, Okay, guys, you got to go on there. I can’t. That’s just a cesspool, you know. And, and like you said, it’s just kind of the mentality they have, but yeah, well, we just have a few minutes here.

What do you have anything else you want to say about maybe any trends you’re seeing the last year or two? I know all of us want to blame everything on COVID? Right, but a lot of systems are human. As you said, office manager turnover was the highest before we even knew what COVID was. Is, are things changing? Are there trends? Or is it really, like you said still, hey, look, 90% of people are still going to call you they still have basic needs, they still have teeth, they still want to look good on their zoom calls and their selfies and their family, you know, what’s fascinating and sound like you got to experience this. And when you know, march 14 happened, then we whatever it was June or July or August, whenever depending on your state, people were able to get back to work. We saw a pretty significant dip in our average call ratings for the membership, people outside of membership.

Flint

We’re still hovering at like a one. We’ve made some enhancements to where our team members going through our newer process are getting higher ratings than ever, which is great to see. But what was fascinating is in that time back, people were locked down the pathway, the fact that people had been looking at themselves on zoom cameras for long they had to, and this still very much exists. Because people also have been saving at a much higher rate than they have in previous years. I mean, the savings number for the average American, and I don’t know the exact number I was listening to yesterday, but it’s drastically higher than it has been recently.

Dr. Williams 

So patients have money in the bank. And they’re tired of looking at their, their self in the camera, to be honest with you. And so I would not imagine. And it sounds a little off, if you listen to any kind of, you know, Misery loves company, but this is a fantastic time to be in dentistry. You see, it’s like, every time something terrible happens, we come out the other side. And it turns out, and it’s still great to be a dentist. And so, I think that’s just something that we don’t want to take for granted. Because obviously, that’s good for us, because we helped in this, but people like the work more than ever. And they have the money as you said, I have the money.

Since the 1920s, this is the most money people have had in decades. And slowly, we can joke with our patients on like, you know, Mrs. Jones, I know, you’re so happy to be here, because this is a legitimate excuse to leave your house to come to the dentist, you know, it’s a justifiable excuse to pull yourself out of self-quarantine. And it’s the first time. Yeah, I keep talking my peeps here. I’m like, you know, if your practice can’t make money, right now, you got to do a severe self-assessment, because it’s like, there, people are flush with cash in a lot of ways right now. And there’s so much, you know, government grants and everything else going out to try to bolster everything up. It’s like; it’s out the demands out there at the money’s out there. It’s a great time.

Flint

I agree 100%. And I’ll tell you, almost all of our clients who are actively working, the things that we’ve been trying to put in place, you know, that his record if they haven’t had a record-breaking month and new patients or collections between June of 2020. And today, that is a legitimate concern for me. Because I know for a fact that our people who are doing the things are serving their patients, who are communicating appropriately, have been crushing it. And that’s not the norm in the marketplace. And so, if that’s not you, then I do think it’s an opportunity to look and say, Alright, well, what, what do I need to do differently, because no team member is going to do it for you.

But I will say, you know, the first place a patient’s going to get to interact is on the phones, and many people just stopped answering the phones during that time. None like, if you can’t make you can’t, you know, someone introduces you, and you can’t make a good impression on that first date over the phone, they’re not going to get to the date to have dinner with you, that part’s not even going to get that far. And that’s why many practices, unfortunately, didn’t open back up. Because they didn’t pick up, they didn’t even pick up the phone to answer the patient’s request. And so we have clients who are getting 100 new patients because the person they went to didn’t pick up the phone for two months. All right. And it’s the things of making sure that the basics, which this is one of the basics, are always followed, right. It’s like, I’m a football guy and make football analogies. So it’s the blocking and tackling. It’s the make sure you’re accessible. And then make sure you provide an excellent experience that’s pleasant and easy to go through. Right. And so I don’t know if this is if we’re about to wrap up.

But I do want to allow anybody to listen if they’re going to find out how they’re doing today when it comes to that. We have just a free assessment of the experience the patient gets when they try and reach out to you. We call it the Five Star Challenge. Dr. Williams, what you were talking about at the beginning with the CD, that was probably because you took the five-star challenge at some point. But if you just go to www.fivestarchallenge.com/xFactor.

It’ll allow you to get that complimentary analysis. We’ll send you out a package with all the information and even get a call to your office to see if there is an opportunity there or the good news of hey, you’re already doing a fantastic job. So really a win-win to figure out do you have these what I like to call costly drops of water falling out of the pipeline of your business.

Dr. Williams 

That’s great! That’s a really great offer, Flint; you know I say this as you know someone who’s benefited from this program. I have no financial incentive to recommend this to anyone listening. But you’re leaving, and I can promise you you’re leaving money on the table. And you’re missing out on some excellent team growth opportunities. If you’re not getting something like this five-star phone program going because just taking that assessment, it’ll open your mind; you start listening to phone calls, you know, I would recommend you record. There are phone systems that record your phone calls and listen to those periodically; their software will now transcribe all kinds of cool stuff. But it’s benefited my practice tremendously. You are scheduling me as the authority for phones in a dental practice.

So, if you have any comments, questions, reviews, we’d love for you to leave some feedback. Leave reviews on iTunes if you have a question. In the transcription of the notes, we’ll also put the link that Flint shared, so you can go and check out the scheduling Institute and get your five-star phone call setup. And if you have other questions, you can post them to our blog as well. So, Flint, you were a wealth of knowledge. I took all kinds of notes here today.

So we might have to do another one in the future and cover some other interesting topics that the scheduling institute specializes in. Thank you so much.

Flint

Yeah, my pleasure. I would love to.

Dr. Williams 

Awesome. Okay, well, we’ll see you next time. And thanks again for listening.

If you’d like to listen to this topic, check out this episode by clicking here.

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