Janet Mason shares her thoughts on which strategies are most effective when it comes to successfully communicating your plan membership to prospective patients…
Lockdown for many practices has highlighted how beneficial a well performing plan membership can be in terms of securing regular cash flow for unexpected situations.
Effective communication from your practice team is a key strategy for plan growth, so understanding the benefits of the membership is vital. How you talk about your plan to your patients shapes their perception of what the most important benefits are and, if not done correctly, may leave them feeling like there aren’t any benefits at all.
For those who struggle communicating the plan confidently or who haven’t really thought about the membership in terms of its ability to support patients’ dental health, we’ve pulled together the three biggest considerations you need to think about to get the health message across.
Endorse the plan by trusted sources
As a healthcare provider, your patients already place a lot of respect and trust in you in terms of what you recommend for their dental health.
This is particularly true with the dentists of the practice, so conversations that surround the plan need to start with the patients’ dentist in surgery.
Communication around the plan can be an uncomfortable prospect if it’s thought of as ‘selling’.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of focussing too heavily on the money and savings elements of a plan membership. Consider a more holistic approach focusing on the health benefits instead (which, after all, are much more in line with what your services are to your patients). Leading the plan conversation around the health-first should feel more comfortable than ‘selling’.
Here’s an example of a health-focussed plan conversation:
‘Mrs Smith, I know that those who do will attend more regularly, which in turn means I see them more often, allowing me to detect problems earlier and leading to less treatment potentially being needed in the future. Why don’t you have a chat to our reception team, and they can tell you more about the benefits?’
It’s a much more informative approach for patients and doesn’t come across as a hard sale.
Prescribe it as part of a wider treatment plan
Your patients will see the plan membership in a different light if it’s included as part of a treatment plan.
Having your plan membership as a natural extension post-treatment, particularly in the case of perio treatment, cements it as the best way to maintain your patients’ health now and in the future.
Following up the plan membership with a patient by incorporating it into a treatment plan can be particularly effective for patients who may have refused the membership at their initial appointment.
If patients elect or are required to proceed with a treatment, whether that be for cosmetic or general dentistry, the opportunity rises again to broach the plan membership, as it’s a way for them to monitor the condition of their smile post-treatment. Essentially, the plan membership helps to ensure that the benefits of their treatment lasts due to regular monitoring during their appointments.
Plan your plan
Make sure you have the correct plans set up to suit your various patient demographics.
It’s important to make sure that you have plans that offer the right level of support for your most common scenarios. Perhaps you need an entry-level plan for your younger demographic or a very comprehensive plan for those who need more check-ups to keep their dental health in good condition.
Understanding your patients’ needs in relation to the plan will automatically help you communicate it more confidently, as you know it will be the most effective and appropriate way to maintain their dental health going forwards.
If you’re a Practice Plan member, contact your Regional Support Manager for further advice and support in boosting your plan membership numbers. Find your Regional Support Manager here www.practiceplan.co.uk/team.
Janet Mason is a Regional Support Manager at Practice Plan and has 14 years’ experience in the dental industry. Practice Plan is the UK’s leading provider of practice-branded patient membership plans, partnering with over 1,500 dental practices and offering a wide range of business support services.