If you are a practice with a Patient Plan or whether you are considering reducing your NHS commitment and introducing a plan for the first time, one huge recommendation I can give you is to ensure your patients understand the Whys!
Why you want to provide plans
Why would they benefit from becoming a Plan patient?
Why you may be increasing your Plan fees
Why you value them as patients
All of the above need to be supported by consistent positive messages, be it newsletters, waiting room info, or conversations with the team, for patients to understand the Whys and be on board.
Studies show that it can take us 7-10 opportunities to get across the communication we want and for the recipient to be responsive. Given most patients attend on average twice a year, we do not want to sit back and wait for them to come to us to have plan conversations.
So what are some of the messages we want to communicate with our existing and potential Plan patients?
What it means to be a member of our practice.
A patient plan membership is so much more than a 2 and 2 or 1 and 3.
(2 hyg and 2 exams etc)
Our plan patients understand the importance of being one of our members.
· You have access to prioritised care
· You have access to the dentist of your choosing and can build a confident friendly and familiar relationship.
· You have Scheme access if you have a trauma or accident whilst you are away
· You have access to emergency care which exempts you from extra charges
We are very proud of our experienced team and have the facilities to care for our patients to the highest standard.
Our patients have peace of mind that they can access care when they need it…unfortunately there is a national crisis where many people are unable to do this currently.
Maybe you have an existing plan and want to increase your fees, but are worried about how patients will react? Again, prepping the patients with the benefits through emails, newsletters and conversations is key! These positive messages leading up to a fee increase will prepare your patients for the increase and help to dispel any negative concerns or objections they may have.
Thank you for contacting us to raise your concerns over the increase in our Membership Plan fees. It has been an incredibly difficult decision to make.
As you are aware, the last 2 years have been extremely hard, and we have not felt it was appropriate to raise the fees during this time. We recognise that for many patients it would have caused them difficulty, and we felt COVID was causing enough problems for us all already.
The dental industry has had many constraints placed on them and guidance to follow, to ensure we could allow our patients to access care safely. We have had additional PPE charges, a huge recruitment problem, which ultimately resulted in higher wages for our teams who were working under extreme stress, both physically and mentally, and then we have BREXIT, which has had a huge impact on our material costs.
I wanted to explain the above, not to gain sympathy or it seem like excuses, but because as a long-standing loyal patient, we feel you deserve an honest explanation.
If we did not review our member plans it would jeopardise the future care of our patients and practice. We feel it is a fair increase.
We hope that you can understand our decision and continue to benefit from the Plan and allow us to continue to care for your dental needs. If, however you wish to discontinue your Plan, then we can arrange this for you and genuinely wish you all the very best for the future.
Providing an honest explanation to the Whys is so important and reminding our patients the value of their membership is vital to move forward financially successful through 2022 and beyond, don’t surprise them, prepare them.