MY unbiased opinion on a secret to increasing patient case acceptance.
By Bob Clark, CDT, LVIM
I want to start off by saying I wasn’t asked to write this, nor am I paid to say any of this. I have no interest in this but your increase in patients saying “yes” and of course my lab doing those cases If I can take the existing clients of my lab and help them do more cosmetic cases, it’s a win-win-win. You as dentists get to do more of what you love, patients have the ultimate benefit of a new confident smile and my lab and team stay busy doing what we love These are my strong opinions! …my only goal in this is to help winners win even more! You are all winners already
I hope you find this helpful!
Everything around us changes at a fast pace these days, and dentistry is no exception to this rule. As a top-rated, full service dental lab of 40+ years in California, we are blessed to work with dentists all over the world. Something changed recently for a few of our clients. Last September, we noticed a substantial uptick in aesthetic cases from several dentists.
Why the sudden change? What were these dentists doing different?
My curiosity wouldn’t relent. I had to know the force behind this paradigm shift because it was immediate and drastic so I called each doctor, all are longtime friends and clients of ours.. Upon speaking with each client, they all three had the same answer – Smile Virtual. I had no idea what this was, but needed to learn. As a lab owner and part of a dental team, we’ve never advocated for anything like this, but, if it works for these three practices, how much could it help others? Once I investigated Smile Virtual and learned what it was and what was required to be part of this movement, I knew we had to share this knowledge with dentists around the world.
Contact either myself or the CEO of Smile Virtual below:
Williams Dental Lab
CEO, Smile Virtual
In my opinion, Smile Virtual is the most efficient way of connecting with and helping patients, whether they are just down the road or live across the country. What are the three main things that patients want most? They want a dentist they can trust, to know their options, and the cost of treatment. That’s precisely why Smile Virtual was designed. This platform also allows you to prescreen patients, saving possible time wasted in the chair. Imagine if you only had to spend 5-10 minutes in a video consultation, instead of wasting 30 minutes or more of chair time. This saves the patients valuable time and yours, as the dentist, which I think is brilliant.
What Smile Virtual is Not
It is not a platform for diagnosing dental diseases or problems. Patients will need to come into your office to confirm your recommendations before proceeding with treatment. You can and will make this clear in your video to the patient .
History of Smile Virtual
Dr. Brian Harris, a practicing general dentist of more than 16 years who developed this revolutionary platform says,
“I feel like what we are experiencing now in dentistry, and what I want people around the world to understand is that we are living in the middle of another cosmetic revolution. Social media and social acceptance of smile makeovers have normalized the porcelain veneer process, and there are millions of patients out there that want it. But, they have no idea who to trust, what to do, what it costs, or where to go. They were just toddlers and never lived through the extreme makeover days that their parents went through. It’s a whole new generation of patients out there to serve if you know how to connect with them.”
A couple of years ago, Dr. Harris reached a monumental moment in his career. He began using social media platforms to reach potential patients. (Sound familiar?) What he got, instead, was a private message from a young college student that later become his patient. She wanted to know how cosmetic dentistry could improve her smile and her life and how much it would cost. Instead of inviting her into his office for a new patient consult like everyone reading this would do, Dr. Harris began thinking outside the box and he asked her to send him a few selfies and she did. He then sent her back a quick video of himself talking to her in a matter of minutes explaining what he could do to help her. Her seeing him and hearing his voice caused a special connection. This part is hard to put into words but I strongly believe this connection is the key to Smile Virtual’ success. It was there that the idea of Smile Virtual was born.
How does it work?
Smile Virtual allows dentists to communicate with and present treatment options to patients. It begins with the patient uploading a selfie or two to the platform. They then send a message detailing what they wish to change or improve with their smile. The dentist receives this message and records a consultation video (on their own time) that the patient can later watch on his or her own time. This is not done live back and forth with the patient. This breakthrough technology allows patients to learn about their options, and how much treatments will cost all without interrupting their schedule. Many of our clients are telling me a huge advantage of Smile Virtual consults is the patient can share the video from the doctor to their spouse, parents etc…so the possible financial decision maker can understand what is being proposed by the dentist. This alone saves a lot of confusion for the patient. Patients can use Smile Virtual platform from their smartphone, in the comfort of their own home, without having to take off from work or school or arrange for a babysitter. It’s on their terms. Burger King was on to something when they introduced the Have it Your Way slogan more than 40 years ago. Now, with Smile Virtual, this slogan rings true for dentistry and it’s changing how we reach younger generations but with that said, our clients are having success across every demographic and age range with this .
Is it just about conversion rates?
Not really, while the conversion rate is significant, it’s not the driving force behind this platform. Instead, it’s building trust with people. Smile Virtual breaks down barriers, connects patients with dentists they can trust and gives them the information they want without interrupting their schedule. Smile Virtual isn’t just about aesthetics. It is ideal and being used by our clients for orthodontics, dental implants, All-on-4, dentures, sleep apnea, and even TMJ disorder cases.
Creative ways of using the Platform
Everyone is busy these days. Your patients’ lives are filled with running around, and most dental offices are very busy as well. We have multiple clients that have very busy growing family practices and see multiple new patients for hygiene exams every day and don’t have time to address the concerns the patient has shared with the hygienist about what they may be interested in changing in their smile or other dental tx they want to have. The dentist asks the patient at that quick exam for their permission to take a few quick photos and send a video to them in the next few days explaining what we he can do to help them and the affiliated costs. Think about that for a second!!!. Every patient says yes and every patient wants the video of him explaining what he is seeing. He is doing 5 of these a day. Do you think he is busier doing the type of dentistry he wants to do? It is profound what that creative thinking has done to his practice and the amount of his patients that now are more confident in themselves because of the new smiles we all got to create.
Why change if in-office consults have worked for years?
Is it though? Are in-office consultations really working? If traditional in-office consultations were working for you, then you wouldn’t be reading this blog today. In reality, new patient case acceptance rates are between 25-35% for the average dentist. Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at the process of in-office consultations. While the appointment itself may only be 20, 30 minutes or up to an hour, it involves many steps. The patient may consult with multiple dentists before committing to treatment, if they make it that far.
The traditional consultation process involves:
- Finding a dentist to call
- Taking time to make the appointment
- Showing up for the appointment
- Discussing treatment options
- Presenting treatment
- Talking about the financial aspect
And then, the patient usually wants to go home and mull things over or discuss it with their spouse or family members before committing. Finally, the patient might come back for treatment. This old way may seem to be working for you, but it’s probably only working a third or less of the time. Imagine the difference it would make if your consultation conversion rates increased to 87%!
Why not do consults through private messenger on social media like Facebook or DM’s on Instagram?
First of all, just don’t! That isn’t HIPPA compliant, and it’s a lousy way of tracking your cases. When you subscribe to Smile Virtual, you gain access to a platform that allows you to track each case, see when videos have been viewed, and store patient profiles for future contact. Best of all, it’s HIPPA compliant. As all of you know, this is hugely important to us all
How much does it cost?
Any dental office trying to provide exceptional care for patients has to have a marketing budget. It is obviously mandatory nowadays to have a website, and many types of social media advertising. I find it interesting that the Smile Virtual platform starts at $399 a month and have heard from many clients that the team at Smile Virtual is very easy to deal with and helpful. This truly is a no brainer decision. Another client of ours that we urged to get on the Smile Virtual platform told me “Bob, why didn’t you tell me about this sooner, the way this is set up the dentist cant fail, I’m so excited ”.
How do I get started?
This part is very personal to me, I love my clients and I want them all to be busy and wildly successful and doing the type of cases they have trained so hard to provide patients with.. I want them doing what makes them happy! I want them changing patients’ lives!!! This morning we had a doctor that’s been on the Smile Virtual platform for a month text me that he had a husband and wife both signup for 20 veneers each from a virtual consult he provided, He told me it took him 7 minutes to do the consults and he did them from his home after work. I truly was so happy when this doctor sent me that text that read “Hey Bob, Smile Virtual working great just like you said it would” Your CE dollars need to be put to good work. If you have spent time away from your family, and from life to provide exceptional dentistry, then make it the best dentistry possible and help as many people as possible. Find out how Smile Virtual could work for your practice.
Dentistry is changing. Are you?
Contact either myself or the CEO of Smile Virtual below:
Williams Dental Lab
CEO, Smile Virtual