The one practice position that needs to respond quickly to new conditions and changes in the world
by Roger P. Levin, DDS
Over time, everything changes. In most cases changes are gradual and businesses have time to react. COVID-19 caused 5 years of change in about 5 months. But even under “normal” conditions, orthodontic practices often need to make certain rapid changes. One position in the practice that must respond very quickly to new conditions and changes in the world is that of the treatment coordinator (TC).
The TC is a salesperson. The person in that role has one objective—to close cases, thus creating starts. Over the last 9 months TC’s went from selling orthodontic service in an exceptional economy to selling orthodontic services in a post-pandemic environment, where people are concerned about safety and equally concerned about their financial situation. Many TC‘s who performed well prior to COVID-19 will drop to a mediocre level or below in this new health and economic concern scenario.
Re-training the TC should be the #1 priority right now in the orthodontic practice. Why? For the same reason that the TC should always be fully trained. As Thomas Watson, the management guru from IBM, famously stated, “nothing happens in a business until a sale is made.” The TC is the person responsible for the sale.
Levin Group, and its TC training module, has now re-trained dozens of treatment coordinators using post COVID-19 structure and strategy and the average increase in close rates from the baseline is approximately 17%.
The TC will need to add and change numerous aspects of the TC consult appointment. They need to be in touch with parents or patients prior to them coming to the office. They need to have a step-by-step, script-by-script methodology for how they conduct the entire TC consult appointment. Doctors need to be retrained to focus on the highest value communication with parents and patients. Follow-up systems need to be documented and put in place with exact timelines. And the observation program needs to increase the number of observation patients every year (which is also part of the TC responsibility).
It is beyond the scope of any single article to lay out the entire appointment, so let’s focus on one major suggestion. Convert the TC consult appointment from a presentation to a conversation. Be sure to engage the parent or patient in a conversation. Stop and ask questions every 14 sentences or so. Ask them if they understand, are following you, if it is interesting, if you are addressing their main concerns.
And most importantly, the TC should strive to learn 10 personal things about the parent or patient. This will move the relationship from strictly professional to include a level of personal. Why? If the TC shows a personal interest, people will learn to like them. And if they like them, they will learn to trust them. And if they trust your TC, they are more likely to buy from your practice. People buy from people they trust.
Retool your TC consult appointment and you will see remarkable results. OP
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email email@example.com.