Orthodontists who don’t maintain robust observation programs at their practices miss out on one of the most effective—and cost-effective—orthodontic marketing strategies ever invented. Some of these doctors actually complain about spending their time “observing” at no charge, even though they don’t have enough paying patients to fill their schedules!
If you haven’t yet discovered the value of implementing an observation program, consider these points:
- A High Conversion Rate from Observation to Treatment: It’s not uncommon for an orthodontic practice to eventually move 95% of their observation patients into actual treatment. From a marketing standpoint, you won’t find a higher return on a minimal investment than this.
- Forming Relationships Before Starting Treatment: This is one of those unusual situations in which a business has the opportunity to initiate and strengthen relationships without yet asking for a financial commitment.
- Making Your Case Without Competition: Every visit gives your treatment coordinator (TC) an opportunity to bring up selling points. Parents will probably not be visiting other orthodontic practices, so she can gradually make a strong case without challenge.
- Reduced Likelihood of Ortho Shopping: When the time comes to decide about treatment, parents of observation patients will already be familiar with your practice and aware of the reasons to accept treatment there. In effect, they’ve already begun their decision-making process. If your TC is well-trained and attentive, she will most often be able to stop ortho stopping before it starts.
- A Consistent, Long-Term Commitment: By its nature, an observation program will not start paying off significantly for several months. Don’t think of it as a tactic to initiate when starts are down, only to be dropped later. Make it a regular part of your practice.
By investing a small amount of your time and perhaps the cost of imaging, you can establish a dependable new patient pipeline that will increase production consistently and cost-effectively for years to come.