What do parents care about when it comes to orthodontic treatment? Is it the orthodontist’s clinical skill? We all want the answer to be yes, but unfortunately, that is not always the case anymore.

While parents expect clinical quality, they are increasingly shopping around for the best deal. The truth is that parents are often scheduling an initial consultation appointment after having already visited and consulted with several other practices.

To keep patients and parents in your office, consider the following:

1) Your team needs to be “on their game.”

Ortho shopping is a fact of life. Parents are looking for reasons to shop around for an orthodontic practice more than ever before. When your front team can build value for the orthodontist and the practice, patients/parents are more likely to schedule an appointment and accept the recommended treatment. It is critical to give your team the verbal skills they need to impress potential patients/parents.

If front desk staff members sound bored or rushed on the phone, they are sending a message that they have priorities other than the person on the phone. That should never be. Remember, every call to the office must be recognized as a major opportunity.

2) Schedule in 7 days—or forget it!

You should see new patients for consultation within 7 days of their contacting the office. Once they have accepted treatment, patients should be scheduled within 7 to 10 days, if possible. This maintains a steady flow of new patients into the practice. If parents or patients have to wait a long time for treatment to begin, many lose motivation, postpone treatment, or start to think about fees and decide to shop around.

You can turn potential shoppers into starts. It all begins with these two strategies.

Roger P. Levin, DDS