By Amy Bradshaw
While chatting with a colleague the other day, we hit on the subject of orthodontic fees, quoting fees over the phone, who should be able to talk about the fee and where? This reminded me of when I first started as a treatment coordinator. New patients would call and if there was any chance I was available, they were put on hold and asked to wait and only speak with me. Fees were never discussed over the phone until they had done their due diligence by coming in for an appointment. After everyone’s finished jumping thru the standard hoops, I would anxiously await the diagnosis so I could then, nervously rack my brain to remember the correct fee or as I quickly learned, carry a clip board and have the latest fee sheets glued to it. Ah, the good ole days…
Initially, the fee structure was a beautiful two-page synopsis of every possible treatment option and associated fee. It was stunning, and hard! Not only hard to pick the right treatment plan and associated fee but to explain why one fee is higher than another or why did my neighbour only pay $5500 and I have to pay $6000? It was almost impossible to cross train successfully, too many choices and opportunities to fail. Luckily, my bosses were cool and not only forgave my incorrect decisions, but encouraged and helped, to make it easier to understand, use, and explain. With time, we widdled it down to 1 page then, half a page.
Looking back, I can see how as the fee structure became less cumbersome and intimidating, treatment coordinators began having financial conversations in clinic and the lobby, which allowed teammates to observe, learn and evolve to a place where even the newest teammate became comfortable discussing the smallest of fee’s like retainer replacement. The ability for everyone to have these conversations out in the open greatly helped getting and keeping family members and friends engaged, prior to them actually committing to treatment.
Would you like to have a confident, consistent, and well-trained team? Simplify. Repeat. Simplify and repeat.