As a Plan Forward client success manager, I have had the chance to speak with several dental practices throughout 2020. Our conversations always surround the pandemic and focus on what each office is experiencing and how their membership programs are being impacted. The most interesting part is hearing the different approaches taken. Where one might say their plans are suffering because of Covid, still another will boast about the succuss they have had.
Winston Churchill was once quoted saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” While the words might sound a bit harsh the sentiment is sound. This is a time of opportunity! I would encourage all offices to not view the pandemic to be a hindrance but a catalyst. Push boundaries, evolve your practice and improve your membership plan (Or start one). So, let me share a few of our best practices to help adjust your thinking and help you plan forward.
First, advertise the heck out of your membership program! Do this internally and externally. What does that mean? Internally is talking with anyone who comes into the office, it doesn’t just have to be a patient! That UPS driver knows someone that needs one of your membership plans. Make sure your team is talking about it, or even better, give them pins that mention it. Post it on your website (front and center – don’t hide it), share it on your social media pages and in any and all email signatures.
Display membership information in high traffic areas around your office, operatory rooms, checkout counters and even restrooms. Where do you have your patient’s captive attention? Maybe as they are staring straight ahead for their x-rays! Perhaps you have TVs displaying different information or entertainment, make a little commercial or info screen.
If you have an enrollment link, like Plan Forward provides, utilize this to your full advantage. Include it in appointment reminders with a catchy caption like “No insurance, no problem!” Be sure to hyperlink your enrollment page to the appointment reminder to give your patients more detail. This is the perfect time to remind them that you have an in-house membership plan created specifically for them. The membership plans are a HUGE health benefit for them, make sure they know it!
Checkout is one of the best times to get a patient signed up for your membership plan. Sure, it is easy to say, “We have our membership plan if you are interested?” But be more strategic about it. Bundle the total benefits and cost savings so it is more impactful to the patient. Explain in detail what your plan covers and provide a side-by-side comparison of the total savings. By showing them the cost of what they would pay for treatment as an uninsured patient versus someone who joins your membership plan, the chances of gaining a new member increases tremendously.
Finally, one of the most important factors is making sure your team is completely onboard with your membership program. Everyone should be an advocate. It is probably obvious the team knows the benefits for your patients, but do they know how it directly impacts their office? Help them understand this by making your membership plan a meeting agenda item. Share the success stories, new member enrollments, as well as challenges and feedback. Set goals as a group, incentive program work well too! If the office hits their monthly enrollment goal; free lunch or a small gift card for all.
At the end of the day, Covid has not been fun for anyone and has brought many challenges. However, with these challenges we must adapt and find the silver lining. Regarding membership programs, the number one common element in our most successful practices is an engaged team. So, I encourage you to implement these few best practices, evolve together, and Let’s Plan Forward!