Many plastic surgeons believe the best time to provide cost information is at the consultation appointment.
But failing to provide accurate price ranges to consumers prior to consult has negative effects...
- Inefficient use of MD time
- Inefficient use of staff resources
- Better-qualified patients can't get in soon enough
- Lower patient satisfaction at consult
In results from 3,228 surveys of post-consult patients in 118 practices, 70% of the patients who scheduled surgery were given a fee quote that was exactly what they expected or less.
When patients receive a fee quote that is higher than they expect, their likelihood to schedule decreases by 50%.
Example: In the mature solo practice below, all aspects of the consultation experience were rated well above the national benchmark. But more than half (53%) of their consult patients received a fee quote that was higher than expected.
The solution? Clearly communicate costs and set expectations before consult, and more patients will schedule surgery.
3 Tips for Setting Cost Expectations Prior to Consult
- Make it a policy to quote fees over the phone every time. If pricing is a standard part of the conversation, you’ll know that every patient who comes in the door can afford your fees.
- Don't wait for the caller to ask about fees. Be proactive - ask the caller if they need information about the price range or if they’re interested in financing options.
- Include information on your website about the price ranges for each procedure. Not only you are setting expectations, but you are ALSO gaining a competitive advantage for SEO. Cost information is one of the primary keywords patients use while researching their procedure. Be sure to use the keywords "price" and "cost" in the content and page title.
Do you understand the correlation between your front desk staff and your surgery schedule? According to patient feedback 21% more patients 21% more patients (68%) are highly likely to schedule with the assistance of a knowledgeable staff. While patients who are just satisfied with the knowledge of the staff are only 47% highly likely to schedule.
What to do?
- Take the time and opportunity to educate your staff about your procedures.
- Schedule Lunch ‘n Learn sessions once a month.
- Each session should focus on one procedure.
- Review the ins and outs, techniques, patient objections and recuperation time.
- Use your before and after book to educate your staff on patient selection
- Staff should read the procedure brochures
The time you invest in your staff will create a win/win situation for everyone.
Word clouds are a great tool for understanding what’s important to your patients.
Here’s an example:
From the dashboard, we exported the comments report into a plain text file and then copied the words into the free word cloud tool on Wordle.net. The size of the word represents the frequency with which it is used. For this practice, feeling “comfortable” is highly valued by their patients.
What can you do with a word cloud?
- Blog about the things you do to make patients comfortable
- Add graphic to your website on your RPR comments page
- Send the graphic as a post-consult touch point
- Have in-service with your staff about words that are important patients
- Create a post card of this graphic and use it to write notes to patients
Are you timely in consultation or do you tend to run a few minutes late?
The data from 700 post-consult patients indicates that when you respect their time they are highly likely to choose your practice for their surgery needs.
If you run chronically late, first evaluate your scheduling templates. Are you allowing enough time to meet patients needs? Or are you overscheduling, which creates a less than desirable experience in the office. Create a win-win situation by adjusting your schedule to allow for a smooth patient day.