Tina Wixon, regional support manager at Practice Plan, explores the myths surrounding the process of switching to a new plan provider
In my role, I regularly hear from practices who are experiencing small niggles of dissatisfaction with their current membership plan provider. However, whilst the thought of switching provider is appealing, they often continually delay making the move as they see the change(s) it would entail as too much to manage.
In these cases, although a practice owner is ready to make the switch away from their existing plan provider, their perception of how much hassle it will cause them, the team and the business, may hold them back from even investigating a potential change. If you then add to that the thought of getting the team members and patients onboard, it’s easy to see how some procrastinate to the point that they never reach a final decision.
The great news is that often these fears about making such a change are based on myths and that, actually, by choosing the right plan provider, the transition can be much more straightforward than first thought and bring huge benefits to your business. Below I have shared the common myths that can prevent practices from making the move to a new plan provider and explained how they are inaccurate:
Myth one: I’ll lose too many patients
In my experience, that simply doesn’t happen and our practices tell us that the vast majority of patients switched over within the first few months. People often feel this way because they underestimate patients’ loyalty to their dentist, which can be a key factor in them staying with the practice. However, it is also vital to clearly communicate the change to your patients so that they understand what’s happening, why and what it means to them.
Myth two: It will be too much hassle
When considering a new provider, ask them how much they can support you in this process, you might be pleasantly surprised. Our practices often tell us that they really appreciated our hands-on approach when it came informing patients of the change, eg in terms of the paperwork and mailing. They found it to be a seamless transition with minimal impact on their workload.
Myth three: It will lead to confrontation with patients
In line with the first two points, clear communication to patients, which a quality provider should be more than willing to help with, will go a long way to mitigating any confrontation. Some patients may still want to have a conversation and ask questions about the change; but this is nothing to fear if your team is well versed in the reasons behind the move. I provide training, both when I begin working with a new practice and throughout our partnership, about the benefits of our plans and how to answer patient enquiries about the change.
Myth four: I won’t be able to offer the same kind of plan
Changing your provider doesn’t necessarily mean changing the plans your patients are on. Whilst you might want to take advantage of the opportunity to offer something new, and this may even be the instigator for moving away from your previous provider, it’s understandable to also want to maintain some level of consistency. We are often asked about, and able to oblige, with offering like-for-like plans.
Any change can be scary, but hopefully by dispelling these myths you might find it easier to embrace and begin taking the first steps in a new direction that could provide you with the partner you’re looking for and bring new benefits to your business.