Office Manager Interview: What Does It Take To Be A Successful Dental Warranty Practice?

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Meet Dana Laux, a veteran office manager from Nashville, Tennessee.  Besides running a very busy, very productive office, Dana also makes sure that her office achieves an average Dental Warranty acceptance of 85% per month.  (That means that at least 8 out of 10 of her patients choose to purchase 5 year coverage with Dental Warranty.)

We recently recorded an interview with Dana, which we used in a presentation to the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC).  In this 15 minute interview, you will discover:

Why her doctor uses Dental Warranty (even though his work rarely fails)

  • Why Dana was originally skeptical of Dental Warranty, but what changed her mind
  • The language she uses when presenting the warranty option to patients
  • The keys to her high acceptance rate for treatment and the warranty coverage

For your convenience, we have included the audio (click the play button below), and a transcript of the interview below. 

This Office Will Use Dental Warranty to Profit At Least $31,000 This Year With No Additional Chair Time

Parker Ence: I am here with Dana Laux and she is the office manager for Doctor Tommy Nabors – they are a cosmetic and general practice in Nashville, Tennessee. We invited Dana on because of all the offices that we work with; Doctor Nabor’s is one of the offices that do consistently well just about every month. On average they have 85% of their patients purchase a five-year dental warranty through us, which is great. Definitely puts them in the top tier of practices that we work with. What that means financially for the practice is that they are averaging about $2600 in take home profit per month. And that, of course, is after all of the fees that are coming to Dental Warranty. Their best month was $3500 – so, again very consistent. So, Dana thank you so much for being on with us. Dana wasn’t available during the webinar so we are pre-recording this.

Dana Laux: Thank you Parker. 

“At First I Was Skeptical, But Dental Warranty Was One of the Best Business Decisions We’ve Ever Made”

(01:23) PE: So, what I wanted to start with is that I know when you first came across the idea of Dental Warranty and having a protection plan available in the office, that initially you really didn’t love the idea. So maybe just tell us a little about what your first reaction was, what you were concerned about and then how that kind of evolved over time.

DL: Ok. Well Parker, as you remember years ago, when you approached me about Dental Warranty, I just felt like it was another thing and checking out at the register at Walgreens and they ask – would you want to take out this warranty on whatever item you are purchasing and so I just felt like it was an add-on that was not really of value.

PE: So then how did that kind of evolve?

Thumbs Up on White Background

DL: So then, Doctor Nabors and I were talking and we said that Parker has really stuck with us and touched base over the years – we really need to give this a try. And so October 2013 we decided to go ahead and implement Dental Warranty in our practice and it actually turned out to be one of the best decisions that we have made. It’s been wonderful for the practice and the patient. 

Dental Warranty’s Effect on the
Practice-Patient Relationship

(02:47) PE: So can you give me a little more detail on that just for people who are not familiar with how it all works? What benefits have you seen on the practice side?

DL: For the practice, what it’s done is that the patients that may have broken a crown or we had a patient whose dog jumped up and hit her in her mouth and broke her veneer. Dr Nabors would normally remake that at no charge, but now the practice is actually getting paid for it. So that’s been phenomenal for us, and for the patient coverage, not having that awkward conversation. If it is one where you know that it is totally on the patient and not the practice, how to cover that – it has only been two years, you are going to have to pay for this crown or veneer, whatever it may be.

I’m A Dentist Whose Work Rarely Breaks,
Why Should I Use Dental Warranty?

(03:44) PE: Ok, Dana I know that sometimes when doctors are first looking at this they kind of wonder – should I do this if I do high quality dentistry and maybe they don’t feel like they have a lot of re-dos, repairs or remakes that they do on a regular basis. I ask you because I know that Doctor Nabors is highly skilled as a clinician, doesn’t have a lot of failures or things that are happening on a weekly basis. What other benefits have you seen from the program beyond just getting reimbursed from repairs or replacements?

DL: Well what it has done for us is take away all of the grey areas and so that’s made it like if you are on the fence on doing this re-do without charging the patient or charging them. Obviously, from a financial standpoint it has really been outstanding for the practice.

How Much Time Is Required for the Front Desk Team
to Implement Dental Warranty?

Hand with a stopwatch. Isolated on white background.

(04:42) PE: Ok, I know one question that we often get and I think you are specifically qualified to answer is what does it take to actually set this up and run it on a day-by-day basis? I was hoping you can describe from your perspective – you know, when you think about your day and all of the different things that you have to do to keep the office running – where does Dental Warranty plug into your day? Like where does it happen and kind of what do you do to make it happen?

DL: Ok, one thing that has made Dental Warranty a success in our practice is that every team member is on board with it. Everyone believes in it and so everyone is comfortable talking about it. And when the assistants or hygienists work up a treatment plan, we have already set up explosion codes in the computer. So if they put a crown on a treatment plan, it’s already going to attach a warranty to that. So then whenever I go to present a financial form which has been our golden ticket, is have the financial form where it is not itemised out, it just says – total treatment fees, estimated insurance benefits and the estimated patient portion and then what the treatment is. It has made it very simple and it makes it clear for the patient or not.

How We Get 85% Patient Acceptance…
What We Say When We Present Dental Warranty to Patients

(06:13) PE: When you are actually presenting it verbally to the patient, when you sit down and you are going through everything in their treatment plan – can you just give us an example of what you would actually say to the patient? If we are sitting down and I am the patient and you are presenting the treatment plan – how would you include the warranty in that conversation?

DL: Parker, for the build-up, crown and five-year dental warranty on the upper right back tooth - that is going to be a total of a thousand dollars. Your estimated insurance savings is three hundred dollars, figure estimated cost is going to be seven hundred. Do you have any questions?

PE: And then they take home the brochure so that they can look more into the coverage if they want to. But the verbal part is very simple – it sounds like it.

DL: Yes. We give them – when they get the treatment, is actually when they get the brochure. If they have any questions about Dental Warranty because the assistant or hygienist has introduced it to them in the room. So by the time they get in the consultation room for me to present to them on the financial form, it has already been spoken about. So it keeps it very simple because I have this easy pay option form that ToPS has…are you familiar with that? When I say this has been a golden ticket, this financial form has literally been a golden ticket for us.

How Does Dental Warranty Integrate With the
Treatment Plan and Financial Arrangements?

(08:06) PE: So, for those that don’t use it, my understanding is, from what I have seen, is instead of using a print out from Dentrix or some other software package, it basically kind of lists out all the treatments together at the top and it doesn’t go to big line item details and then it just gives them the total amounts and what their portions are and then their financing options. Is that correct?

DL: Yes.

PE: Ok cool. So you’re just including the warranty in that, the group of everything that is included in that treatment plan.

DL: Yes. Where it says “treatment includes….” then I will put crowns, build ups, five-year dental warranty, tooth number. We do have the treatment plan from the software printed out but a patient well rarely get it – I would say one per cent of the time somebody will ask for that. But we do not itemize out.

PE: Very interesting. That makes a lot of sense and I would say our practices that use that approach typically get very good results for not only Dental Warranty exceptions, but case exceptions.

Pretty senior patient checking out of the doctors office.

DL: Exactly, and where we learned it is periotherapy, when I was listing out the – when they come through and they get gum therapy, I was listing out home irrigator, you know the medication, everything single thing. And so they started picking and choosing them. And so, we had been through that and so with dental warranty, I said why can’t we – you’ll hear Karen say that we say it is the happy meal approach – why not just be like: ok I want that happy meal crown? And so that gives you the crown, the build up, the warranty.

PE: I love that – the happy meal crown. You know, I have thought about it in the past. Isn’t that how they do it in medical? I mean when you go in for surgery, they don’t say - well the surgery is this, and the plastic gloves cost this much, and the hospital this much. You know it is just all – hey we are going to fix your knee and then wow you are going to get a lot of mail.

DL: So why do we make it so complicated here? You are right – that’s exactly the same. It is like, this is the treatment we recommend and these are the costs. Because we see what a benefit dental warranty is on both sides.

What Does It Take To Be A Successful
Dental Warranty Practice?

(10:58) PE: So then – we have kind of talked about you’ve implemented it so that it is very consistent in the system so everybody gets presented with the option. And we have talked a little bit about the very simple verbiage that you use. You’ve mentioned that you make it a priority and the team makes it a priority so that everybody believes in it. Anything else that you’ve done that you feel has contributed to this success of – you know the consistent success - of Dental Warranty in your practice?

DL: Well, we have a system for everything. I mean every single thing that we have in the office, we have a system for. And we have found that if all the team members follow the system, then everything else just falls into place. And if you are doing the right things for the right reason, then you are successful.

Advice for Dental Teams Considering
Dental Warranty for the First Time

(11:54) PE: Ok, so if you were talking to another dental office that was looking into trying this out – what would you say to them? I mean this is an office that kind of knows what the purpose of Dental Warranty is but they are thinking about should we actually make the effort to try something new? Is it going to take a little more time for our office team? What would you tell them?

DL: Please don’t be reluctant like we were. Go ahead, jump in, make sure everybody is on board and talk to every single patient about it with every restorative, night guard, whatever treatment you are going to have with Dental Warranty in your office and just jump in, don’t wait.

What is the Learning Curve for
Implementing Dental Warranty?

Learning curve isolated in white background with pen.

(12:46) PE: And I guess this is the follow-up question to that. When you very first begun doing this, I mean how many times of presenting this to a patient do you think it took before you felt hey, this is kind of easy? I mean what was the kind of learning curve to say ok we’ve got this now?

DL: Well, one thing that is nice about getting it, are the reports at the end of the month. Just like in school when you get your report card, you want the best grades. Dental Warranty sends us over our reports and we are not satisfied unless it is an A. And so that makes it a lot easier to go ahead and you want to present it, you want to extend that to the patient. I would want to the service offered to me – you know – if I was somewhere and especially if I was on vacation or something, if I was not in Nashville and I had an issue, I don’t want to have to pay twice.

What Role Does Your Practice Consultant Play?

(13:56) PE: Well, thanks a lot Dana. I really appreciate this. These are dental consultants so could you just take speak for a moment towards what kind of what role Tanya had in helping you be successful in Dental Warranty?

DL: Sure. So Tanya is our office coach – well I call her our office coach. She is our practice advisor and she has continued to stay in touch with Dr Nabors and myself to continue to implement Dental Warranty in our practice. And so she reviewed with me how simple it would be if we just included it in our dental plans and did the financial form and she assured me would be seamless and boy was she right. Tanya has been amazing for our practice and implementing systems and this has been another "knock it out of the ballpark".

PE: And I know she will be very happy to hear that and I know she knows that. But she helped in kind of getting the system set up in the first place and is sure she helped by demonstrating some verbiage and those kinds of things too.

DL: Absolutely – the verbiage, the explosion codes, the financial forms: everything that’s made it work has totally been Tanya helping us do that. 

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