The Law of Exclusivity states that most people want what few people can get.
Think about it, you always want access to the exclusive places, and things to which only “the few” have access.
Here’s a variation on an idea that will help make your key appointments more “exclusive” and more highly valued by your patients.
Critical ingredients of the “exclusive” pre-paid appointment.
- Determine the benefits to the patient of having a pre-paid appointment: More value is placed on their appointment time. You are reserving the time “exclusively” for them. They will have more comfort knowing that they are important enough that you take their time seriously. Additionally, consider the benefit to the practice: Fewer cancellations and more committed patients. Be clear on your purpose AND the benefits to your patients so that you design a system that gets the result that you want.
- Pick a dollar amount or appointment length for which you have your patients pre-pay. The longer the appointment length, the more of your time you are dedicating to them and the more “exclusive” that appointment should be. A commitment from them is certainly reasonable. For example, when you make reservations at a high-end hotel, if you will be checking in after 6 PM, your first night is paid for in advance. Why? Because they are setting aside a valuable resource, a room, especially for you. If you are not there by 6, they would rather sell that room to someone else in case you don’t show. So, if you want the “exclusive” privilege and convenience of a guaranteed room reservation, you get the opportunity to pay for it in advance.
- Here is some verbiage that you might want to consider for positioning the exclusive, pre-paid appointment:
“Mrs. Jones, your next appointment for your _________ will be for two hours. In order to reserve that time exclusively for you on the doctor’s schedule, there is a reservation fee today of $_____ that will be applied to your total amount due. You are welcome to use any major credit card or a check. Which of those would be most convenient for you today?”
The implied message is that they are buying the “exclusive” time of the doctor. It sheds a whole new light on everything. At first they thought they were just “buying” the treatment. A pre-paid reservation signals exclusivity of the time of the expert. It sends a higher-level message and engages your patients in an additional way.
- You can extend another level of convenience by offering the following: “Mrs. Jones, many of our patients like the convenience of taking care of their balance for the treatment on the same card so they don’t have to worry about payment on the day of treatment. We usually take care of that on the Monday before your appointment. Does that work OK for you?”
The more you can separate the payment from the appointment, the better. That way, patients don’t get the “financial flu” on the day of treatment! Remember, you want to send the message that what they are reserving and buying is “exclusive” time, not just dental treatment.
The most valued commodity today that people have is their time. When you take their time seriously and make your time “exclusive” your patient will value you, your practice and your time more highly.
Benefit from the Law of Exclusivity by making everyone’s time more exclusive: Yours and your patients. They will treat you better, respect you more, and follow through when you and your time are “exclusive.”