How virtual consultations save time

How Virtual Consultations Save Time & Break Down Barriers with Dr. Brian Harris

On this week’s episode I speak with Dr. Brian Harris.

Brian is a Cosmetic Dentist in Phoenix, AZ known for his ability to create beautiful looking smiles but it’s HOW he communicates with his patients that has everybody talking. His creation of the Smile Virtual Consult has allowed people thousands of miles away get answers to their dental questions for free in an open, honest and convenient way. He has assembled a team of qualified cosmetic dentists from around the world to make this happen. He believes that the key to success in business is simple: “Ask people what they want, and find a way to make it happen.”

Practicing dentistry for the future

For the past several years I have said time and time again that most of us are practicing dentistry as if we’re in the 1980s.

Whether you went to school in the 70s, 80s or 90s, most of our teachers were from the 70s and 80s and they had a big impact on us.

The crazy thing is, we’re a few years away from 2020! The world has changed so much in the past few decades and it is continuing to change at a fast rate.

As dentists we need to become more modern and move with the times. We need to become more patient-centric. We need to break down barriers.  I’m not only talking about technology – I’m talking about having a mind-set that prepares us for 2020.

I was so happy to have Brian on the show to find out all about virtual consultations.

How virtual consultations work

I view consultations as a necessary evil! Most of us do them for free, most of us don’t schedule time in and so we do them in-between hygiene checks and restorative patients and we end up with a lot to do at one time.

Of course, we have to do consultations because it’s how we bring in new business and new patients.

As the Founder of Smile Virtual Consult, I invited Brian onto the show to talk about virtual consultations.  Brian explained that it all started with hygiene exams - where he would send his patients videos to explain the process and the pros and cons, options etc.  Then it developed into a platform showing dentists how to use social media to become an expert, how to take leads and convert them to virtual consults, then to in-person consults, and then treatment.

He obtains information from patients online, and then records consultations via video.

He can do about 4 in an hour and he can do them before the day starts so it doesn’t eat up production time. He spends a solid 10-15 minutes or so and tells the patient exactly what he wants them to hear, he shows before and after case examples, he goes through all the details and discusses the fees.  The great thing is, they can’t say anything back!!

He still does in-person consultations but when they come in for the in-person consultation they are already very well informed and they know the fees. Any awkward conversations have been had and when they are in the chair they are ready to buy.

The doctor is given the opportunity to provide all of the information that they need.

The patient watches the recoded consultation when they have time.  There is no pressure at all.

The video consultation lives forever and can even be shared with family members. There are so many advantages.

The patient response to virtual consultations 

How virtual consultations save time

With consultations you have to consider the dentist and the patient.

From a new patient’s perspective, with in-person consults we ask them to come in, they haven’t met us before, and we want their time and their money. There are barriers to break down with patients.

When I asked Brian what the patient response has been like to virtual consults he said it has been unreal.

Patients love it because you’re giving away your expertise and time for free – this helps build trust and credibility. They are blown away!

It’s not just your time, it’s the patient’s time

It’s so important to think about your patient’s time. In a consultation the doctor and patient face-to-face time might be 5-20 minutes max.

The patient, however, has to put aside possibly 1-2 hours out of their day for the consultation – they leave work, travel, fight the traffic, park, potentially wait because the appointments are running late, travel back to work… this is not insignificant.

With video consultations patients are getting answers to their questions, in their time.

Undivided attention

When you perform a consultation on video your patient has your undivided attention. You are giving them all the information that you can, without any other distractions. You are fully present. 100% engaged because you are doing nothing else other than presenting to them.

The atmosphere is totally different to consulting with patients whilst also dealing with many other things going on in the practice.

Performing video consultations is something that you could do at home. So you can totally cut out any distractions from the practice. You are 100% focussed on that one patient.

Brian explained that he’s often performed consultations at home, wearing casual clothes (he’s even had interruptions from his kids) and his patients love this. They see him as a real person and someone they warm to.

What you need from the patient to complete virtual consultations

Brian explained that he needs three things – a photo, what they want to change, and their email address.

You don’t have to worry too much about the photograph quality - it’s not about the photograph it’s about the opportunity. It’s about getting in front of people, developing trust, and answer patient questions.

He asked patients one question – tell me what you want to change about your smile?

The more questions you ask the more barriers you create, that one question is all you need.

His virtual consults tend to be 5 minutes customized for the patient and 8-10 minutes reusing existing cases and showing different options for them.  After that, there is an automated follow-up process.

The key to success

Stop telling patients what they need, and start asking them what they want. Doctor’s need to learn how powerful that is. Find a way to meet them where they are at, and your practice will change forever.

This allows you to do the kind of dentistry that you love doing, and enables you to create a lifestyle that you desire.

Smile Virtual Consult training

If you’d like to learn more about Smile Virtual Consult, membership and the training course available for dentists then click here

You can use the promo code TBONE to save $250 on the course!

To see what patients see and how they can book a virtual consult just click here

To get in touch with Brian his preference is via Instagram @drbrianharris

For questions regarding Smile Virtual Consult email jenn@smilevirtualconsult.com

About the Author Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal represents the next generation of leadership for the dental profession. As a respected speaker, author and opinion leader, he is changing the way general dentists and their teams practice.

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