A lot of people stress the importance of having clear communication.
Clear communication is great, sure. But what exactly is it?
As the office manager, I spend my day relaying information. I am the liaison, the messenger, between everyone. There are countless number of people who come in contact with this office everyday, and it’s my job to stay on top of them all. I have to get a lot of things done correctly, the FIRST time. Time is money and I don’t want to waste either!
In order for me to communicate clearly, I’m going to give you an example to explain my point. I’m a HUGE fan of sharing my scripts with you because I want to give you ACTUAL tools to use in their office. (I’m NOT a fan of spouting fluff!)
One of the 3 ways we confirm patients is with a phone call the day before an appointment. A few years ago, I started changing what I say to patients. I’ve watched the number broken appointments decrease over time just by slightly changing my script to something more effective.
Here’s exactly what I say…
Me: Hello Christine! This is Missy from Dr. Fryer’s office. How are you?!
Christine: I’m great! Thanks!
Me: Good! I am calling to confirm that we have 10:00a.m. tomorrow reserved just for you with Dr. Fryer.
Christine: Oh-that’s right! I’ll be there!
Me: Thanks! See you tomorrow!
That’s it. Clear and effective communication that really sends a message. That one statement says a whole lot, doesn’t it?
I use the word “confirm” because it’s reminding the patient of an agreement. Obviously, I also mention the time. I include the word “reserve” because even though a reservation and an appointment essentially mean the same thing, a reservation holds a higher regard in the patient’s mind. Notice HOW I tell the patient that her time is reserved “just for her and Dr. Fryer”. I want to drive the point home that Dr. Fryer is going to be here and ready to see her at that time.
There’s a lot of value and meaning in that one statement. There’s a reason why I say all of that like I do (an actual method to my madness!) – and that’s because it works! We have very few patients no-show on our office, but trust me, that didn’t happen over night.
We have consistency in our office with these things through actual written scripts and scenarios. (In fact, we have everything written down for everything we do, but I’ll save that for another blog!) No one here just ‘wings it’ on the phone. When a doctor sits down to do some fillings, there is a sequence to the procedure that he/she follows every time. There is certainly no ‘winging it’! The front desk should follow a similar sequence and order every time!
Communication to patients should be planned, meaningful, and effective.
How clearly does your staff communicate?