We feel that BUILDING value should be done INTENTIONALLY by the front desk throughout the call.
But, how do we build value?
Most new patients call your office to make their first appointment. Some of those patients have seen your website or your social media or have heard about you from their friends and family, but most don’t really know why your practice is so wonderful or why they should choose your office.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Over the phone, someone can’t see your face, so how can you make them FEEL good about calling your business? What do you think that sounds like? Have you ever had a phone experience with a business that made you feel REALLY glad that you called them? Have you ever had a phone experience with a business that made you NOT want to engage any further with them? I’m sure you’ve had both.
Every time the phone rings, it should be answered calmly and with a smile. Always keep in mind that it might be a new patient calling, and be mentally ready to take a new patient through a great phone call experience. If it isn’t a new patient, be sure to give them patience and kindness as well.
When a new patient calls your practice, it is up to the front desk team to convey to the patient that he/she has contacted a great office that can help. This is done by handling the call in such a way that the patient FEELS good about calling your office. The way this is done is by speaking in a calm, friendly, and reassuring manner. Saying things like, “You’ve called a great office!” or “You’ll love Dr. Smith. She’s so gentle!” go a long way in having the patient feel good about calling your office.
It is the responsibility of that front desk team member to convey how wonderful the office is through her voice, carefully chosen words, and disposition. The team member has to become MORE than just a voice on the other end of the phone. That team member must do enough to have the patient realize that the office is a wonderful and capable dental practice.
Every time a new patient calls, we have the OPPORTUNITY to create production for the practice. We take that seriously. The responsibility of the front office team is to recognize the call as an opportunity and turn it into an appointment. The person answering the phone should build practice value throughout the call and guide the caller into making an appointment.
There will be many instances when, over the phone, callers will launch into their long and winding “dental story” which may include something that did or didn’t happen at another office, or a retelling of a traumatic dental event from 30 years ago. Some of this information may be important to know about the future patient, and some of it may be unnecessary. It is important for the front desk team not to be sucked into an unnecessary 30–minute conversation. It would be WONDERFUL if callers could be DIRECT and SUCCINCT and say, “Hello, I would like to be a new patient at your office because I have a tooth issue. May I please make an appointment for next week?” In actuality, many callers have a difficult time with this direct communication. Instead, the call sometimes goes like this. “I got your name from a coworker…but I can’t remember her name. Gee…what IS her last name? Oh my…I’ve worked with her for 5 years and I can’t remember her name. Anyway, 10 years ago, this dentist did a root canal on my tooth, and it’s hurting me now. My sister had a root canal done by a different dentist when she was in college and her tooth is fine. Do you know why mine hurts? What can I do to make it feel better?” Whoa..that caller is all over the place, isn’t she? Clearly, she has a dental need. Clearly, she is looking at the front desk for answers. Clearly, there is NO way the front desk can x this caller’s tooth or in this case even give too much advice about it.
But, what the front desk team CAN do, is reassure the caller that the doctor is fantastic and that the office will be able to help her when she comes in for an appointment. The front desk must be aware that the call is getting off track in order to bring it back on track.
Be sure to put all new patient phone call conversation notes into the practice management software.