My recent visit to New York has been many things, including a gourmet experience.
With dining out, we have constantly been making decisions on where to eat and what to order. Before making the final decision we would do our homework, reading reviews, looking at locations and checking what our friends thought if they had eaten there.
This sounds exactly like what a patient does before they call a Dental Office for the first time.
Often we would call ahead and comment if the person taking the call was helpful, especially if the restaurant was fully booked.
Once we arrived at the restaurant it was always fascinating to watch and listen to the engagement of the staff that would seat us, take our order, bring our food, clear our dishes and take our money.
Of course this is a pre-occupational I have…… in situations like this I’m always listening to what people say and how they say things.
I know that most of this listening wasn’t while I was on the phone, but it got me thinking about our Dental Office Phone conversations and how similar they really are to what goes on at a restaurant.
Well I know it seems like a stretch but stay with me!
Is choosing a Dental Office much different to choosing a restaurant?
You want the right experience, value for your money and for everything to be just right.
The first point of contact is the phone call to make a reservation at the restaurant. It’s just like a phone enquiry at the Dental Office. How the call is managed creates that first impression and gives you an opportunity to create a positive experience for the customer.
In the same way as booking a restaurant table there are a series of very important questions to cover when patients call the Dental Office. Without the right questions you could make a booking for the wrong number of people in the restaurant, in just the same way that a patient who needs more time with the Dentist could be booked in for the wrong type of appointment.
It is interesting that none of the restaurants we contacted or completed an online booking with asked us whether our booking was for any special occasion. Now I know this may seem a little weird to be asking someone ringing to make a Dental Appointment, but it could be very relevant if they are enquiring about something cosmetic?
Knowing something about your new patient before they arrive for their appointment is definitely a powerful thing.
I was interested to see how the person on the phone at the restaurant would handle the situation if the restaurant was fully booked. Recommending a wait list was great even though calling it the Priority List would have made me feel more confident that I was not going to be waiting too long. This is a great phrase for the Dental Office as well. It makes you feel all is under control and things will happen for you very soon.
When we were taken to our table and greeted by our server there were times when we had to ask our server’s name. Making sure you always let the caller know who they are speaking to is a must in the Dental Office.
The next part of our Restaurant Service was always quite interesting to me and I believe impacted greatly on the success of the night.
These were the questions asked by our waiters while we were ordering our meals and beverages. Similarly, these questions needed to be just like the questions asked on the phone when finding out the needs of our patients before their appointment.
In a restaurant the server has the opportunity to ask:
“Would you like this or that with your dinner?”
“How hungry are you?”
“Have you had a great day?”
“I can also bring out some……”
“You might like to try….”
“Is this a special occasion tonight?”
Suggesting ways for the dinner to be even more enjoyable is always a great way to go and patrons love this!
In a Dental Office, we can do the same thing. We can be suggesting ways to make the Dental Appointment comfortable and easy for the patient.
We can be asking:
“Is this something you have been wanting to get started with for a while?”
“Is there anything else you think I should know before we make your appointment?”
“Is there anything else you are concerned about?”
Asking your callers questions to get them thinking and considering other things is a key ingredient (excuse the pun) to running a successful Restaurant and to running a successful Dental Office. Spend the time, ask the questions, and be surprised with the answers and results that you achieve in your business.
This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Dental Office, impacting immediately on your Patients’ Dental Phone Experiences, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.
At present I have availability for four new private clients. For more information on how I can improve your Dental Office’s Phone Numbers contact me, Jayne Bandy at jayne@theDPE.com