Here’s a question:
What are the two best ways to quickly annoy and lose patients?
The answer is:
Don’t answer your phone straight away or answer the phone like you don’t really care!
Let me share a story about what happened to me today.
This afternoon I visited my Doctor’s Surgery. As is customary, at the end of my appointment I was in reception, organizing payment for my visit. While I was standing to pay my bill and the receptionist was sitting processing my payment (I have never understood why so many Offices believe this *sit-stand relationship* is a good idea), the phone started to ring.
The ring tone was an interesting muted one that sounded as though it was intended for only dogs and cats to hear.
And it rang.
The Phone continued to ring while I stood there paying my bill.
This started to irritate me.
I am not too sure if it was the sound of the muted ring or the fact that the Receptionist appeared to not even be aware of the phone ringing?
I started to think that maybe she couldn’t hear it.
Surely if I could hear it she could too?
I kindly smiled and said to her that it was ok if she wanted to pick up the phone and take the call.
Expecting her to reply “Yes”, she smiled back and said:
“No, it’s OK”.
How can ignoring a phone call coming into your business be OK?
Was she crazy or maybe they had closed their books because they had enough patients to last the rest of their business life?
Maybe she had been told not to answer the phone while a patient was there in front of her?
Maybe she was just rude and ignored calls all day?
Then worse ……maybe her boss had no idea what she was doing?
I just couldn’t for the life of me imagine why someone who was hired as a Front Office Receptionist would think that ignoring a call was beneficial to the business?
What was her main goal when she arrived at work?
Was it to help all the patients and build the business she was working in?
Well that certainly wasn’t happening from what I could see.
I then smiled again, and said:
“No, seriously, it’s OK to answer the phone. It might be something urgent.”
She then gave me the same answer:
“No. It’s OK.”
The more and more I listened to this phone continuously ringing, the more I started to think about all the times in the past that I had called the surgery and was always put through to an answering machine. The message on their phone always began by letting me know if it was a medical emergency to call 000.
I was now very concerned at how many unnecessary calls were probably being connected to 000 Emergency.
As I stood there I wondered how many patients at the surgery, sitting in the waiting room, were thinking exactly what I was thinking? I am sure some of them could have their own businesses. Maybe they came to this Medical Surgery just to take notes and learn how to NOT answer the phone?
Well hang on… the phone was not being answered!
When the phone was eventually picked up the receptionist’s greeting was:
There was no mention of which surgery, no mention of whom you were speaking with, and no one was being asked, “how may I help you?”
The way the phone was being answered was as if it was an annoyance to her day.
Please don’t let this be happening in your Dental Office.
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 three 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