Why do some patients make an appointment when they ring the Dental Office and some patients do not make an appointment?
When a patient rings the Dental Office they usually have a Dental Concern or Problem. The callers also have different levels of readiness, different levels of urgency, and different levels of concern.
Our duty of care and our job when a caller rings our Dental Office is to determine where their level of readiness is and help them find a way to overcome their Dental Concerns or problems.
The best way to ensure this duty of care is to make sure they have an Appointment at the end of the call.
Have we failed the caller if they don’t make an appointment?
I believe we have.
We have failed to help the caller.
Then why are we able to help some callers but not all callers?
When the caller is on the phone we have to become part of their decision making straight away. If you don’t become part of this decision-making then what we find is that you usually don’t make them an Appointment.
You see, the caller has made the first decision about their Dentistry by ringing *our* Dental Office firstly and not the one down the road.
The Next Five Steps To Making A Decision
- The caller will work through what their problem is regarding their Dental needs. Your role in this step is to ask questions that help the caller talk about their Dental concerns and why they have called you.
- The caller will then look at all the things that may be in their way of getting started.
- The caller will often want options to assist their decision-making.
- The caller will think about the various options and choose the best one.
- The caller will finally make their decision.
When you answer the calls in your Dental Office you want to become part of this process of decision-making. You want to ensure that the process does happen and the caller makes the very best decision so you can help them.
What we say and ask on the phone will guide the caller to making an appointment.
You want to imagine that eventually the caller lets you hold their hand in the decision making process. Holding their hand while making a decision probably won’t happen straight away so what you say and ask on the Phone call is very important.
The caller wants you to listen and understand, and have empathy. Letting patients know that other people have been in their same situation is often reassuring to them.
When the caller does not make an appointment it is because we have not said and asked the right things and not earned their trust.
Every office does need to know what to say and ask a caller to be able to make an appointment.
You need to be actively part of the caller’s decision. I believe the caller wants your feedback and help in not just making their appointment but helping them make the decision to make the appointment.
Next time the Phone rings think about what you are saying and asking the caller. Become part of the caller’s decision. Don’t just passively listen without helping them because if that’s all you do then you have not helped them at all!
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