Answering the phone in a dental office is about helping people and finding solutions to problems.
At the end of the day, have we really helped our patients as much as we should have?
It is worthwhile evaluating how we help our patients.
Are we only doing what most other dental practices are doing?
Are we only doing just what our patients always expect?
Here is an idea. What would happen if you thought hard about how you help patients and took it that next step further?
Ask the questions that no one asks
On the phone we often believe we are helping our patients by answering all their questions and telling them everything we think they need to know and more and even more.
Try pulling back from answering questions straight away and going into continuous talk mode.
Think about the last time someone on the phone chewed you ear off by talking for an eternity.
Start asking questions to find out if there are other things the patient wants and needs to know.
It is a fact that we ask what we know to ask.
By asking patients on the phone questions they had not thought about we find out more, help them better, and go that next step further.
Listen when everyone else just tells
Look at how you communicate with your patient on the phone. Are you listening or are you guilty of being distracted and even doing something else while your patient is on the phone?
Be an active listener. A great way to keep check that you are an active listener is to ask the patient specific questions that force you to pay attention to the answer.
On the phone you are using one main sense, the sense of sound but it is always obvious when we are speaking to someone on the phone and they are not actively listening. Don’t let that be you with your patients on the phone.
It is so tempting when you are asked a question to answer the question fully.
It is much better to answer a patient’s question briefly or even ask your own questions first.
Don’t listen to your mother saying, “It is rude to answer a question with a question”.
I believe it is rude not to have enough information to then answer the initial question properly. One question does not usually give you enough information over the phone to best answer their question.
When patients ask questions we don’t ever want to overload them with information so keep it short and to the point.
Give your patient a chance to speak and let them speak for most of the call. If you do all the talking how do you know what they want?
Being an active listener will help you go that next step further.
Understand your patient when others just use robotic automated language
Have you ever called a business and you feel as though what they are saying is like some sort of robotic standard thing they say to everyone?
Have a think about how you speak on the phone.
Is it a bit stiff?
Is it automated?
Does it lack your authentic self?
How much do you sound comfortable, confident and friendly? It really is just practice. Try practicing on total strangers when you are out and about.
Again, asking great questions can give you the unique and personal communication you need with your patients on the phone.
You never want your patients to feel rushed on the phone unless they want their call to be short and sweet.
Take your time, listen carefully, ask questions specific to your patient’s needs and make a connection and you will go that next step further.
Find a solution where others have built a brick wall
This is another scenario that happens too often.
A question is asked and there is no attempt to find a solution or something close to it.
The patient on the phone will always appreciate your efforts if you find a solution or offer another way to help them.
Be creative when looking for a solution. Sometimes you can offer something completely different and the patient will accept the offer.
Don’t be afraid and be locked in to what you think the patients wants. They will soon let you know if it is not a suitable solution to their problem.
Presuming what your patient knows and wants is very dangerous!
Find a solution and go that next step further.
Offer to go out of your way where others would never
Once you start thinking out of the box and do the unexpected it will be noticed and appreciated and most likely talked about at many a dinner party.
As you start to find ways to give more to your patients it will become second nature and be effortless, and your patients will appreciate the effort, tell people and keep returning to you because you go that next step further.
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