Last week I wrote about four important questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is the phone being used to call patients?
- Are patients making their next appointment before they leave?
- Is the phone being answered correctly?
- Are appointments being made over the phone?
Here are three more questions you need to ask yourself:
5. Are cancellation calls being handled well on the phone?
When the people answering your phone know how to communicate effectively, they know how to prevent and reduce the number of cancellation calls coming into your Dental Office.
I mentioned last week about ensuring the patient’s appointment is set up properly and the patient understands their appointment is firm and the time has been reserved for them.
Avoid giving the patient the notion that at any point in the future it will be alright to change or cancel their appointment if they feel like it. The people at the Dental Office making appointments on the phone are often the ones giving patients the message that it is OK to cancel an appointment. Improving the way we communicate with our patients can change the importance and priority our patients have towards their appointments and prevent the cancellation calls.
6. Is the phone being used effectively to find out what patients need?
The number one question I am asked is what do you say if a person calls the Dental Office and wants to know the price.
My answer is to always let the caller know your fee, but not straight away.
A caller ringing for the price does want to know the price, like we all do, but they also want to know so much more before they can make a decision to choose your Dental Office and book an appointment.
Our job when we answer the phone, is to ask the right questions so we can find out what else they want to know other than the price.
It is amazing the outcome of a call when questions are asked after the caller asks for the price.
Taking the time to ask effective questions will increase your rapport with the caller so you can find out what they are really after rather than just the price. It gives you an opportunity to get the caller thinking about what is really important to them and then the fee will make more sense to the caller.
7. Is the phone being used to solve problems?
I believe there is a type of person who should be answering the phone in a Dental Office. We tend to focus on the person answering the phone being polite, kind and a good listener. I believe the person answering your phone should also be an excellent problem solver.
Most of the time when people call the Dental Office they have a dental issue that they need help with. Our job when we answer the phone is to ensure we find ways to sort out their problem and offer solutions.
Not knowing an answer to a question or problem should not mean the end of the call.
It should mean you find out how to help.
You want the people answering the phone to have done a lot of problem solving for the caller before they come in to see the dentist. Finding solutions to the caller’s problem means the caller will definitely want and need an appointment.
I believe the people answering your phones have a huge responsibility to solve problems and should be encouraged to do this.
Encouraging and educating the front office team to develop better phone communication skills so they can more effectively help your patients is becoming the changing role of the front office team. It is time for the people answering the phones in you business to be more empowered and better educated so they can care better for your patients.
Gone are the days when the front office answered the phone and were just friendly and polite. Our Front Office team need to be friendly, polite and so much more if our dental businesses are going to survive 2015 and beyond.
This blog features 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 two 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