Do you hear that sound? That’s more than your phone ringing- that’s OPPORTUNITY knocking at your door.
The way your telephone is answered often determines whether the caller will take the next step and schedule an appointment……. or not.
How important is that first contact that a patient has with your office? In four (4) seconds a caller will determine if she/he likes YOU, if YOU are friendly, if YOUR office is professional, if she/he will have fun… or fear, if she/he is making the correct choice. All the greatness in skill and service you offer will be judged by the caller in the first contact with the person who answers the telephone for you. Your entire image, and all you worked to achieve, will be projected there and then. YOU are reflected in her/his image.
It should be pre-determined whose job it is to be the first person to answer the telephone, and when that’s not possible, who’s next and so on. Any team member that can answer the phone must be trained in the telephone protocol of the dental practice. Give them the training! And make that “phantom call” every once in a while to hear what your patient hears.
An office has to have a “script” for answering the telephone. Whomever does answer the phone must follow the practice’s telephone protocol.
Here is a complete, professional, and friendly protocol:
1. The Welcome (Make it fun, unique, and memorable.)
2. Identify the Office (Office name and doctor(s))
3. Identify the Speaker (Sound like you are happy and excited to take the call.)
4. Call to Action
And here is a simple example you can adapt (customize):
“It’s a great day here at Dr. Smiths’ ‘Healthy Smiles’.
This is Susan; how may I help you today?”
This seems so obvious that you may wonder why I bother to post this. I post this because nine out of ten dental offices I call still answer with something as mundane as, “Doctor’s Office”.
THE NEXT STEP
1. “Would you spell your name for me please?”
2. "In case we get disconnected may I have your phone number?"
After giving you this information, a rapport will be established and the caller will feel engaged.
3. "Which one of our patients referred you?" (Useful information and a subliminal promotion.)“That’s great! They’re one of our favorites. We’ll have to thank them.'"
”We ask that question because so many of our patients are referred by others." "We hope you will be doing that, too."
4. Ask the REASON FOR THE CALL
"Are you seeing us to establish a new relationship or do you have a specific concern or problem?"
5. Get the INSURANCE INFORMATION
6. Get any Needed MEDICAL INFORMATION
"Is there anything in your medical history that would influence your dental treatment?"
7. End the call on a high note, telling the patient how excited you are to meet them.
No matter how "busy" you may be, there will always be enough time to create a great memorable FIRST IMPRESSION.