Thank your Dental Assistant this week!

From the American Dental Association news.

It’s that time of year to thank the assistants who help your practice succeed.

Dental offices throughout the world will celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week March 4–10.    The theme for this year’s event is “Key to Productivity: The Professional Dental Assistant.

 Each year, dentists take a week to honor dental assistants for their role on the dental team, recognizing their broad spectrum of duties and highlighting their often unheralded contribution to quality dental care. The American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics all join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.

“Dental assistants are valued members of the dental team. The role of assistants has become even more important in recent years with the advent of expanded functions,” said Dr. Mark Zust, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “More than ever, assistants achieve professional growth by studying and receiving advanced training. Dentists delegate more procedures and assistants take pride in their accomplishments.”

Dental assistants will celebrate their contributions to the profession by participating in educational and charity events and other team activities. Dentists typically show their respect for dental assistants’ diverse contributions to the dental profession and the public by providing perks such as luncheons, flowers or treats.

“Dental assistants show their value by providing everything from supportive procedures to direct patient care through expanded functions, which boosts productivity. The assistant provides a valuable connection with the patient; it is often the assistant that the patient turns to when they have questions, the assistant who explains the finances and the assistant who keeps the patient calm during treatment,” said Claudia Pohl, president of the American Dental Assistants Association.

KNOCK KNOCK! It’s a New Patient….

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.