How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Hello Dental Friends,

Is an article really necessary on how to answer the telephone? Absolutely!  This one is key to your success. All of your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing the potential patient or aggravating current patients due to poor telephone skills and habits. Your entire team (clinical & admin) should be trained on how to properly answer the phone and handle the call. Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!

tips on answering dental office phone betty hayden consulting

Here are a few tips:

  • Smile before you pick up the phone.
  • Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  • Answer the phone with a thank you for calling, identify the office and give your name. (ex: Thank you for calling Dr.Smiles, this is Betty. I can help you)
  • Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail (or a busy signal!) during business hours (including lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
  • Never, ever answer the phone with “hold please” or “can you hold?”! Take a quick second, find out who they are and what they need. People hate to be put on hold. If you are habitually needing to put callers on hold, you need more people answering the phones.
  • For the few times when you do need to put a caller on hold – please, consider having a great message on hold service. Here’s why: Should I Use A Message On Hold Service?
  • Get the caller’s name and use it often. Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source!). “What type of insurance do you have?” shouldn’t be the first thing you ask. In fact, let the caller bring that part up. Your goal is to build a relationship with the caller, to get to know them and their expectations.
  • Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many office’s I have called as a “shopper” and was never offered an appointment.
  • There are words/phrases that should never be used on a call. Make a list of the words/phrases you want to eliminate from the office vocabulary.

Set aside some time to meet together as a team – everyone in the office should be trained on how to not only answer the phones but they should know how to handle the calls. At the very least, professionally & courteously direct the caller to someone who can help. Role play will help all to feel more comfortable handling different types of calls.

Worried about your team members sounding like robots on the phone? Don’t be. This is what you do, create as a team, Telephone Principles (your goals & expectations for each call.)

Firm In Principle – Flexible in Procedure

The procedure may vary but the principles remain the same. This will allow the team member’s to customize their words to the individual caller’s. However, professionalism is always a must!

A few more things to consider during your meeting and training with your team:

What times are your phones being answered? Examine whether or not the times you’re actually available to answer the office phone is when your patients and potential patients are actually available to call the office.

What happens after hours? Ringing? Voice Mail? Answering Service? Here’s your chance to exceed expectations by answering the office phone after hours! (Forward calls to a cell phone.)

The Greeting – First impressions matter!!

Shopper Callers – Great opportunity! Typically, the shopper caller has a need and is ready to “buy”, that’s why they are “shopping”.  Don’t blow it by refusing to quote fees over the phone. By all means, offer them to come in for a complimentary consultation.

Insurance Questions – (Have a great response to: “Do you take —-ins?)

Wrong Numbers – offer an appointment anyway.

Sales Calls – Be kind, they’re just doing their job. Maybe they need an appointment. Plus, you don’t know who they know. It’s simple – always be kind.

Moms calling for donations or any organization that asks for donations – Empower your team to fulfill their request. At the very least, offer them an appointment.

Certainly, handling the phones is a big responsibility but it’s an even bigger privilege. Don’t miss out on any opportunities to set your office apart from the others by always exceeding the caller’s expectations.

 If you have questions about how to successfully handle telephone calls or need help training your team, don’t wait, ask for help. I’m ready to help you. If not me, there are many other excellent dental professionals out there that are ready to help.

Be sure to take a second and subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month, my FREE dental marketing and practice management ideas. If you liked this article, please let me know by giving it a “like”. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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Dental Practice Management and Marketing Idea’s for March (2016)

Hello Friends,

The month of March is your opportunity to end the first quarter of 2016 stronger than ever. If you haven’t done so already, put down in writing your practice management and marketing plans for March. I will give you several different idea’s to help get you started.

Note: March is an especially important month for any of you that typically struggle with your schedule during the month of September. Be sure to pre-appoint your March hygiene patients for their 6 month continuing care appointments. (If this isn’t already being done with your hygiene patients, make it your goal to schedule their next appt. while they are there in the office.)

dental marketing ideas for march

~ Dental Practice Management Idea’s ~

March is Employee Spirit Month
If you want to increase employee trust, creativity, teamwork, engagement and productivity, then it’s time to have some fun, commend more, improve communication and huddle up!  

– Have some FUN! –  Games, contests, competitions and food are all great ways to have more fun at the office.

  • Lunch: Every one bring a dish to pass or doctor orders lunch in for the team.
  • Excursion: Bowling, Dinner Out, Shopping, Painting, Spa, etc
  • Trivia Questions: Play a trivia game about procedures, office policy, telephone verbiage, etc. Winners earn prizes.
  • Prizes: Gift Cards, Cash or PTO
  • Video: Make a fun music/dance video with the team.
  • Employee of the Month: Each month, vote for team member of the month.

– Commendation – Commend a fellow team member when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale.  (Tip: Employers, commend & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of.)

– Communication – Reduce employee frustrations with excellent communication.  When new procedures or technology is being introduced be certain that every team member is made aware and educated. Employee expectations and Office changes should be clearly communicated to the entire team… no more, “I didn’t know” or “No one told me!” Share your office goals for production, collections, new patients and marketing plans. This helps to keep everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals.

– Huddle Up – The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow these tried and true suggestions & tips for morning meeting success.

Hygiene Continuing Care Opportunity:

National Cleaning Week: 27-4/1 – Is it time for your dental spring cleaning?

~ Dental Marketing Idea’s ~ 

National Write A Letter of Appreciation Week: 1-7

Send appreciation cards to your favorite loyal patients, your favorite referring doctors and your favorite local businesses.

National March Into Literacy Month –
Host a book drive for your local library, schools or families in need. Ask your patients and people in the community to drop off their new or gently used books. Submit a press release to the local newspapers and TV news. Run this event for a few months.
Or check out these other ideas here: Dental Marketing Idea for your local library -1 and Dental Marketing Idea’s for your local library -2

National Kidney Month – Good dental health isn’t just about preventing cavities and keeping your gums healthy. Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to infections that can cause problems for people with  kidney disease.  A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population.

Root Canal Awareness Week: 27 -4/2 – How to prevent a root canal.

  There you have it… several idea’s to assist you in ending your first quarter successfully!

So what do you think you would like to do to help make March a great month in your office? Comment below, I would love to hear your idea’s. If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom marketing campaign that includes ideas for special offers, office fun, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and recare/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Idea’s in your email inbox each month? If not, please subscribe today. Feel free to tell your dental friends all about us so they can start benefiting from these dental idea’s too. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

 

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