Top Ten Tips for How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Top Ten Tips for How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Hello Friends,

The phone is ringing, the calls are coming in, but appointments (or reappointments) aren’t being made. In fact, it is quite possible potential new patients are unintentionally being turned away.

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

What kind of impression is your dental office team creating for you? Do you know how effective they are in answering the office telephone? Are you tracking how many calls come in and how many of those callers actually schedule an appointment? Does it matter? Absolutely!

All your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing potential patients 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 effectively care for the caller.  

Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!

Here are 10 helpful telephone tips & ideas:

  1. Always Smile before you pick up the phone.
  2. Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  3. 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.)
  4. Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail (or a busy signal!) during office hours (including and especially during lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
  5. Never, ever answer the phone with “Hold please” or “Can you hold?”! Take a quick second, and 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.
  6. Acknowledge their question or request and reassure them that you will help them.
  7. Get the caller’s name early on and use it often. BEFORE you answer their initial question, you should know who you are talking with. (ie: “Great question, I can help you with that. Again, my name is Betty may I ask your name?”)
  8. If after asking when their last visit was you find out they’re new to the office – warmly welcome them and find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source in the software!).
  9. “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.
  10. Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many offices miss this important step. Seriously, this one is so simple, and yet it is shocking how many offices totally miss this opportunity. Remember, the goal should be to end the call with an appointment scheduled so be sure to invite them to schedule.

Set aside some time to meet as a team – everyone in the office should be trained on how to not only answer the phones but should know how to effectively handle the calls. At the very least, professionally & courteously direct the caller to someone who can help.

Practice, Practice, Practice how to effectively handle different types of calls and questions until you feel comfortable. (Yes, I am talking about role-play – I know we hate role-play it’s uncomfortable (and embarrassing) to do but it’s necessary to be truly successful. Work through the discomfort. It’s worth it!)

As a team, create your Telephone Principles (scripting guidelines) which are based on your goals & expectations for each call.

The telephone ringing should never be viewed as an interruption to your already too-busy day. 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.

Practice Owners – 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. Email: bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Please... If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share or if they’ve been of help to you and your practice –  I would truly appreciate it if you would please take a second and leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you!!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

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

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Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips for your Dental Practice

Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips for your Dental Practice

Hello Friends,

Is your office past-due for a good cleaning and organizing? Maybe even some remodeling or redecorating? It’s that time of year when many take advantage of the warmer weather to “spring clean” their homes. This is also a great time to spring clean your dental practice.

I encourage you to make a checklist of all the areas in your office that may need some cleaning.  I’ll help you get started by showing you how to take advantage of using your 5 senses while cleaning your office. This is by no means an exhaustive cleaning list but it will give you ideas of where and what to clean.

Before you read on please remember that the patients’ (and potential patients’) perception of you, your team, the office, and the quality and safety of the care you provide is your reality. This means that everything that you do or don’t do…matters!

Even if you feel like you’re just too busy to tackle a project like this you’ll want to make the time; why? The long-term growth and success of your practice depend on it.

dental office cleaning and organizing checklist betty hayden

Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, and Taste.

SIGHT

What do your patients and potential patients see?

Areas to “see” include;

Office Exterior (Curb Appeal)

  • Signage
  • Windows
  • Landscape/Weeds
  • Garbage/Debris
  • Safety Concerns/Handicap accessibility

Office Interior

  • Reception Room – Sit in your reception room, what do your patients see, touch, hear, smell and taste? Look high and low. What do you see? Dirty carpeting/flooring? Outdated magazines & decor? Stained or worn chairs? Peeling wallpaper? Cobwebs? Dusty plants/floral arrangements? Light bulbs that are out?  Look over at the front desk area, if you see a sliding glass window that is full of signs and papers telling your patients what to do and what not to do…remove them immediately. It’s very unwelcoming!
  • Restroom – Most if not all of your patients that visit your restroom WILL determine the quality and safety of your care from that experience. (Isn’t that true of you when you’re at a restaurant or any public restroom? No one wants the gas station bathroom experience…not even when you’re at a gas station.) Your restroom should be clean, nicely decorated, and well-stocked with quality paper products and soap.
  • Front Desk Area – Clutter represents indecision. Make a decision to get rid of the clutter! (That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitors, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, and fast-food drink containers sitting out on the counters.) Purchase hot/cold beverage tumblers, preferably with your office logo on them for your team members to use at their workstations – this looks much nicer than your patients seeing soda bottles or coffee shop cups.

While you’re visiting the front office area, don’t forget about cleaning these areas too…

  • Current Protocols–  Hygiene Continuing Care, Incomplete Treatment Reports, Confirmation, A/R-Collections, Greetings, Patient Hand-off,  New Patient Welcomes, and Referral Thank you’s, etc.
  • Paper Communication Materials –Intake forms, Letterhead, HIPAA forms, Financial Policy & Postcards.
  • Job Responsibilities/Descriptions –Have every team member write down a detailed list of all of their job responsibilities. This is VERY helpful in determining more effective ways of doing things as well as finding out what is NOT being done.

Moving on to other areas of the practice…

  • Operatories – Sit in the treatment room chairs. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? Again, your patients don’t measure the quality of care, they measure the quality of their experience. Keep your patients loyal to your practice by making certain they consistently have great experiences.
  • Closets – Make an inventory checklist. Throw away any expired or outdated products, equipment, manuals, etc. While you’re at it, if there is anything that isn’t be used properly due to lack of education or training, go ahead and schedule a time for continuing education/training.
  •  Equipment/Technology – What needs repairs, upgrades or to be tossed? Computers, Software, Internet Speed & Access, Printers, Scanners, Copiers, Telephone Systems, TV’s, Postage machines, including…dare I say, typewriters?
  • Employee breakroom(area) / staff lounge – don’t forget about the employee break area. Is it clean and organized? Check out the refrigerator, microwave, cabinets, counters, and tables. There is no reason for this room to be messy and/or dirty. While you’re at it freshen up the room decor and stock the cabinets/refrigerator with snacks and beverages for your team.
  • The Team – Appearance – Wear clothes that reflect the excellent care you give your patients. Professional, clean, and wrinkle-free clothes.  Clean hair, nails & body).  Attitudes – Remove any toxic attitudes.   
  • Office Policies – Review and update employee benefits and expectations. If you don’t have an office manual and/or employee handbook please get one asap.

TIP: Make a cleaning schedule – including the who, what & when.  When will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked & cleaned? This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.  If the flooring needs to be vacuumed… vacuum it. If the glass on the windows/doors have fingerprints…clean them. If the restroom toilet and sink are dirty… clean them.  Make a promise as a team that if you see it (and you know you do) clean it.

Online Presence – What do your potential patients “see” when looking for a dentist in your area? Remember to spring clean your online presence too. Your website, Google My Business listing, and Social Media Pages. See: Dental Office First Impressions – Online Presence

SMELL

  • Get rid of the dreaded dental office smell. There are products out there that will eliminate that smell without aggravating patients with allergies. Bake chocolate chip cookies if necessary.  Be cautious when using scented candles, air fresheners, and essential oils that they are mild and won’t aggravate those with allergies.

SOUND

  • Keep the noise down! Patients want to be put at ease; they don’t want to hear the latest office gossip or a TV that is too loud. Avoid using patients’ full names or complaining about patients when you can be heard from the reception room or treatment chair.
  • Music – Consider playing music in the reception and treatment rooms. Wireless headphones will allow patients’ to listen to music or the TV while in the chair.
  • Telephone Greetings/Messages – What do your patients and potential patients’ “hear” when calling the office? Be sure that what they hear is a reflection of your goals and vision. See How To Effectively Answer The Dental Office Telephone

TASTE

  • Beverage Station in the reception room. Complimentary coffee, tea, cold bottled water, juice, etc. See this Pinterest board for beverage station design ideas.
  • Snacks – Offer snacks such as fruit, granola bars, etc. This is especially nice for patients that may have been in for a lengthy appointment and need a little boost in energy.
  • Allow patients to rinse with mouthwash before and after the appointment.
  • Offer pre-pasted toothbrushes for patients that didn’t have time to or forgot to brush their teeth before their appointment.

TOUCH

  • Reception Room – Is it comfortable & welcoming? (Please keep COVID safety guidelines in mind before implementing some of these ideas/recommendations.)

Reading Material – Have a variety of magazine and books for patients to read.

Temperature – Keep the temperature in the reception room at a comfortable setting.

Lighting – Be sure that the sunlight from the windows isn’t blinding some of your patients during the day.

  • Treatment Rooms – Be sure that your patients are comfortable during their visit. Your treatment rooms should be exceptonally clean from top to bottom. Get rid of any clutter sitting out on the counters, floor, or shelves.

Massage Pads on Chairs

Blankets (If you have a patient that is always cold, pop the blanket in the dryer for them right before appt). Consider offering a weighted blanket during treatment to help reduce anxiety.

Distractions –  (Movies, Music, Digital Aquarium, Etc.)

Give Painless Injections…always.

Put your patients at ease by talking with them before you start looking in their mouth.

  • Free Stuff – Give away items imprinted with your office name, website, and phone number to each patient at their appointment. Such as; toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, calendars, pens, and lip balm.

Using your 5 senses, look closely at yourself, your team, the exterior, and interior of your building, all office systems, your lab, sterilization procedures, website & social media sites, marketing materials, marketing programs, and the patient experience.

Your goal should be to find ways to consistently exceed your patients’ expectations and remove anything that is hindering you from reaching that goal.

If you’re struggling to reach your goals each month or struggling to get your team on board with your vision for the practice maybe a coaching relationship is just what you need. Feel free to reach out to me to set up a complimentary 30-minute call to discuss how a customized coaching program will help you to reach/exceed your goals.

If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your email? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends.  ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

Top Ten Tips for How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Top Ten Tips for How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Hello Friends,

The phone is ringing, the calls are coming in, but appointments aren’t being made. In fact, it is quite possible potential new patients are unintentionally being turned away.

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

What kind of impression is your dental office team creating for you? Do you really know how effective they are in answering the office telephone? Are you tracking how many calls come in and how many of those callers schedule an appointment? Does it really matter? Absolutely!

All 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 effectively care for the caller.  

Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!

Here are 10 helpful telephone tips & ideas:

  1. Always Smile before you pick up the phone.
  2. Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  3. 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.)
  4. Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail (or a busy signal!) during business hours (including and especially lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. Get the caller’s name early on and use it often. BEFORE you answer their initial question, you should know who you are talking with. (ie: “Great question, I can help you that. Again, my name is Betty may I ask your name?”)
  8. Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source in the software!).
  9. “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.
  10. Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many offices miss this important step. Seriously, this one is so simple and yet it is shocking how many offices totally miss this opportunity. Remember, the goal should be to end the call with an appointment scheduled.

Set aside some time to meet as a team – everyone in the office should be trained on how to not only answer the phones but should know how to effectively handle the calls. At the very least, professionally & courteously direct the caller to someone who can help.

Practice, Practice, Practice how to effectively handle different types of calls and questions until you feel comfortable. (Yes, I am talking about role-play – I know we hate role-play  it’s uncomfortable (and embarrassing) to do but it’s necessary to be truly successful. Work through the discomfort. It’s worth it!)

As a team, create your Telephone Principles (scripting guidelines)which are your goals & expectations for each call.

Know how to respond to the following callers (not just answer their question but with the goal of welcoming them into the practice by scheduling a new patient appointment):

  • 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 or by failing to invite them to come in for a complimentary consultation.
  • Insurance Questions – Have a great response for: “Do you take XYZ 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.
  • Organizations or local businesses requesting donations – Empower your team to fulfill their request. At the very least, offer them an appointment.

The telephone ringing should never be viewed as an interruption to your already too busy day. 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. Email:bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

If you find the complimentary ideas that I share each month to be helpful for your practice, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOKThank you!!

Be sure to take a second and subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month, my FREE (no spam ever!) dental marketing, leadership, and practice management tips & ideas. Or if you prefer to email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

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

Dentist Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for March 2020

Dentist Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for March 2020

Hello, Friends –

The month of March is the final month of your first quarter. There is still time to make this your best quarter ever! Spend some time reviewing your numbers, your plans for how to reach your goals, and ways to continually improve your office during the year.

With March being Employee Spirit Month it’s also a great month to celebrate your dental team! (Well, isn’t every month a great month to celebrate your team?)

Here are a few Dental Leadership, Practice Management and Marketing Ideas for March to get you started:

 

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Coach Dentist Office Ideas

 Leadership Tips and Ideas ~

“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton

National Dentists Day: March 6th   – Spend today celebrating the awesome dentists’ in your life! Be sure to take a picture(s) of your dentist(s) to post on your social media pages with a message of appreciation.

dentists day dental practice management dental coaching

National Dental Assistants Recognition Week: 1st – 7th  – This is the week to celebrate your hard-working assistants! Be sure to take a picture(s) of your assistants to post on your social media pages with a message of appreciation.

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!

Dental Morning Huddle Tips and Ideas

Dental Team Building Activities, Rewards, and Incentive Tips and Ideas

I can help! Learn how to lead your team, creating greatness based on high-performance expectations and principles. Produce more, Collect more, Stress-less, and have more Fun!

Schedule your complimentary no-obligation 30-minute coaching consultation today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Practice Management Tips and Ideas ~

March is an especially important month for any of you that typically struggle with your schedule during the month of September (AKA Sucktember).

Pre-Appointments – 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.)

By the way, do you know your patient’s pre-appointment percentage?  If not, that is a smart number to start tracking to improve your patient retention.

If you don’t know how to track this number and your PMS is either Dentrix, Open Dental, or Eaglesoft – I can get you these numbers. At this time, we can also give you a complimentary growth report. It’s simple: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence

Dental Marketing Tips & Ideas for the month of March ~

Celebrate Your Name Week: 1-7 – Here is a simple and fun idea for “celebrate your name week”. During this week each working day post 3-5 names on your office Facebook page and Instagram page and people with those names can stop by the office to pick up a new toothbrush. Seriously, it won’t cost you much money, it will encourage people to share the post (your office info) to their social media pages, and it will bring in potential new patients into your practice!

Educational Opportunity –

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.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of March ~

World Compliment Day 1st

Oreo Cookie Day 6th

Daylight Savings Time 8th

Lips Appreciation Day 16th

Kick Butts Day 20th

Spinach Day 26th 

Betty Hayden Dental Social Media Contact Spinach Day

What are your plans to make March a great month? Please share your plans and ideas with me!

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please start following us today.  If you prefer, send me your email address at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest