Tips and Ideas for How to Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Tips and Ideas for How to Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Hello Friends,

The telephone is your dental office lifeline.”

Whether it is a patient or referring dentist of a new or current patient calling your office, it is essential that the conversation is cared for in a professional, friendly manner that expresses genuine concern. What kind of impression is your dental office team creating for you? Do you know how effective they are in answering the office telephone? Does it really matter? Absolutely!

All of your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing the potential patient/referring dentist or aggravating current patients due to poor telephone skills and habits. Your entire team (clinical & admin) should be trained in how to properly answer the phone and handle the call. Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!

dental telephone scripting principles from betty hayden consulting

 

Here are a 10 helpful telephone tips & ideas:

  1. 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 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 and use it often.
  8. Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source!).
  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 I have called as a “shopper” and was never offered an appointment.

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.

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

Know how to respond to the following callers:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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

Be sure to take a second and subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month, my FREE dental marketing and practice management tip & ideas. Or feel free to Email me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I’ll send you an invitation to follow my ideas.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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Dental Office Practice Management Tips and Ideas for October 2018

Dental Office Practice Management Tips and Ideas for October 2018

Hello Friends,

The ideas that I’m sharing for the month of October can be done any time of year but sometimes, it helps to have a little push. So here is your gentle push to make plans now to have a great start to the final quarter for the year.

Fall Dental Office Practice Management Ideas

Customer Service Week – October 1st  – 5th  –  Excellent theme for your next team meeting.  What ideas can you come up with as a team to exceed your patients’ expectations by consistently delivering excellent customer service?

  • What do you do when you run late? (If you’re habitually running behind, please change that habit! It’s disrespectful to your patients’ and your team)
  • What do you do when the lab screws up a case?
  • What about comfort? How are you making the visit as comfortable as possible for your patients?
  • What about your telephone skills? SEE How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone (Telephone Principles)
  • How about after the treatment – are you making post-op calls?
  • How are you staying in touch with your patients in between their 6-month hygiene appointments? SEE 10 Ways to Stay in Touch with your Dental Patients

Improve Your Office Day – October 4th – Take this opportunity to openly and honestly examine ways to improve your office. This might be the perfect time to schedule a complimentary consultation with me for some tips and ideas on how to improve your office.

Another great way to improve your dental office and team is to attend TBSE 2018 (The Best Seminar Ever!). You will love it!! Plus, I’ll be there and it would be awesome to meet you in person!!  See why this is truly the best seminar here: The Best Dental Seminar Ever

Boss’s Day is October 16th  – Plan now to make this day special for your boss(es).

Get to Know Your Customers Day is October 19th – Perhaps you could have a Business Card Drawing for a Free Lunch. Have fun with this day or turn it into a week or month-long event. This will allow you to get to know your patients better as well as learn what local businesses you want to focus some of your marketing efforts on.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month – What can be done to improve your hygiene department? Examine your current protocols and systems…both clinical and administrative. See also: Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules and Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Use it or Lose it Reminders – Get your letters (& phone calls) out to your patients reminding them to use any insurance benefits they have remaining for 2018 to complete any needed treatment or for their continuing care hygiene appointment before they lose them. SEE Remaining Maximum Tips and Ideas (Sample Letter)

Combine these practice management ideas with my Marketing Ideas and you will have a great October (and final quarter) as a team! Not to mention, your patients will love you for it!

Did you enjoy these tips and ideas?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

As always, I would love to hear your ideas! Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer… I’m ready to help!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

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Dental Office Morning Meeting Tips and Suggestions

Dental Office Morning Meeting Tips and Suggestions

Hello Friends,

Do you ever feel like your attempt to conduct a daily morning huddle is just a big hassle? That the meetings are a waste of time? Or maybe you’re already conducting morning meetings and want to make them more effective, please keep reading!

Today, I want to share with you some tips and suggestions that will help you have effective morning huddles and answer some questions that many of you have asked about morning huddles.

dental office morning meeting agenda

Why should I have a morning huddle/meeting?

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 my tried and true suggestions & tips. Every dental office wants to produce more, collect more, stress less, have happy doctors and team members and consistently exceed patient expectations. Right? Well, effective morning huddles help to make those things a reality.

Remember this: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

When should the morning huddle start? and How long should it last?

Fifteen – twenty minutes before the first scheduled patient.   It should last no more than 10-15 minutes. Taking 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning to ensure the day starts off happy and productive is well worth it.

Who should attend the morning meeting?

Everyone. If scheduling prevents everyone from attending…at the very least the doctor(s), hygienist(s), assistants and someone representing the administrative team. It is imperative for a team member to be assigned at every meeting to update the employee(s) not present of what was discussed/announced. No one should be left in the dark. This eliminates any “I didn’t know” or “no one told me!”

Who leads the huddle?

Rotate team members to conduct the meeting and make certain that everyone stays on point and that the meeting ends and starts on time (appoint a time-keeper)! Doctors (lead by example) be present at the start of the mtg and end each meeting on a positive note. Team members from each department can & should contribute what pertains to their particular department.

What do you talk about?

Focus on: Today and Tomorrow and a little bit of yesterday 😉

START and END the meeting with something POSITIVE.

  • Ata-boy/gal minute – What did we do “right” yesterday? How did we go the extra mile for a patient? Did you notice any team member that did something nice for a patient or another team member? Did anything happen yesterday that could be improved upon or avoided in the future? If yes, How?
  • Holes – Can a hygiene patient in need of restorative slide over into the doctors chair? Is there anyone coming in with the doctor that is due in hygiene? If not, how will we remain productive during this downtime?
  • Emergency time – Where can we put the “true emergencies”?
  • Potential trouble spots – Review schedule for any potential trouble/hiccups/hang-ups. Such as: doctor needed in multiple places at the same time, habitually late patient, copays that must be collected, difficult patient, etc. Do everything in your power to start, stay & end on time, exceed patient expectations and work together as a team for a smooth & happy day.
  • New Patients / Referral Sources – Who are our new patients today and how did they hear about our office? Everyone be ready to warmly greet all patients but introduce yourselves to all new patients. Thank them for coming in.
  • Pre-op calls – Any new patients coming in tomorrow or the next day that the provider can call and welcome?
  • Same day services – Identify any patients that would benefit from same day services (fluoride, x-rays, desensitizing agents, whitening, mouthguards, better home care tools)
  • Post-op calls – Did we call yesterday’s patients to check in on them? Preferably the doctor and hygienist should make their own calls. (Who do you call? All new patients and any patients that had anesthetic, extraction, or perio therapy. Also, any patients that may have been fearful.
  • Social Media – Who will help with that today? Ask patients to like the office (or check-in) on Facebook, follow on Twitter & Instagram. So many reasons throughout the day to post to your social media sites, such as: a patient brings in a treat, to welcome a new patient to the office, a child joined your kid’s club/team, celebrate a beautiful cosmetic restoration/teeth whitening, etc.
  • Testimonials/Reviews – Who is a candidate for providing a testimonial/review? Be alert throughout the day to ask for testimonials/reviews. Especially when a patient compliments the office on something… ask for a written or online testimonial. Take their picture (with permission) to post on your social media sites/website. NOTE: If a patient that is coming in for today has previously filled out an online survey be sure to review it. If they had a problem make certain it’s not repeated, if it was praise be sure to thank the team and the patient!
  • Goals – Look at Production, Scheduling & Collection goals for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Reminder to collect all co-pays at time of appointment!!
  • Treatment plans – Remember, offer the very best treatment options to your patients, let’s not “watch” or “wait until next visit” chances are it will only worsen. Let the patient decide for themselves! Were there any patients that came in yesterday that we treatment planned and they did not schedule an appointment? WHY?
  • Conclusion – End the meeting on a positive note. Tell a funny joke, read a positive quote and/or thank your team. Watch a quick motivational, educational or funny video clip. This meeting sets the tone for the day… Make it a happy one! Let’s go change someone’s life or at the very least help them smile bigger and healthier!

Here are a few additional tips for a successful morning huddle:

  • Come prepared! Have ready copies of the schedule (today and tomorrow). Charts/treatment should be reviewed the day prior to the huddle. Be sure to have available your collection, scheduling and production goals for today and tomorrow and yesterday’s results.
  • Stand for the meeting. This helps to keep the huddle on time and hold everyone’s attention.
  • Maintain a positive attitude regarding the importance of DAILY morning meetings.
  • Use a check-list! This will help you stay on time and cover all points.
  • FOOD! Every once in a while surprise the team with bagels, donuts, coffee, muffins, etc.

I strongly encourage you to implement daily morning huddles, simply because I know that they’re effective and I want all of you to have happier, more productive and stress-free work days!

Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer…I’m ready to help.

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

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, PLEASE take a second and subscribe today. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Huddle Up and Have a Great Day!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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Dental Marketing Tips and Ideas for your Local School District

Dental Marketing Tips and Ideas for your Local School District

Hello Friends,

With the back-to-school season in full swing, there is no need to wait until February’s Dental Health month to reach out to the local schools in your neighborhood, start early in the school year building relationships with school staff & the families that attend these schools.

Here are just a few easy, inexpensive & effective ways for your dental office to reach out to your local schools.

dental office marketing ideas for schools

Gifts for School Staff – Choose one, two, or more schools (depending on the size of the teaching staff) and deliver some treats to show your appreciation for the work they do in caring for the children in your community. Some ideas: Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Toothbrush goodie bags, Lip balm, etc. Be sure that your office information is clearly imprinted on any toothbrushes or small gifts. See my Pinterest boards for gift ideas

and/or

Host a Favorite Teacher Contest  – Invite local students to nominate their favorite teacher. Winning teacher gets FREE teeth whitening and a certificate stating they won for the favorite teacher contest. The classroom with the winning teacher gets a gift card for school supplies or pizza/ice cream lunch.

You could easily ask for donations from local businesses to add to the winning teacher’s prize or for the classroom.

This can be promoted via your office website, newsletters, postcards, emails, office social media sites, local newspapers and signs in your office.

Have fun with it and be sure to share lots of pictures on your social media pages.

Donations – Use your office as a community donation site for school supplies or new & gently used books to be donated to local children and/or schools in need. Advertise in office, on your social media sites, to local businesses and the news media via press release that your office is collecting donations for school supplies or books.

This is a GREAT way to bring in potential new patients… when folks come into the office to drop off their donations, be sure to warmly welcome them, give a brief tour of the office, hand out small thank you gifts that are imprinted with your office information or have a raffle they can enter to win a prize.

Book Fairs – Many schools will be hosting book fairs this school year.  And if your local school(s) are anything like mine, these book fairs draw a very large crowd.

Create fun, interesting Bookmarks for your local schools that include your office contact information. Deliver these bookmarks as a gift to the local schools to use during their book fairs. Easy! Right?

Just a few more ideas…

Social Media Sites – Post school-related content to your social media sites, such as:

  • Back to School Tips
  • Healthy Lunch/Snack ideas
  • What to do in a Dental Emergency?
  • Ortho care while at school
  • Dental Health (importance of, regular check-ups, sealants, mouthguards, fluoride & braces)

Give-Away – Or have a school-themed gift that you’ll raffle off.  Promote via your social media sites. Allow for your current patients and potential patients to TAG their favorite teacher in the post for a chance to win the gift. Encourage them to share the post on their pages.

Tooth bags – Make up a little bags or boxes with a “congratulations on your lost tooth” message from your office with space to write the child’s name. Deliver these to local elementary schools for them to keep on hand for when a student loses a tooth during the school day. Both of my kids have come home with a tooth wrapped in a napkin or in a plain Ziplock bag. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to advertise your office?

For additional ideas to use with local schools see February’s Children’s Dental Health Month and October/November’s Candy Buy Back. Also, my Marketing Ideas for August have some nice ideas for you to use with students & teachers.

I have witnessed firsthand just how effective marketing to local schools can be. The opportunity to bring in many new patient families to your practice is huge.

Please feel free to share with me your ideas for marketing to local schools or if you have any dental marketing questions that I can help you answer, please comment below.

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

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. Or send me your email address and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

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Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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