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

Dental Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for November 2020

Dental Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for November 2020

Hello Friends,

The New Year is just around the corner – it’s understandable that for many 2021 can’t get here soon enough! While that may be true for you too; please, take some time to consider where you are at with your goals for this year. How do you want to end this year? What do you want November and December to look like?

Would you like to increase your production, collections, and new patients? How about reappointing more of your unscheduled/inactive patients? If yes, these ideas that I am sharing with you, when implemented, WILL help you increase production, attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, as well as exceed your established patients’ expectations. 

For the last several years, a few times each month here on my website I share complimentary dental office leadership, marketing, and management tips and ideas. Are you automatically receiving my email post updates to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address 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!

Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips & Ideas

November 2020

Leadership Tips & Ideas:

The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them. John Maxwell

Employee Appreciation – National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day: 15th How is the office refrigerator looking? Time for a good cleaning? After you empty it of all expired foods and give it a good cleaning inside and outside…why not stock it with beverages and healthy snacks for the team to enjoy? It might also be a good time to post a reminder for EVERYONE to remember to ALWAYS clean up after themselves. 

Practice Management Tips & Ideas:

Incomplete Treatment & Insurance Maximum Renewals – Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that are going to run out at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month before the end of the year rush really shifts into high gear! 

Have you followed up with a call(s) to your patients that haven’t responded to your use it or lose it letters/emails? If you didn’t get your letters and emails sent out I encourage you to take action now. Would you like a sample Use it or Lose it letter? Email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will gladly send one over to you.

Do you know how many of your active patients have a future appointment and how many do not? Do you know how many of your patients have unscheduled treatment plans and money remaining on their insurance for this year?

To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge and with absolutely no obligation to do anything further with me. 

Scheduling – What steps have you taken to ensure your schedules will be able to accommodate those patients that wait until the last minute to use their dental benefits before the year ends?

Marketing Tips & Ideas

Candy Buy Back – If you’re starting off the month of November hosting a Candy Buy Back event…be sure to promote it with posts and videos via your social media platforms, and alert the local TV news, and online & print newspapers too.

World Kindness Week: 8th – 14th AND Random Acts of Kindness Week: 16th – 23rdTime to spread some kindness!  Here are a few ideas…

  • Give your patients that come in for an appointment a special surprise gift or treat.
  • Deliver gifts to a few of the local businesses.
  • Reach out to your inactive, unscheduled patients to let them know you’re thinking about them.
  • Is there a patient coming in this month for treatment that is experiencing serious financial hardship and would benefit from some extra kindness by you donating some of their dental treatment?
dental coach betty hayden kindness

Black Friday – Offer Special Pricing on Teeth Whitening, Electric Toothbrushes, Ortho Consultation, or a New Patient Visit.

Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will soon be attending end of the year office parties/events either in person or via Zoom.  Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures.

Patient & Community Educational Idea:

November is Diabetes Month –

All month-long share posts on your social media platforms regarding the importance of regular preventive dental visits to the dentist. When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums.

Dental Office Tips and Ideas for Diabetes Month

International Stress Awareness Day: 4th    – Share tips on how to reduce stress & the relationship between stress and oral health. Service/Treatment Feature: Mouthguards.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of November

National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Childrens’ Book Week: 9th -15th

National Brush Day: 1st (Share videos of proper brushing techniques and how to choose which toothbrush is best)

X-Ray Day: 8th (Why x-rays important to your dental health)

Flossing Day: 27th (Share video demonstrating flossing techniques and tools)

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

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

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

Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Is Obtaining New Dental Patients More Important Than Retaining Established Patients?

Hello Friends,

So which is more important to your practice growth – obtaining new patients or retaining established patients?

The short answer, both are very important to successfully grow your dental practice.

Yes, new patients are very important, in fact, we should have a monthly new patient goal that we are working toward each month. Offices love new patients. I hear doctors and teams all the time saying “we need more new patients!” They believe that is the answer to all of their scheduling, production, and collection woes. But is that good enough to grow your practice, just ensuring that you’re getting fresh new patients each month?

Well, if you want to spend lots of money and ultimately work harder instead of smarter, then yes. But, I think it’s safe to say, that isn’t your intention or end goal.

And yet, that is exactly what I am seeing many doctors doing in their practice. They are investing time and money to bring in new patients but are not giving the same attention to retaining those new patients. Like they are just spinning their wheels and will eventually just burn out.

Oftentimes, I will see healthy new patient numbers each month, and yet, the office isn’t growing at all and their production is weak. Why is that? When I examine the data, I learn that far too many of their new patients are one-timers. They left the office without scheduling a future appointment. Why is this a bummer situation? Calling, emailing, texting, and snail mailing our patients to get them to reappoint can be a drag. It’s tough to reach patients once they leave. It’s possible of course, but it takes money, time, and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, we don’t even see those attempts being made to reach out to those unscheduled new patients. No one really knows what happens to the patient after their first visit. Or they make minimal attempts to reach out to the patients before giving up after a couple of months.

What does your new patient experience look like from the initial call, and first visit, to how you stay in touch with them after they leave?

Do you know what your new patient retention numbers look like?

So if the most expensive patients to acquire are your new patients, the easiest and best patients to fill your schedules are those who have come to you before.  BUT, you may be thinking… that takes time and money to reappoint established patients too. That’s true but you have a huge advantage when reaching out to established patients of record; It’s the power of pre-existing relationships.  (Oh, by the way, on average, it can cost up to six times more to gain a new patient than it does to retain an existing patient.)

What does retaining, reactivating, and reappointing established patients mean for you and the patient?

  • We are creatures of habit.  It’s easier to do something we are already doing than to do something different.
  • Established relationship. (They already know, like, and trust you. You just need to focus on strengthening that relationship)
  • No marketing costs – you’ve already paid the initial investment in getting the patient.

What are you doing to keep track of your established patients? What are you doing to ensure your established patients don’t slip through the cracks? Here are some ideas and tips for reactivating and reappointing your patients: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/12/31/dental-patient-reactivation-and-reappointment-tips-and-ideas/

Friends, Do you know how many of your active patients have a future appointment and how many do not? Do you know how many new patients you are welcoming into the practice AND how many patients you’re losing each month?  To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge and with absolutely no obligation to do anything further with me. 

What are you doing to keep your new and established patients loyal to your practice?

Loyal patients, isn’t that what we want? Patients that return year after year, accept your treatment recommendations and refer their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They are loyal to your dental practice because they like and trust you. You’ve earned the privilege to serve them not just for a moment but for life.

Is it really a privilege to serve them? Absolutely! Any office that struggles with getting and keeping new patients, struggles with getting patients to accept their treatment recommendations, struggles with the hygiene department’s continuing care reports and Swiss cheese-like appointment schedules, struggles to keep up with all the record transfer requests from patients for their new dental office, will learn (hopefully quickly) that having loyal patients in your practice is an earned privilege. The best part with loyal patients is the aforementioned struggles are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

Of course, this takes some work – implementing and following closely, effective office systems/protocols are critical to you successfully retaining your patients and reaching/exceeding your practice goals.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here 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 (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

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