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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September 2022 Dental Office Management and Leadership Ideas

September 2022 Dental Office Management and Leadership Ideas

Hello Friends,

How is the month of September looking for your office? I hope that it is looking healthy and productive. If it is looking a little weak – I have some office management and leadership ideas that when implemented, will help strengthen it.

Leadership and Employee Appreciation Ideas

Bring Your Manners To Work Day: 1st 

Good manners are cost-effective. They not only increase the quality of life in the workplace, they contribute to employee morale, embellish the company image, and play a major role in generating profit.” – Letitia Baldrige

Say please and thank you. Make it a habit to say please every time you ask for something. Saying thank you improves your office, your health, and boosts morale.

Use your Body language Manners – 75-80% of how we interpret what others are (or aren’t) saying is through their body language. Remember, smile more, make eye contact, be attentive and demonstrate that you are listening.

Employee Appreciation Ideas

International Chocolate Day: 13th -Bring in chocolate for the team.
National Coffee Day: 29th  – Starbucks or Coffee Gift Cards or Bring in a special coffee/tea drink for the team.

A gentle reminder (idea) for the team…

Hug Your Boss Day: 8th  – Don’t forget to show appreciation for your boss! They want to hear & feel that they’re appreciated too.

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.

Are you looking for fun & effective marketing and practice growth ideas for September? Check these out: Practice Growth Tips for September 2022

Practice Management tips and reminders for September

Unscheduled Treatment Plans & Hygiene Continuing Care – Reach out to all your patients with incomplete treatment plans and/or that are past-due for their hygiene visit. Encourage them to schedule their appointment during the months of September, October, and November.

It is important to stay in touch with these “unhealthy” patients even IF you have crazy full schedules. They need to know you haven’t forgotten about them and that you care about their health.

Morning Huddle and Chart Reviews –   Look for unscheduled treatment, family members due, unscheduled hygiene patients, etc.  Look for opportunities to help more of your patients smile healthier.

Insurance Renewal Letters – Send out your Insurance and HSA/FSA “Use it or Lose it” reminder texts, emails, and letters. If you would like a sample letter please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Dental Service Special Feature/Mouthguards – September 5th is Mouthguard day. Consider, offering special pricing for custom mouthguards during the month of September.

Are you receiving my complimentary Dental Practice Management and Marketing Ideas via your email each month? If not, please follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!!

Wishing you a productive, fun, and stress-free September!

Yours for Greater Success,

Betty – Dental Coach

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

Before you go, would you kindly do something for me? I would LOVE for you to PLEASE leave me a review/recommendation on Google or Facebook. Simply click the following links:    GOOGLE   and/or  FACEBOOK Thank you so much!!

October National Dental Hygiene Month Tips and Ideas

October National Dental Hygiene Month Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

October is National Dental Hygiene Month – This is the time of the year where we celebrate the work our awesome dental hygienists do (which is way more than just “clean teeth”), and we help raise awareness on the importance of good oral health.

Hygienist Appreciation Spotlight

During the month of October introduce your hygienist(s) on your social media platforms. Share a photo and some fun facts.

Celebrate your amazing hygienists all month long (they deserve it!).

The Daily 4 – Talk to your patients about the importance of practicing The Daily 4

Four steps that lead to a healthy smile:

  1. Brush: Using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste – Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day.
  2. Floss: Floss between your teeth once a day to remove plaque that brushing your teeth fails to remove.
  3. Rinse: Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash helps to reach the bacteria that brushing, and flossing cannot.
  4. Chew: Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal will help produce saliva, which fights cavities, neutralizes plaque, strengthens enamel, and cleans food debri from teeth.

Social Media Post Content Ideas to Boost Engagement During October

All month-long share posts and short videos on your social media platforms regarding the importance of regular preventive dental visits to the dentist.  

Video Topic Ideas:

  • Proper Brushing Techniques
  • How to Floss
  • Benefits of Sealants
  • How to choose toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.
  • Good Snacks Bad Snacks
  • How Fluoride treatments benefit children and adults!
  • What do to about bad breath

World Smile Day: 1st – Invite your patients to share pictures of themselves, their family, and/or their pets smiling on your Facebook page to be entered into a drawing to win a prize.  Goal: fill FB newsfeed with happy smiles!

Photo Backdrop & Smiley Props – Set up a photo area for your team and patients to take pictures to celebrate world smile day. Share to Google My Business, Facebook, and Instagram

National Kick Butt Day: 11 

International Kissing Day: 20-21 

For other social media content and marketing ideas for October visit here:  October Marketing (Growth) Tips & Ideas

Kids’ Goal Setting Week: 3rd – 9th – Share ideas for dental hygiene goals for children.  For example, for your young patients, design a hand-out that includes a toothbrushing chart to track their daily brushing progress. You could even have a fun gift that they can enter to win by turning in their completed brushing chart to the office at the end of the month.

National Orthodontic Health Month – See ideas here: Orthodontic Health Month Tips & Ideas

Ideas of Special Offers during the month of October

Complimentary Adult Fluoride Treatments

Free Electric Toothbrush for your New Patients seen in Hygiene

Gift Of Health Certificates (for your patients to share with a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member.)

Hygiene Department Management Tips & Ideas

Hygiene Re-Appointments – The best way to keep your patients active is to be sure to reappoint them for their next hygiene continuing care visit when they are there at the office and still in the treatment room.

Also, help more of your patients say yes to your treatment recommendations and have them reserve their appointment at the time treatment is diagnosed and presented to them. 

You should be tracking both your pre-appointments and your re-appointments.  This is important if you want to reduce patient attrition and reduce the amount of money and time spent trying to reach these patients later on down the road.

Reduce holes in the hygiene schedule – See tips & ideas here: How to Reduce Broken Appointments

If 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 take a second and share a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK Thank you very much!!!

Wishing you all a wonderful dental hygiene month!

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

Tips and Ideas to Improve Dental Office Collections

Hello Friends,

Would you like to see more patients not only accept treatment but pay for it before or at the time of service?  Would you like to see an increase in production and office collections?  Would you like to decrease the amount of time and money being spent on making collection calls and sending patient statements/letters? Great news, I can help you!

Fear of cost moves many people to put off visiting the dentist or to cancel their appointments for scheduled treatment. Fear of presenting fees causes many team members to dread or avoid presenting treatment plans/financial expectations and asking for payment. These fears do not help the patient or the office.

I know this is true because as I coach dental office teams, during my in-office visits we quickly discover that in most cases solid collection protocols are lacking.

Today, I’ll share with you a few tips to help you increase and improve office collections. make that happen.

  1. See the true value of dentistry – With each day and each patient you and your team have the privilege and opportunity to potentially change someone’s life or at the very least, help them smile healthier. A healthy smile is part of a healthy body, healthy smiles and bodies create healthy communities.  The entire team must believe this. The entire team must also wholly believe that you’re providing the best quality care. Having full confidence in the doctors and hygienists’ ability to provide quality care and to create beautiful and healthy smiles is a must. Give every patient the opportunity to say yes or no to your very best care!
  2. Be confident with fees – The entire team should role play presenting small and large treatment plans and financial arrangements until everyone is comfortable saying the dollar amounts out loud and with pride.
  3. Financial Guidelines & Expectations – Have written financial guidelines that is kindly reviewed with the patient at their first appt. Have them sign and take a copy with them. For your existing patients, review with them any changes to your financial expectations, have them sign and give them a copy to take home.
  4. Avoid assumptions and judgment – Don’t make decisions for the patient as to whether they can afford the treatment based on your assumptions or reality.  Always offer the best treatment and flexible payment options and allow the patient to decide what they want to accept or not.
  5. No surprises! – Present the patient’s treatment plan and estimated financial portion before treatment is started. If you accept and/or participate with their insurance, have up to date eligibility, a breakdown of benefits and the insurance fee schedule on file for the patient and enter into your practice management software.
  6. Payment due before or on the day of service – No billing the patient for co-pays or payment for services. (Hint: Collecting prior to appt. will reduce cancellations and no-shows. Another Hint: If you didn’t collect at the time of scheduling, collect their portion before the patient goes back for treatment, especially if they’re having a lengthy or difficult appt.
  7. Make it easy for them to pay – In addition to accepting cash, check, and charge cards, offer third-party financing. Avoid in-office payment plans!
  8. Incentives – Offer incentives for patients to pay when they make the reservation.
  9. Dealing with forgetful patients – When a patient says they forgot to bring money…they can either call the payment in over the phone when they get home or give them an envelope with payment due date for them to mail in a check. Call the patient if payment isn’t received by the due date.
  10. When Insurance is involved – Always give the full treatment fee, the estimated insurance amount and the patient’s estimated portion that is due today. Let the patient know you’ll send in the claim and inform them if anything changes with the estimated insurance portion. Watch your insurance aging report closely. Promptly follow up on any unpaid claims, insurance rejections, and requests for add’l information.

There you have it, 10 tips to successfully collect payment before or at the time of service.

Once you plan to consistently collect payments before or at the time of service and hold your team accountable to follow through with that plan, you’ll wish you started it sooner.

Do you know what your accounts receivable totals look like? Do you know how many insurance claims are over 60+ days old? Do you know how many of your patients have made a payment within the last 30 days and how many are past-due? If you do not know what your office numbers look like, please examine, record, and measure these and other important key practice indicators. You need to know where you’re at currently to know how to best care for your patients and what your potential for increasing collections looks like. 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.

Here are a few more tips to help make this a true success for you.

  • Daily, Weekly and Monthly, monitor your patient and insurance accounts receivables, collection and credit reports.  (Carefully review write-off’s, discounts, credits, charges, and payments.)
  • Avoid “Statement Groundhog Day” – Stop sending statement after statement to patients that are past due on making a payment. They ignore them and it costs you a lot of money. Get collection letters out and make some calls.
  • ALWAYS send out clean insurance claims! If your administrative team needs any training in this ever-changing insurance world with how to estimate co-pays, send out claims (daily), post insurance payments and adjustments…get them the proper training asap!
  • Insurance Claims Aging Report – Run your insurance aging report and start from the oldest and work down to the current claims… how old are some of those claims? What is the status of the claims? Where is your money? Now is a great time to clean up that report.
  • Don’t assume… know by who, when, what and how your money is being handled. It’s important for the entire team to understand why this information is necessary.
  • Set goals, share with your team what your production and collection goals are and how it benefits them to all work together as a team to reach or exceed these goals. Consider offering a small bonus or incentive when these goals are reached.

Print out these tips and suggestions and review them at your next team meeting.

If you appreciated these complimentary ideas I  would love for you to please leave me a review/recommendation here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.

Friends, if your office is struggling with collections or out-of-control accounts receivables please don’t wait to seek help. The longer that money sits out there the less you collect.  You deserve to be paid for the amazing dental care you provide.

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 each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address (to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach