The phone rings.
It’s answered, and a short conversation occurs. Your receptionist tells you it’s someone calling to find out how much you charge for an implant.
Or maybe it’s someone calling to find out if you’re a preferred provider.
What happens in your practice?
Because what happens next can make or break your business.
Because the phone is the front door to you practice. Most patients will make their first contact with you via the phone.
So you have to make sure you keep this door wide open and welcoming.
All too often we see phone calls as interruptions to our day. We need to stop that.
If you don’t handle these opportunities correctly, you can be missing out. Big time.
Not only that, but you could be doing potential patients a real disservice.
Because if the person answering your phone says tells the caller that implants range from this price to this price, the caller says “Thank you” and hangs up.
And do you ever hear from that caller again?
Of course not.
So, what’s the solution?
It’s to make sure your excellent customer service covers every facet of your business.
That you choreograph every contact any patient has with your business.
5 Steps To Fabulous Phone Skills
When it comes to the telephone, make sure you and your staff following these five golden rules.
Now, you’re a professional, so you and your staff are probably already doing most of these things.
But do they know how to deal with all the tricky situations that arise every day?
Can they deal with sticky situations elegantly, so that they’re serving those patients – and potential patients – to the best of their ability?
The Fine Art of Putting a Caller on Hold
There is an art to putting a caller on hold. The art is to make them feel special, rather than shunted to one side.
“Can you hold, please?”
“Mrs Jones, so that I can best help you, would you mind if I put your on hold for a moment?”
If you were Mrs Jones, which one of these responses would make you feel special?
The first one is OK. It’s adequate, inoffensive and benign. But who wants to be considered ‘adequate’?
More importantly, who can afford to be considered ‘adequate’? If you want a successful dental business you have to do better than that.
And it’s not hard. Ok, the second response takes a little longer, but it makes the caller feel like they’re being looked after. Like they’re important to us.
Which is how you want your patients to feel. It’s how you cultivate loyal patients.
And you can use similar techniques for answering calls about price related questions, too.
I’m talking about ways of ensuring that callers get the information they really need, rather than just want they asked for.
Because all too often callers don’t realise that what they’ve asked won’t give them all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Your job, and your teams’ job, is to ensure that callers receive all the information they need, not just to answer the questions they’re asked.
Convert Price Shoppers into Loyal Patients
They are asking how much because they have no stronger criteria for making a decision. In response to a price related question, our intention is always to develop a relationship.
When it comes to price related questions, we look to give people information beyond what they request. Here’s an example of what happens in our practice.
Caller: “How much is a crown?”
Receptionist: “Thanks again for calling. My name is Jesse and yours is…?”
Receptionist: ““Well Bob that’s a great question. It’s hard to give you an exact answer because the price varies with the complexity of the treatment and the material used. However, using past patients as a guide, I can say the fee would be between $1,200 and $1,800 depending on your circumstances. How does that compare to the prices you have already?”
Caller: “Well, I have been quoted $1,500 from another practice.”
Receptionist: “Well Bob, what we do for all our other patients and what I’d suggest we do for you is to schedule an examination with Dr. Green. He’ll perform a comprehensive examination for you and go over all the treatment options with you, including their pros and cons and then give you an exact fee rather than a ballpark estimate. How does that sound to you?”
We build rapport and give callers the information they need to make a more informed decision.
It’s part of how we go above and beyond what someone might expect. So patients know from the outset that we’ll always go the extra distance.
We lay the foundation for creating loyal patients from the very first contact.
What Do Your Callers Really Want?
These are simple techniques you can start using in your practice today.
The next time the phone rings think about what the caller really wants – or needs – rather just than what they’re asking.
Stop being adequate.
Start building a relationship with each and every caller.
Start making patients and callers feel special.
Start creating a business that rocks.
If you don’t – you can be sure someone else will.