A lot of practice managers and front desk staff are painfully familiar with the “price shopper” call. This is the caller that just wants to know the price for a treatment, and is likely calling many other practices hoping to find the best deal possible.
No-one calls up and asks the price of a crown just for fun – they call with a huge amount of buyer intent. They’ve likely been told by a professional that they need treatment, and so they’re calling around getting prices because they see price as the only variable.
Once you have them on the phone, it becomes an opportunity for you to show them how you stand above the rest and get them over the line.
Greet and engage
World-class customer service and curating a fantastic patient experience is a consistent requirement for attracting patients and promoting loyalty. When someone calls your practice for a simple enquiry like price, you have the ability to turn that into a great interaction that sticks in their mind.
It’s always a great idea to ask the caller for their name; virtually every guide on influence, charisma, and persuasion explains that people like hearing the sound of their own name and it is a great bonding tool.
So, set up the rest of the conversation for success by engaging the customer and building the foundations for a relationship.
Don’t lock in a specific price
Rather than giving a price right off the bat, it’s better to explain that the price can depend on the complexity of their situation, materials used, and time. In the healthcare industry, we know how individual each situation is and often the clinician doesn’t know exactly what they’re dealing with until they see it with their own eyes.
What is far more effective is to offer a range, for example, “It’s difficult to give an exact price because it can vary depending on the complexity of the treatment and materials used. However, a rough guide based on past patients would be between 1200-1800.”
Ask this simple question
It’s a great idea to ask your callers, “NAME, how does this compare to the prices you have already?”
This accomplishes two things; it can give you a bit of insight as to what prices your competition is offering. But, more importantly, it lets you know whether or not you’re the first practice they’ve called.
It also engages the conversation just that little bit more – it gives you the best possible chance to deepen your relationship and turn a single question into a conversation.
Make an offer
Now, you don’t have to sell someone on an entire comprehensive treatment plan over the phone. You just have to sell them on a consultation – just like you wouldn’t propose marriage on the first date (hopefully!). It’s just about taking the next step.
Whether it’s a free consultation or your practice offers a small fixed price, here is where you make your initial offer and get the caller to your appointment books.
Something along the lines of, “NAME, what we do with all our patients and what I’d suggest for you, is to have a consultation with Dr Green. That way they can take a look at the tooth and discuss your options and give you an exact fee rather than an estimate.”
This allows you to draw on the authority and expertise of your clinician, and assure them of the quality of service.
Test for acceptance
Once you’ve made the offer, follow up with a simple, “How does this sound to you?”
It’s an open-ended question, displays excellent customer service, and gives you the opportunity then make the transition into booking the appointment.
Book the appointment!
Often people will want to still make a few more calls, but your quality customer service gives you the best opportunity to stick in their mind and make your practice a preference. It’s not uncommon for people to rescind the consultation on the phone, but come back after a few hours, days, or weeks and book.
If necessary, you can refer to your framework around handling objectives, or even offer to send them out some more information if that would be of value to them.
And of course, if they say yes, go right ahead and secure their appointment!
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