building telephone skills

Customer Service: 3 Telephone Conversation Do’s and Don’t

Customer service is a critical part of how your business or practice is perceived.  Add to that the fact that most of your first time contact is over the phone.  This makes your telephone and how you respond to the conversation, crucial!

Although the 3 examples below reference taking place  over the telephone, they could very easily be a face to face conversation.

1. A new patient – or existing patient calls, identifies them self, and needs to make an appointment for an evaluation, adjustment, lost filling or cleaning:

  • Don’t ask:  Have we seen you before? OR  Are you a new patient?
  • Do ask: “How long has it been since we’ve seen you?”  – A new patient will identify them self as new, but a patient of record could be very offended by not recognizing his or her name.
  • Don’t ask:  When do you want to do it?  OR When do you want to come in?  You just gave the patient control of your schedule.
  • Do say:  “Livvie, Dr NAME can see you Tuesday morning at 10:00 or Wednesday afternoon at 3:00.  Which would be more convenient for you?   You have stated the parameters by giving the times, however the question appears to give the patient “control” – they can choose the time –AND you also appeared to be concerned about their “convenience”.…

What Percentage Of New Patients Are Lost Due To The Telephone

Have you ever wondered how important the telephone is to your practice?  Maybe you’ve even wondered IF the telephone was important!

Let me answer with two eye opening stats:

  • The #1 marketing problem in Dentistry is Poor Telephone Skills!
  • As many as 50% of NEW Patients are LOST at the front desk due to Poor Telephone Skills

That’s a staggering fact when you think of all the expense involved with getting the phone to ring and then lose 50% of the New Patient Calls! 

The telephone is still one of the most powerful, most cost effective, marketing tools in your practice…bar none!

Verbal skills over the phone (and in person) dictate:

  • First impressions
  • Treatment acceptance
  • Over the counter collections
  • Scheduling
  • Collections
  • Quality of Service – (how they actually rate your dentistry )
  • Referrals

 In the past, telephones had one line and NO hold button.  That graduated to a telephone with 4 lines and a red hold button.  You put the patient on hold and ran down the hall to deliver the message!

Today you have:

  • Multiple incoming lines
  • Voice mail
  • Specific team members receive their own messages
  • Voice mail is addressed to specific areas – Hygiene appts, Dr appts, Patients Accounts, Insurance questions, Appointment desk….and so on…

Technology is great- BUT it becomes impersonal, cold, and most importantly…it creates distance!  For example, how about when you make a call you go sometimes…

Patient Relations: What Percentage of New Patients Are Lost Due to the Telephone

TelephoneThink of all the expense, not to mention the time, involved with getting the phone to ring…only to loose the caller.   Staggering fact:  As many as 50% of New Patient calls are lost at the front desk due to poor telephone skills! 

Verbal skills, over the phone or in person, dictate:

  • First impressions
  • Treatment acceptance
  • Over the counter collections
  • Scheduling
  • Quality of service
  • Referrals

There isn’t an area in your practice that’s untouched by verbal skills and it all starts with that first telephone call. 

We’ve all heard the saying ” You only get one chance to make a good first impression”.   In real estate it is all about Location, Location, Location!

In Dentistry – it is all about Impressions, Impressions, Impressions!  No, We are not talking  Alganates or Rubber Base Impression here! We’re talking about Mental Impressions ….Your service, service, service! 

Today’s patient is:

  • More  Demanding
  • More Intelligent

 And more importantly, they have more choice about:

  •  Who they will see
  •  Who they will spend their money with

Positive verbal skills  make sure it’s with your practice and NOT your competitors!

It’s also been shown the new caller will actually  judge the quality of the Dr’s care, buy how well the phone is answered !

So, lets see….. Doctor, you spent …

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Livvie, You've helped me a lot and I only talked to you for 2 hours!!! Our September was up 70% over last year and our conversion rate now is almost 100%. I think we started the next 21 cases straight since we met. So, it was either the advice or the prayers or both! You have been one of the most helpful people I have met in the last 25 years in dentistry and I really mean that!! Thank you! www.clubbraces.com


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There are many qualified marketing experts that provide great service and results for a variety of businesses... and then there's Livvie Matthews! From all that I've seen, heard and know Livvie is in a class all by herself (a rarity these days of mediocrity that we now live in!) If you have the opportunity to work with Livvie... JUMP ON IT! It'll be one of the BEST business investments you've ever made. www.growthhackercentral.com


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I met Livvie Matthews online a few years ago. I was following her on Facebook. We would comment and like each other’s posts. She would post social media tips that I began using for my business page. I reached out to Livvie and she encouraged me to do a little at a time and said I was on the right track with how I was doing my online marketing. She provided me with so much information. I was so excited to use what she shared with me. Livvie is very knowledgeable in helping businesses grow their online presence using social media and online marketing. Her programs teach businesses how to leverage their appearance and connections on social media for client attraction and more online visibility. I encourage all business owners to listen and learn from Livvie Matthews. www.JillCoonInc.com


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