Telephone skill

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”.…

Great Telephone Experience

Excellent ServiceI’m a big fan of the telephone!  Probably comes from working in the business office of dental practices for over 30 years.  So whenever I’m on the phone or in a doctors office, etc, I listen very closely to how the person on the phone is handling the call. Well, I want to give Kudos to LifeWay Christian Stores for how they handled my call this morning!

I love reading their Open Windows Daily Devotional so I decided to order a subscription to the little booklet. The first person I spoke with immediately gave her name, Hope, when she answered the phone, so I felt connected right from the beginning.

Hope listened as I began to tell her the reason for the call and when she learned I was calling to place a subscription to Open Windows she said she would need to transfer me to their subscription department, but needed to know if I was ordering for a church (bulk) or just for myself (personal).  When I relayed I was only placing the order for myself, she said she would transfer me to the right area.

But then Hope went a step further and this is where LifeWay begins to set themselves apart from the masses for telephone ordering….She asked my name.    Now Hope is getting ready to transfer me…she isn’t even going to…

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…

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