How to Effectively Answer the Dental Office Telephone

Hello Dental Friends,

Is an article really necessary on how to answer the telephone? Absolutely!  This one is key to your success. All of your marketing efforts lead people to the phone first. Don’t waste your money by losing the potential patient 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 handle the call. Answering the phone is a privilege and a great opportunity!

tips on answering dental office phone betty hayden consulting

Here are a few tips:

  • Smile before you pick up the phone.
  • Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  • 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)
  • Do NOT let the caller go to voice mail (or a busy signal!) during business hours (including lunch hours). People hate leaving messages. Oftentimes, they’ll hang up and call the next office on their list.
  • Never, ever answer the phone with “hold please” or “can you hold?”! Take a quick second, 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.
  • For the few times when you do need to put a caller on hold – please, consider having a great message on hold service. Here’s why: Should I Use A Message On Hold Service?
  • Get the caller’s name and use it often. Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source!). “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.
  • Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many office’s I have called as a “shopper” and was never offered an appointment.
  • There are words/phrases that should never be used on a call. Make a list of the words/phrases you want to eliminate from the office vocabulary.

Set aside some time to meet together as a team – everyone in the office should be trained on how to not only answer the phones but they should know how to handle the calls. At the very least, professionally & courteously direct the caller to someone who can help. Role play will help all to feel more comfortable handling different types of calls.

Worried about your team members sounding like robots on the phone? Don’t be. This is what you do, create as a team, Telephone Principles (your goals & expectations for each call.)

Firm In Principle – Flexible in Procedure

The procedure may vary but the principles remain the same. This will allow the team member’s to customize their words to the individual caller’s. However, professionalism is always a must!

A few more things to consider during your meeting and training with your team:

What times are your phones being answered? Examine whether or not the times you’re actually available to answer the office phone is when your patients and potential patients are actually available to call the office.

What happens after hours? Ringing? Voice Mail? Answering Service? Here’s your chance to exceed expectations by answering the office phone after hours! (Forward calls to a cell phone.)

The Greeting – First impressions matter!!

Shopper Callers – Great opportunity! Typically, the shopper caller has a need and is ready to “buy”, that’s why they are “shopping”.  Don’t blow it by refusing to quote fees over the phone. By all means, offer them to come in for a complimentary consultation.

Insurance Questions – (Have a great response to: “Do you take —-ins?)

Wrong Numbers – offer an appointment anyway.

Sales Calls – Be kind, they’re just doing their job. Maybe they need an appointment. Plus, you don’t know who they know. It’s simple – always be kind.

Moms calling for donations or any organization that asks for donations – Empower your team to fulfill their request. At the very least, offer them an appointment.

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.

 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. If not me, there are many other excellent dental professionals out there that are ready to help.

Be sure to take a second and subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month, my FREE dental marketing and practice management ideas. If you liked this article, please let me know by giving it a “like”. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

Advertisements

Should I Use A Message On Hold Service?

Did they just disconnect me?

message on hold service for dental office

I called a local business yesterday and was put on hold only to hear every few seconds this crazy annoying beeping sound. It made me want to hang up the phone. Have you ever experienced something like that? Or you call somewhere, they put you on hold and there is dead silence and you can’t tell if you’ve been disconnected or are still on hold? Or what about the business that has a radio playing as their on hold message, except it’s all static or playing some lame music?

 Now, I believe the best customer service is to never put the caller on hold. However, we all know that from time to time it happens.

 A while back I set one of my clients up with a message on hold service, created beautiful, short custom marketing messages for them and on the first day of using it, a caller said: “Oh, I didn’t know you do teeth whitening.” See how that works?

 Having a quality message on hold system set up is a good thing. Use this service as an opportunity to educate and inform your callers while they are on hold.

 What are some things you can talk about? How about, special events in the office, services/products you offer (teeth whitening, Ortho, etc) , any late or early hours, dental health tips, financial expectations, and so on.  Be sure to invite the caller to visit your website and all your social media sites.  Ask them to like you on facebook!

 A message on hold system allows you to advertise to your patients, keep them informed on the latest and greatest going on in your office and distracted while you have them on hold. Please make sure that you keep your content fresh! One of my doctors offices has had the same on hold message for years!! I think I have it memorized. Blah!

 There are many on hold messaging services out there! Unless you’re going to set up a DIY message, my suggestions for a message on hold service is the following:

 

  • Quality Sound & Voice Talent.
  • Inexpensive – You don’t need to spend a lot of money!
  • Helpful – Exceptional Customer Service.
  • Allows you to change your message/music throughout the year.
  • Doesn’t lock you in to a long contract.
  • Will help you create effective messages.
  • Makes the set up and process easy on you and your team!
  • Allows you to listen to sample messages before buying.

 And if you want my specific recommendation, it is Captive Audience. After much research, this is the company that I have found to meet my requirements and exceed my expectations.

 If you’re thinking about setting up a message on hold service for your office, check out Captive Audience I think you will be pleased. Ask for Kathy ( kathy@captive-audience.com / 951.784.2875 )  and tell her Betty Hayden sent you, maybe she’ll give you a break on the monthly fee. 😉 I do know for sure that she will take good care of you.

 Have you ever called your office and were put on hold? I know your patients and potential patients have, what are they hearing or not hearing?

Those are my thoughts on message on hold systems.

 Wishing you a fantastic day!

 

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty