Tips and Ideas for Effectively Answering The Dental Office Telephone

Tips and Ideas for Effectively Answering The Dental Office Telephone

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Hello Friends,

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

What kind of impression is your dental office team creating for you? Do you know how effective they are in answering the office telephone? Does it really matter? Absolutely!

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!

dental office training and telephone scripts from Betty Hayden Consulting

Here are a 10 helpful telephone tips & ideas:

  1. Smile before you pick up the phone.
  2. Answer the phone within the first couple of rings.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. Get the caller’s name and use it often.
  8. Find out how they heard about your office (document the referral source!).
  9. “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.
  10. Offer an appointment. Sounds obvious right? You might be surprised to know how many offices I have called as a “shopper” and was never offered an appointment.

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.

As a team, create your Telephone Principles (Scripts) which are your goals & expectations for each call.

Know how to respond to the following callers:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Organizations or local businesses requesting donations – Empower your team to fulfill their request. At the very least, offer them an appointment.

The telephone ringing should never be viewed as an interruption to your already too busy day. 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. Email:bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Be sure to take a second and subscribe to receive in your email inbox each month, my FREE dental marketing and practice management tip & ideas. 

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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

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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

Dental Marketing Ideas for May

Hello Dental Friends,

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.”
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Spring is such a great time of year. I love seeing the trees bloom and the perennials sprouting in my flower beds. It’s also a time for me to get a lot of spring house cleaning/organizing accomplished and fun summer activities planned before our children are on their summer vacation from school.

Spring can be a great time for your dental office too! It’s a wonderful time to really look at the office through the eyes of your patients and potential patients and make any needed improvements.  This article, Tips to Improve your Dental Office -First Impressions  has many ideas to help get you started.

As promised, here are some dental marketing ideas for the month of May. Last week, I shared some dental marketing ideas to be used during the month of May’s Teacher Appreciation and Nurses week. If you missed it, you can read about them here.

betty hayden consulting may dental marketing ideas

Gifts from the Garden Month

Host a Spring Perennial Plant Exchange at your office. What a fantastic way to meet your neighbors! (It would be awesome to turn this into a “Beautify & Clean-Up” Local Businesses in the Community Event.)

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom “Garden Month” (or different themed) campaign that includes ideas for special offers, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and recare/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

National Pet Month –  People love to talk and brag about their pets. Use this week to ask your friends/patients on your social media sites to post pictures of their pets. Post pictures of your team members pets. Turn it into a contest: the pet with the most likes wins a special treat.

High Blood Pressure Education Month – Why do we take your blood pressure at your dental appointment? High blood pressure is called the silent killer because, although it contributes to such potential killers as stroke and heart attack, those who suffer from it often have no signs or symptoms.

Many people see their dentist more regularly than a physician and could get an early warning about high blood pressure when getting their teeth cleaned or having other dental treatment done. We take your blood pressure because we care about you.

Family Practice & Pediatric Office Marketing Ideas:

National Family Wellness Month –

Target: Families

Product Feature: Cleanings, Sealants, Mouthguards & Fluoride

May Practice Management Reminders:

Insurance/Hygiene Recare/Incomplete Treatment Reminder: Many insurance companies renew their maximum on June 1st. Pull a report of any patients due in hygiene or with incomplete treatment that have benefits remaining before their June renewal. Make Use it or Lose It calls & mail reminders.

Gift Certificates – Gift certificates for Teeth Whitening make great Gifts!

If you have any other thoughts or ideas please feel free to comment below. Should you need any help with your May marketing campaign, please email Betty: bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea! PLEASE, feel free to share my blog with your colleagues. 

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest

Dental Patient Reactivation Letter

Hello Friends,

What does the start of 2016 look like for you? With a clear vision and plan, are you excited and hopeful for the opportunity to exceed last years production and collection goals?

Or

Are you concerned that it will be a repeat of last years disappointing numbers?

Last year did you struggle with any of the following?

  • Low treatment plan acceptance from your patients.
  • Not knowing your active and inactive patient numbers.
  • Hygiene continuing care reports were a nightmare.
  • Too many holes in the schedule.
  • Poor treatment presentation skills.
  • Too many patients left the practice and you don’t know why.
  • Not enough time to keep your office social media sites current.

Don’t struggle another minute, plan now to make 2016 your BEST year yet! Get whatever help and training you need and want to make the necessary improvements. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no obligation consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Today, I’d like to help you tackle one of those struggles… your inactive patients. Let’s reactivate all of your patients that haven’t been in for one year or longer. The start of the new year is a great time to make a plan for reactivating your patients…. (attack that File Cabinet…or computer patient database!)

dental patient reactivation letter

Ideally, daily, weekly and monthly efforts should be made to develop and maintain relationships with your patients in order to keep them active. However, if for whatever reason your inactive patient database is growing – take steps now to welcome those patients back in to the schedule. You can start by sending a We Miss You reactivation letter.

The following letter can easily be customized to your practice:

WE MISS YOU!

Dear ,

You may not realize how long it has been since we’ve seen you.

We understand how hectic life can be, and it’s easy to put off a visit to the dentist.

We sincerely care about your dental health, and we’re concerned when you miss out on your regular dental visits. With regular check-ups and good home care, dentistry can help you maintain your oral health – and overall health.

Please call xxx xxx today to reserve your appointment and to take advantage of our “let’s get re-acquainted” offer:

Present this letter at your appointment and receive

$25 toward your dental treatment and a

complimentary oral cancer screening.

If you haven’t been in because you are seeing another dentist, please let us know. This way, we can update our records and we’ll know you’re receiving your all important dental care.

A welcoming smile is waiting for you!

Yours for better dental health,
Additional Suggestions:

  • Include a deadline to respond.
  • Use a handwritten colored envelope (Grab their attention!).
  • Have two offers: One for your patient and one for a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor.
  • Make a call to the patients about a week after mailing the letter.
  • Be sure to document all attempts at contacting the patient and the response.
  • Include Social Media & Office Contact Information.

Betty Hayden Consulting is ready to help you create a fantastic marketing plan that will surely exceed your patients expectations and or help you with your practice management concerns and goals. Contact Betty at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com to set up your no obligation, complimentary consultation.

Make it a GREAT Day!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

If I call your dental office, offer me an appointment!

Hello Friends,

Last month, the school that my children attend hosted a Family Fall Festival. I was asked to help them collect donations for the event, donations of toothbrushes to be exact. Okay, so here I am calling dental offices asking if they would like to donate toothbrushes to this event and we would, in turn, allow them to advertise their office at the family event that was expected to draw a very large crowd.

You’ve received those kinds of calls right? People calling with donation requests. How do you handle them? If you’re the doctor reading this you probably aren’t answering the phones, ask your admin team how they handle these calls.

Can you guess what happened when I started calling local dental offices??

  1. Many offices I called didn’t answer the phone. (Thursday afternoon & Friday morning)
  2. The offices that did answer, answered after a few rings and just answered by saying office name.
  3. Some were annoyed with the call
  4. All that answered said they had to check if it was OK to give any out and that they would call back or asked me to call back. The two that said they would call me back never did.
  5. Two offices agreed to donate some toothbrushes.

So that’s good, right? I got two to agree to make a donation of toothbrushes. What happened when I picked up the toothbrushes?

One office gave about 20 toothbrushes (very cheap toothbrushes) in bags with a business card. The other gave a very generous donation, a case of quality imprinted toothbrushes.

While grateful for the contributions I did receive, there were a few things that I found disturbing:

  1. Poor telephone greetings
  2. Offices not answering the phones during the day… you know, when most new patients are likely to call.
  3. The fact that they were not empowered to make decisions on requests for donations on the initial call.
  4. The fact the offices that didn’t get back to me missed out a great marketing opportunity!
  5. The one office donated non-imprinted poor quality toothbrushes. Why bother? (Mind you this particular office has billboards around town, movie theater advertising & cable television commercials. Oh, and their business cards, were black & white and printed on only one side.)
  6. The office that donated quality toothbrushes missed out on a great opportunity to attach some kind of offer/incentive with the toothbrushes.

What was the biggest problem that I found?? None of the offices offered me an appointment! Or at the least took the opportunity to brag about their office! They all knew that I was a mother of students at a school that was only a few blocks from their offices.

how to get new dental patients

Is that a petty complaint? I don’t think so. It was a big missed opportunity to potentially bring in new patient(s).

How easy would it be to say: “Thank you so much Mrs. Hayden, for thinking about us for donations. That sounds like a fun event. I’d like you to know that we love meeting new families in the community, in fact, we’re offering a really great new patient special right now… “

Even if I am not looking for a new dentist, I more than likely know people who are or that will at some point, ask if I can recommend a dentist. So go ahead, exceed my expectations – offer me an appointment! You can bet, I will not forget the wonderful customer service and personal interest that you showed to me.

Maybe you can’t always fulfill a request for donations, what about offering this instead: “Thank you for thinking of us, we’d love to be able to donate toothbrushes but unfortunately at this time we can not. However, we really would like the opportunity to meet more families in our community, we can donate certificates to all the families attending your school event, the certificates would be for $25 toward dental treatment at our office.”

Or something like that. Just don’t say “no” and hang up.

Now is the perfect time to really look closely at how your office phones are being handled. Listen to the calls. Your team may not even realize that they are missing out on opportunities to bring in new patients. Having excellent telephone skills is critical to your success!

How to answer the dental office phone? Hayden Consulting

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.

A few things to consider:

What times are your phones being answered?

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! Don’t blow it.)

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 (Offer us an appointment!)

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 to customize their words to the individual caller. However, professionalism is always a must! I believe that there are words/phrases that should never be used on a call.

 One more, 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.

 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.

 So if I call your office, please, please offer me an appointment! 🙂

 Should 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.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive free dental marketing & practice management ideas via your email each month, please do so today. Feel free to share these posts with all of your dental friends!

 Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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