Top Ten Telephone Tips for New Patient Calls

Editor’s Note: Our leading lioness is lounging in Hawaii this weekend, enjoying a well-earned vacation. We’ve officially given her the weekend off and have dipped into our Archives to bring you this week’s Monday Morning Stretch below. Enjoy!

  1. Have Them At Hello! Being professional doesn’t mean you have to sound cold. Actually, quite the opposite! Make sure your initial telephone greeting sounds upbeat, friendly, and professional… and always identify the practice and yourself.
  2. Make a connection right away. Get the patient’s name at the beginning of the call and look for a way to make a personal connection, build rapport, and let them know you “see” them as a person, not just a set of teeth or a dollar bill.
  3. Know where you’re going. Determine, in advance, the solutions you have to offer a prospective new patient. For example: a comprehensive exam, emergency exam, and a complimentary “meet and greet” consultation. Be sure you know (from your dentist) which solution is best to offer in different situations.
  4. Grab control quick. Asking questions puts you in the driver’s seat of the call. No matter what they ask for at the beginning of the call, say something like: “I’d love to help you with that, Mrs. Campbell. I want to be sure I give you the right information (appointment) so would you mind if I asked you a few questions first?” Now you can begin to determine the real needs and the appropriate solutions to offer.
  5. Don’t let the computer be your guide. What you want to know and what the computer screen wants to know are two different things! Who cares what the social security number is if they don’t have insurance and they don’t make an appointment! Save these detail questions for the end of the call.
  6. Ask intelligent questions. Your initial questions should focus on determining what’s driving their call. Ask about any discomfort, cosmetic concerns, time constraints, and anything else that helps you create a sense of urgency and determine the appropriate solution to offer the patient.
  7. It’s not the patients’ job to sell themselves on you. You have to sell them on you. Make sure you know what is exceptional about your dentist, practice, team, facility, technology, expertise, or specialty. Then, select the attributes which directly relate to the needs you have discovered from the patient and SELL those to them. Show them, based on what they want and what you have to offer, why you are a perfect match!
  8. Be ready with two appointment offerings. Know, at all times, the next two new patient appointment opportunities. Never ask, “So, would you like to go ahead and schedule that?” Always roll right into, “…and actually, Dr. Martin could see you for that appointment either Wednesday at 11:00 or Thursday at 2:00. Which of those might work best for your schedule?”
  9. Give great directions. Help your patient get to the appointment on time! Type up great directions including exact mileage from freeways and easy-to-spot landmarks and tape them by your phone. Include a great map in your welcome package and on your website.
  10. Let me hear you smile. The patient can’t see you but you are creating a “snapshot photo” in their mind that becomes more and more vivid with every word you speak. Make sure, with your enthusiasm, energy, helpfulness, confidence, and attitude of service, that you help them paint the most brilliant picture of all.

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Three phone lines are ringing…
Two patients are being dismissed…
And your head’s about to explode!!

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“Every call is a chance to help someone resolve a problem and see a great dentist. So beef up those skills and crank up your enthusiasm for the next call you take!”
~ Katherine Eitel

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