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Quote of the day: “Leap and the net will appear.”
- John Burroughs
When someone calls, you need to be absolutely certain that the person that is answering your phones has a pen and paper ready to take notes. They will need to write down the patient’s name, location, reason for their call, and a phone number in case they get disconnected.
Once they have this information, they can use the patient’s name in the conversation to help them establish rapport and trust. It’s also really important to make sure that whoever is answering phones is smiling when speaking with patients. Smiles can be heard in a person’s voice and will make the phone call a more enjoyable one.
1. Use a Proper Introduction
Staff should use a proper introduction that can be scripted or not scripted. An example greeting would be, “Thank you for calling [Dental Practice]. My name is [Name], how may I help you today?”
Try to make sure that the introduction always ends with a question as it can help you convert more people that are calling in into patients.
2. Set Up the Appointment
Allow the caller to finish explaining why they’re calling. Follow up, refer to them by name, and repeat the purpose of the call. Ask them what time of day works best so that you can set up an appointment. If the caller requests available times, your staff should already have the schedule open and should be ready with a few available appointment slots.
3. Gather Additional Info
If they don’t agree to book a time, gather more information. If the patient isn’t forthcoming, do not pressure them. An example of a no pressure question to gather more information would be, “Is the toothache located in the lower or upper set of teeth?” Continue these questions to see if they’re experiencing other symptoms and after the patient has explained their issue, offer to book an appointment again. You can phrase this in a non-pressuring way as well, “We’d really be happy to help you with [dental problem]. Would a morning or afternoon appointment work best?” By doing this, you’re treating the appointment as something they’ve already decided on doing.
4. Completing the Process
Make sure you have all the correct contact information. Ask the caller if they need directions to your practice. Once you’ve reviewed and verified the information, thank the patient for the call. An example of this is, “Thank you for calling, [Patient Name]. We look forward to seeing you on [Appointment Date]!” Complete the process of registering the appointment and putting the patient into your patient database. A complimentary confirmation email should be sent out that includes the appointment information (date and reason for appointment) and the location of your dental practice.
Once you implement these strategies, you’ll be able to close many more patients than you’re currently closing! The first phone call is a major part of a successful practice, and it’s important to have a general outline for booking appointments. The outline shouldn’t be scripted as scripted calls will be obvious to potential patients.
For more information on Phone Appointments, pick up our free Phone Appointment Checklist
that has step-by-step information on how to handle phone calls and set up appointments. Everything you need to know is covered in this short checklist!
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