Are You Spending 5-7 Minutes on Call With Every New Patient?

Dentistry is much more than its fancy tools and cosmetic procedures. And as in any other service business, success in dentistry relies heavily on communication. An effective communication begins with a good listening capability and then understanding the needs and requirements of the customer. So, is your front desk spending time listening to and understanding every new patient on calls? If not, it’s high time you train them to do so. 

In case you are wondering why it is so important to spend quality time with new patients on call, here are a few reasons why.

4 Reasons Why You Must Spend 5-7 Minutes on Every New patient Call

The most important aspect of patient care is understanding what a patient wants to say. As a dental front desk, you might be swamped with a lot of work every day and may want to quickly end the call. However, spending that extra 5-7 minutes can significantly help you get more appointments. Wondering how? Read on…

1. When you listen you are not simply hearing

The heading might be a little confusing, but do you know that there is an actual difference between hearing and listening? Hearing is the simple act of involving your senses whereas when you listen, you have your mind and heart into the conversation. We are always amidst noise and situations that limit our ability to listen and absorb things. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that often our mind wanders to unknown and unrelated thoughts, and we have already missed an important part of the conversation! As caregivers, it is of utmost importance that you pour your soul into a conversation with a new patient. This way, they feel heard and valued. 

2. Front desk is the first point of contact for patients

Needless to say, patients approach the front desk first regarding any dental concerns. It is often the FD that convinces a patient to make an appointment. By spending some time with your patients on call, you can easily convince them to trust your services and make an appointment. While spending time is an important aspect to gain the trust of a new patient, your phone etiquettes are also equally important. How you speak, how you respond has a huge impact on a new patient. 

3. Helps you address patient issues better

The remarkable benefit of spending just 5-7 minutes over a call with new patients is that you get a deeper understanding of their problems. This doesn’t only limit to medical ones, mind you. When a new patient calls, most of the time it is to enquire about your services, charges and timings. It is very important that you listen to and answer in detail every question the patient asks. Most of the work to get an appointment is done right here. The way you speak to your patients decides whether or not they are going to make an appointment at your dental clinic. There may be times when a patient is calling citing an emergency. It is then very important to address it immediately. 

4. Helps build trust

The most important factor to seeing a good appointment growth graph is to build the trust of patients. Especially new callers. With so much competition in the market, it can be a tough job to convince your patients why your practice is the best in town. But given that they have taken the first step of calling you, your job is half done. Rest is how you set the tone of the conversation and how much time you spend in actually having a conversation is what decides the rest. 

Now that you know the four simple yet significant reasons why spending good quality time on patient calls is important, you also must be aware of the best phone practices for a FD to follow so that you can achieve the above. 

Top practices to follow and mistakes to avoid while on call with new patients

When a new patient calls, whether for consultation or any emergency, he probably has a hundred questions racing through his mind. By putting them on hold, sounding impatient or by wrongly answering their queries, you are only putting them off. They would probably never come back for a consultation at your practice. But by changing just the tone and being a little more attentive towards your potential patient, you can end up getting a successful appointment. 

Here are some good phone practices and mistakes to avoid that can help you become a better front desk:

  • Are you using a script? If not, do so- Why using a script is something that is so stressed upon? Because it can help you address issues better, especially if you are a newcomer. Mostly, people at the FD don’t know what to speak. The potential patient who is calling you must have researched your clinic and already has good impressions about your services. By sounding confused, you will certainly put a blow to that expectation. Also, patients don’t want to speak to automated machines or robots. A simple human touch can go a long way in establishing trust and faith. Hence, use these scripts as references to adapt to the context, what the patient is talking about and create meaningful and productive discussion.
  • Never leave them on hold- Another bad practice that can cost dentists potential patients is putting them on hold. No one has the time and energy to wait on hold. So, by doing this, you are likely to send an irate client to another practice down the street. In case you are busy, politely ask to call back and do so. 
  • Never put up a roadblock- By that we mean never say “no”, “we can’t help”, etc. When a potential patient calls seeking help, you ought to provide answers that will help solve their problem. So, for example, if you can’t provide a service on Sunday, kindly ask the client if they are available on any other date and time. 
  • Stop rushing- The main motive of the front desk should be to get as many appointments as possible. You can do this by spending at least 5-7 minutes on call with a potential new client. Stop giving hurried answers and most importantly, let them finish what they have to say before responding. 
  • Speak clearly and slowly- Last but not the least, the most common complaint of dental patients is that they are unable to understand what the receptionist is saying. You need to be able to speak clearly and loudly enough for the person on the other end to hear properly. This sets a good impression on the client who is then sure to book an appointment.

Grab the opportunity of conversion with every new call

The FD is the most important section of your dental practice. They form the front-line army that sets the ball rolling for your dental practice. They interact with patients, understand their concerns and build the first impression and expectation for them. Therefore, every new patient call is an opportunity for the FD to convert it into an appointment. So, it is imperative that they are trained in the art of talking to patients. Not just that but for the FD to be truly effective, they need to also understand how to answer questions and be prepared for emergencies. 

Being patient throughout the call is the key to setting a great impression from the word go. When there is someone who is actually there to listen, patients feel more comfortable in sharing their problems. This is also called a great rapport building. 

Another great point to be kept in mind is as the FD, you should be in charge of the conversation. But the trick is to do so without letting the potential patient know. So, for example, when a patient asks you a question, do not rush to give a direct answer, instead you should ask a few more details from the patient pertaining to that question before answering that question. This way you make the patient get more open up with you.

Once the client is engaged, take the conversation further towards making an appointment. By following these simple steps, you can establish a happy relationship with a potential client. By the end of it, even if you don’t get an appointment, you have created a prospective lead for future sales funnel. Lastly, do follow up with clients who have taken your services. This is like putting a cherry on top of a cake. Take your time in understanding if the patient feels any pain or needs another emergency appointment. After all, the main aim of any dental practice is to make its patients feel valued and cared for. The 5-7 minutes you spend on each call, will make all your efforts worth it. 

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