Dental success inevitably begins at the front desk. They are the ones who interact with patients and make appointments. They are practically the face of your dental practice. Therefore, it is important that they be given proper training to undertake this extremely delicate job of handling client calls and solving their issues. But how often should the dental FD be trained? Is once at the beginning enough or should they be given regular training? Let’s find out.
The importance of a dental FD can’t be stressed enough. A well trained FD is vital to your practice. Here is listed the top 3 reasons why your front desk is an extremely important asset to your company:
They are the first line of contact
When a client or a potential patient calls your office, the first voice they hear is of the receptionist. The way the front desk entertains the call decides whether you will get an appointment or will send your potential client to your competitor across the street. Hence, they need to be extremely trained in handling all kinds of calls.
A patient may call asking for a particular service or about appointment timings. If your FD gives them a vague reply or fumbles while giving an appropriate answer, this can spell trouble for your practice. In addition to that your FD needs to sound positive and happy while speaking on the phone.
They run your office smoothly
We understand that being a dentist is no easy feat. You are constantly on your toes, shifting from one appointment to the next. In the midst of it all, it is not possible to handle all the administrative work and the backend work as well. Here is where your FD comes into action. They are much more than just receptionists who handle calls. They are responsible for running your office smoothly. From scheduling your appointments, talking and convincing patients, managing your timeline, doing the taxes and handling emergency and post work calls, the front desk does it all.
They play important role in patient care
While your FD might not be treating patients, yet they are an integral part of your practice. They are the ones who set the first impression about your practice to your clients. They are your client relationship managers who solve your patient’s problems and put them at ease. Hence, it is all the more important to train them right and train them often.
As you have read above, your dental FD does a lot more than just taking/making calls and fixing appointments. To say the least, your FD is the heart of your practice as all patients and potential clients first interact with them before reaching out to you. Therefore, how often you train your FD is vital to your practice. Here are some tips to keep in mind while training your FD:
Reasons why regular dental training is a must
While you may think that it is fairly easy to just answer telephone calls and why would your front desk require training? However, they are the front line army who can make or break your business. Hence, it is important that you train them to be a professional receptionist. Over a period of time, many new concepts and techniques develop which is why it is also important to train them regularly. This will keep them up to date with new FD practice trends.
1. Not everyone can answer phone calls
Answering a telephone call correctly calls for the proper etiquette. Holding a meaningful conversation with prospective clients requires a detailed and crisp script. Simply picking up the phone and saying, “hello, welcome to XYZ dental clinic, how may i help you today” and putting the caller on hold after that is not a great way to start speaking on the phone. It is important to remember that every phone call brings an opportunity to convert that call into business. Thus a good greeting style can always push the conversation into a positive side.
Training your FD to take these calls and a proper greeting etiquette is a must. If needed, provide them a script that they can memorize. Over a period, they will easily master the art of picking up phones and speaking in the proper way.
2. Every new call needs to be treated with priority
As said above, every phone call brings with it an opportunity to convert it into an appointment. Your dental receptionist might not be a salesperson. But it is important to train them to be one. Since, it is they who interact with patients first, convincing them to take your services is also a part of their duty. The script you give them should also include some basic lines and strategies that your FD can use while speaking to a prospective client.
By regularly practicing the same, your receptionists can easily become like trained sales professionals. Asking the caller whether they have an urgent dental need or do they need to schedule an appointment can help steer the conversation in the right direction. It is also helpful to keep a notepad where important dates and concerns can be noted immediately.
3. Dental FD needs to be proactive
Just training your FD to take proper phone calls isn’t enough. They also need to be proactive in answering emergency calls. Therefore, they need to be trained well in this area too. A client might require an immediate appointment for toothache or a patient who has already undertaken a treatment at your clinic might have some post-treatment pain that needs to be managed immediately. Under these circumstances, keeping the patient on hold and rushing off to the dentist will do more harm than good.
Hence, the FD must also be trained regularly regarding non-invasive dental procedures like the names of common OTC medications and when to take them or some post dental treatment steps that patients must follow. Teaching your FD these simple yet important things can also significantly improve your productivity as you don’t have to bother about these trivial matters anymore.
4. Being calm needs practice
You can train your dental FD all you want but if they are not calm enough while speaking, are hurrying patients into finishing a conversation or worse still, are not letting the patient speak first, it can be the end of your practice. Dental training also includes the pace at which a person must speak to a prospective client. Speaking calmly has its own benefits. It shows the patient that you are not in a rush and have the time and energy to listen to their concerns. This will automatically have a positive impression about your dental practice.
When a patient feels heard, they feel safe in trusting a dentist with their problems. This goes a long way to build a chain of patients who will always turn to you at times of need.
5. Training is must while taking follow up calls
Dental FD training doesn’t only limit to answering calls. Taking follow up calls is also a very important skill that your receptionist needs to master. Follow up calls are a must if you want to maintain a good reputation about your clinic and service style. It is also important if you don’t want your sales funnel to dry up.
A good dental FD should know how to address such calls and find a potential opportunity for a follow up appointment. Follow up calls aren’t only restricted to patients who have taken a service at your clinic but those prospective clients who have had date and time issues earlier. Giving them a follow up call gives the impression of a professional clinic that knows its job well.
Training your FD regularly can ease hiccups in your schedule. In case you are still wondering why training your FD often is a must, then you must understand that almost 90% of appointments are through phone calls only. You need to train them properly to represent your practice the right way.
Unless they are trained well, they do however they want which may not be good for your practice. Also, over a period of time, trends change and so do greeting styles. It is so important to keep your FD team updated on the best practices and evolving style of telephone conversation. Hence, regular training atleast once in a year is must.
Training will not just benefit you but your FD staff as well. It will help them manage their daily workflow better besides managing the patient flow well. Training them throughout their employment will ensure that you are not missing out on important procedures. By creating a good impression on patients, you can be sure to benefit well from training your FD well.