Offline marketing, social media marketing, google ads and so many channels to market your dental services. Options are endless and results are obvious: a long string of enquiries. Yet, what stings is a conversion graph stooping way below your expectations after investing a considerable time, effort, and money in marketing. In reality, revenue generation is crisply divided into two parts: marketing and reaping the results of marketing. Where all the efforts and expenses invested in marketing are aimed at bringing enquiries to your front desk, it is only the efficiency of your front desk that decides the conversion rate. Just recall, how many times have you called a service company only to be redirected to an absolutely vexing automated music for long, tiring minutes? Chances are, you will never call them back again. Now imagine the same approach by your dental front desk and how many potential patients you stand to lose. Even statistics suggest that the average conversion rate for dentists in the US is just 23% and there is only a 30-50% chance of conversion via calls. So, In case you are wondering why in spite of getting so many calls in a day, the conversion scale isn’t moving up, maybe it’s time to train your dental front desk right. What do we mean by that? Let’s find out.
Any call, especially in case of a dental practice, holds an opportunity for revenue generation. A person calling your front desk might be in a lot of pain, looking for an emergency service or could be simply calling to enquire about the cost of a particular treatment. Whatever the case be, a cookie-cutter phone answering approach where the receptionist begins with, “Hello, welcome to XYZ dental office, please hold….” can spell trouble for your practice. In this era of instant gratification, the saying, “First impression is the last impression”, holds absolutely true and by putting your callers on hold, you risk losing thousands of dollars worth of business.
The problem with most dental practices is that they don’t spend much time or money on training their front desk. There are no comparable metrics to analyze the calls and their outcome. This laissez-faire approach can severely impact your profitability, as not only could you lose a potential client but also annoy existing clients. Because you see, patient loyalty has a lot more to do than just plain vanilla promises of delivering excellent services. It goes beyond saying that it all starts with a phone call to your front desk. When a new patient gives you a call, chances are, you have just a few minutes to impress them and win their trust. The way you deliver your script decides whether the patient is willing to take your services or not. Also, many front desks don’t follow up with their new and existing clients, don’t practice a proper way of greeting patients and in many cases the call ends up going into voicemail. So, how can you ensure that maximum calls are converted into business? Well! Here is a rundown on understanding clogging issues and practical suggestions to overcome them.
1. A questionable greeting practice
The way you greet your patients sets the tone of the entire conversation. A caller can easily sense your mood by your “Hello”. Often, front desk professionals seem preoccupied or are quick to put the caller on hold for a long time. This gives a discouraging impression about the dental practice. Also, a patient probably wants to enquire about the cost of services and if you fidget to give the answer or give a vague answer, it will show poorly about your professional knowledge.
How do you solve it?
To begin with, speak slowly and clearly. The best practice is to use a professional script for greeting. For example, saying, “Hello, thank you for calling XYZ office, my name is Susan, how may I help you today?”, can be a great way to begin the call. By announcing your name, you are adding a personal touch to the call which the caller may instantly find quite friendly. Secondly, make sure that everyone on the front desk follows the same style of greeting. This shows how professional you are.
The next step is to build a friendly rapport with your caller. The way to do this is by asking their name. You can politely ask, “Who am I speaking with?” And once they say their name, you can proceed with answering their query by taking their name. Make sure you reiterate their question to sound professional. Finally, close the call by giving a definite answer to their query and subtly insist to schedule an appointment if need be.
2. The problem of missed calls
The next issue, which is also one of the topmost contributors of why your calls aren’t getting converted, is missed calls. Your front desk may not be intentionally missing the calls, yet there are lunch hours, early hours, weekends or post office hours. You may end up missing valuable calls that could give you meaningful conversions.
How do you solve it?
The best way is to invest in a solution that will completely handle all your new/fresh calls. From picking up the call in the first ring to building a great rapport with the client and providing an initial diagnosis, there are expert service providers that do it all. In fact, such companies work long after your office hours to ensure a patient is tended to in case of an emergency. Also, this way your front desk can work only on following up with existing clients and giving them a better service.
3. There isn’t a two-way texting
This issue stems from the problem of receiving text messages from new clients. Given how everyone is always on the go these days, patients expect a quick response time and really appreciate it if you message them back.
How do you solve it?
Ensure to train your front desk to check all the missed calls and messages and revert promptly. This small step goes a long way in showing that your dental practice cares for its patients and is highly professional.
4. No appointment slots are a nightmare!
Your office can only handle so many patients at a time and it is absolutely understandable that your time slots may be booked or the ones available may not be convenient for your patients. This also leads to phone calls yielding no conversion.
How do you solve it?
The best way to solve this problem is by creating an excellent rapport with your clients. In case you are wondering how you can create a great first impression, start by training your front desk on consultative selling. So, instead of just being a receptionist and answering the patient’s call, your FD can actually act like advisors, discuss their problems and ensure a visit. This way, you can also get a deeper understanding into the most requested time slots and accordingly set up your schedule to cater to more patients. At times an appointment taken after regular hours can also work wonders in terms of client satisfaction and positive referrals.
5. Following up is a must. Period.
The golden rule to ace the game at any business is following up with clients, whether new or old. People are automatically drawn towards businesses that are well versed with the tricks of the trade. So, you may have a patient calling and enquiring about different services but are unsure about the price. They might want to take the time to evaluate different options before closing in on yours. If you don’t follow up after a couple of days chances are, you must have already lost that client.
How do you solve it?
You have to train your front desk to keep a track of all the patients they need to follow up with. At the end of a day or in between, they can run those follow-up calls. Better still, you can also train your front desk to keep all answers from the previous conversation ready, so that they can easily convince clients to invest in your dental service over others.
Although the problems listed may seem trivial, they can actually create a huge dent in your conversion rates if not taken care of timely. So, instead of hiring a receptionist with the only motive of picking up your calls, invest some time and energy into training them so that they can make and take effective calls. A simple gesture and tone can work wonders on clients calling for the first time to enquire about your services. Consider your phone and reception system as an important part of your revenue making machine. Invest in a call tracking system that tracks, evaluates and provides expert feedback on how you can improve your calls further.
A phone call is just a phone call until you incentivize it. By training your front desk to aim at converting each call into an appointment, very soon, every phone call will become a way to drive up your growth ladder and you will start seeing good conversions rates! Even then if you feel like training your FD is a lot of work, there are expert companies like the Spoton Schedulers who help you scale your revenue growth by completely handling your new client calls and their developing strings until a business is generated from it.