A patient of mine who specializes in
relationship marketing explained to me that business is a really big funnel. At
the top of the funnel we seek to attract as many interested potential clients
(patients) from as many sources as possible. Some of the leads we have fall out
of the funnel and don't end up starting treatment with us. A savvy
orthodontist/business person analyzes the business process from marketing to
treatment start and seeks ways to turn the funnel into a cylinder. The number
of "patient starts" you close depends on how well every member of the
team nurtures a prospective patient from marketing effort to the close of the
I attended an amazing lecture this last year
that has changed the way I manage my business. John McGill said, "Orthodontists
spend thousands of dollars in marketing to get the phone to ring only to have
the phone call fumbled by untrained and incompetent office staff."
In October of last year I updated my phone
system. Now it records every phone call (inbound and outbound) onto a local
hard drive in the office. What an amazing teaching and quality control tool for
developing scripts and phone skills! I finally saw how much my phone was
ringing and how my team was handling the steady stream of daily calls from
prospective new patients.
It Is Set Up
While I'm sure there is more than one way to
set this up, this is what I've found to be the best yet most cost-effective
solution for my office.
My phone system has five extensions (front
desk, TC, billing, assistants and doctor). Four of these lines are connected to
a PBX system that has a special USB module that interfaces four lines to a
dedicated computer that serves as a digital voice recorder. The folder where
the calls are recorded is a Dropbox folder. This Dropbox folder is accessible
from anywhere under a secure username and password. The Dropbox service (free)
allows the calls to be backed up and accessed from anywhere via the Internet.
Contact your IT/phone provider company to see
what options are compatible with your phone system. The system I installed
(www.integratelecom.com) is an NEC device and has a USB interface that logs
caller ID, extension, date and time and duration, and allows for tagging of
calls with notes.
My TC looks up the new patients based on their
ID numbering system. (We use Dolphin Management.) The first two digits of the
ID number begin with the year 13 (2013) then the month 02 (February) followed
by the patient 001-999. An example search of 1302 brings up 1302001-1302033.
The call log is first searched for the caller
ID and the call is reviewed. The TC can then hear the caller in his or her own
words rather than hope the scheduling coordinator filled out the intake form
correctly, (though we still fill out the form). Inbound calls more than two
minutes are typically calls where more information is exchanged. This is where
I typically catch lost opportunities and develop scripts based on how I'd like
the call to be handled. Additionally, the new patient's status (as a new
patient) is logged into the system when the employee creates a file for him or
her. This event is time-stamped in the practice management system and calls can
be searched by time.
Once you know the current state of your team's
phone skills, your staff needs time to start role-playing and training. Have
your office call an out-of-state colleague and let him or her play the role of
the parent of a potential patient. Let your colleague from out of town call
your office with some hard questions. Give your colleague information such as
the names of local referring dentists and local area codes, etc. to give
validity to the call. Once your team expects to be mystery called frequently
and graded, the quality of your calls will improve drastically. Play excellent
calls back in monthly staff meetings. Develop grading sheets so that objective
criteria can be enforced. Go online (Orthotown.com) and view our office's
grading criteria (Search: phone calls).
As I have discussed recording employee phone
calls with colleagues, I frequently get asked about legal issues. From my
research I have found that laws about recording phone calls at a place of
employment are dictated by state law. Some states are two-party states while
others are only one-party states. A oneparty state requires that only one party
be aware of the recording (the employee). Two-party states require a recorded
notification - "This call may be recorded and monitored for quality and
training purposes," - so that both the caller and the employee are
notified that the call is being monitored.
See www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs7-work.htm#2a for
details about your state's restrictions.
You can't begin to improve until you know the
status of your current skills. Begin today by monitoring the phone skills of
your team. You won't be sorry! -