As a dentist, you spend a lot of time and money building your brand, marketing your practice, and designing a WOW experience for patients. With so much focus on marketing and patient experience, it’s easy to lose focus on optimizing inbound appointment calls, an important step to filling your schedule.
How you and your team perform on appointment calls can make the difference between earning a new patient for life and losing a prospective patient to another dentist. By delivering a WOW phone experience, you help your caller take action to come in and get top-quality treatment and the VIP treatment they deserve.
Here are five key steps to ensure you and your team are Delivering WOW experiences every time the phone rings so you and your team can ensure the steady flow of phone calls you’ve invested so much into earning turns into a steady flow of new satisfied patients for your practice.
1. Remember the great effort that has gone into making the phone ring.
Every new patient call is the result of a lot of hard work. If they’re calling from a Facebook ad or dental marketing funnel, you spent time and money running the campaigns, in addition to your other brand-building activities. If they’re calling based on a referral, you spent time and money investing in building trust with whoever referred them to you.
Make sure your team understands how much has gone into making the phone ring. This is their time to shine!
2. Start every call with a WOW greeting and relationship-building focus.
Set aside distractions, focus on the caller, and anticipate meeting a new patient for life. When you answer, smile. This simple trick will help you sound enthusiastic. Speak slowly and clearly, and answer the phone by identifying your practice and your name and asking how you can help the caller.
After greeting the caller, listen carefully to what the caller says next. You can learn a lot about the patient based on the first thing they say after this type of greeting. If they are in pain, be empathetic. Immediately acknowledge the pain to let them know you care as you help them make an appointment to get relief. If they are calling to make a non-emergency appointment, remain positive and make sure their phone experience is smooth.
3. Ask questions and listen carefully.
After you learn the reason for their call, ask questions to help understand the caller’s situation in greater detail, and let the caller finish before responding. Your patients come to you for more than just how good a job you do at fixing their teeth. They want to be heard and treated with respect, and to know they are important to you. If you talk over them or interrupt, they will feel less important. Let them know important they are by asking open-ended follow-up questions and listening carefully as they explain their situation to you.
When they finish, ask any necessary open-ended follow-up questions and then restate the issue to them. Just start with “So, if I understand you correctly, you need…” and give a quick summary of their issue.
4. Build value.
Once you understand their issue, briefly let the caller know why your practice is a great place for them. Let them know the personal value proposition about your practice, such as “the reason many patients choose us is because we not only offer quality dental care, we also make sure all our patients have a VIP experience with every appointment. When you come into our office, you will enjoy a spa-like experience with hot towels, arm massages, and gourmet coffees and teas.”
Briefly explain the experience they can expect when they come to your office, so they understand exactly why your practice is such a great place.
If they expressed other concerns on the call, such as whether you accept their insurance, make sure you acknowledge that and clearly answer their question, such as “we are a participating provider in your plan and will work with you to help you understand exactly what your plan covers when discussing treatment options for you.”
5. Ask for the commitment.
Once you build a relationship, understand the caller’s need, and describe the value of your practice to your patients, it’s time to book your new patient’s first appointment. The best way to do this is to assume the patient is ready to make an appointment at this point. This is the case the vast majority of the time when calls follow these five steps. Thus, instead of asking the caller if they want to make an appointment, which could create doubt, just ask them what times work best for them for an appointment.
I suggest giving two options, such as “Do mornings or afternoons work best for you for an appointment?” If they say mornings, give them two morning options. If they need a different day, they will ask for one. From that point forward, the only question is when they will come in to get the WOW experience of being your patient, not if they will make an appointment.
Once you select the date, get their contact information and let them know of any relevant policies, such as your cancellation policy. Then let them know how excited you are to meet them on their appointment and end the call.
Are you getting the best return on your marketing efforts?
You invest way too much time and money attracting patients to your practice and building WOW experiences to lose new prospects to a subpar inbound call experience. With these five steps, you and your team can produce consistently positive phone experiences and dramatically improve your success rate.
If you want help doing so, sign up for your 14-day trial to Delivering WOW U where you will find my complete Systems and KPIs training including a Delivering WOW Roadmap checklist, and KPI testing and measuring list and calendar templates.
You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices. Finally, if you want even more personalized help, sign up for the next business bootcamp session, where I work with you and a small group of other dentists to implement these and more strategies into your practice.
This article originally appeared on DeliveringWow.com.