The Phone

 What is the least expensive marketing tool in your practice?  It’s your phone. Let’s look at your phone and see if you are maximizing its use.

First question.  What is your phone coverage?  Yes.  When do you have someone answering your phone?  Okay, so let’s look at your habits. When do you make phone calls?  Before work, at lunch, and after work.  And for many who are off on Fridays, you call then as well.  If you call someone and the phone is answered, you can make the appointment, talk with the person you need to talk to.  So what about your practice?  Is someone answering your phone at those times?  Is someone answering at lunch? I hope so. What about your day off?

Let’s look at the stats.  Many expect to be able to call your office from 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday.  That is 50 hours a week.  If you stop answering the phone at 5 PM, you’re missing a whole group of people who want to call you when they are free, after work.  Not answering on your day off?  You are missing ten hours of potential patients each week.  And please don’t tell me that you have your answering machine or voice mail answering during your lunch.  The potential patient needs an appointment, not a machine.  That patient will call the next doctor on the list, the next website.

So let’s look at the stats. If you stop answering at 5, you miss five great hours a week.  If you don’t answer your phone during lunch, there’s another important four hours. And if you don’t answer on your day off, there’s another nine hours gone.  That is eighteen hours a week.  Let’s see.  18 hours missed divided by 50 hours when your phone should be answered. That’s 36% of phone time missed. How many new patients are you missing in that time?  Let’s assume that you miss only one. How much is that patient worth?  $3000? $4000? $5000? More?  Is that worth the additional $300 a week in salary to be sure that patient is scheduled in your office?

Potential patients have choices. They are looking for service. They have other dentists that they can call if your phone is not answered, or is busy, or is on voicemail. Let’s get that phone covered.

One more point on the phone, and this point might require some training. If a potential patient is calling your office asking questions, it is the purpose of your person answering the phone to schedule that patient. That’s it. Simple. Your job is to schedule that patient. How to do that may require some training, but the first point is to ask your receptionist, What is your purpose in answering the phone?  Once that purpose is understood, it makes the training that much easier.

Your phone is the most economical marketing tool that you have. Make sure that you are maximizing its potential.