Tips on Phone Skills

A common concern among us is that referrals are dropping. The question is how can we improve the numbers of new patients that we see. One of the answers to that question may be simpler than you think.
When we began marketing directly to the patient, we discovered one barrier to effective marketing. It was an obvious barrier, but not until we discovered that barrier. What was it? The front desk phone scheduler.

You can spend all the money that you want on marketing, but unless the person answering the phone knows her purpose, that money can be wasted. Even if you are not marketing, potential patients calling you have a number of periodontists that they can call. How can you get them to stop searching websites and schedule with you?

There are two elements that we found are essential for the phone person.
The phone scheduler needs to know her purpose–To Schedule the Patient. That may seem obvious, but maybe not as obvious as you think. I suggest that you start with the question, “What is your purpose?” You may be surprised at the answers that you receive. Then re-educate the person to her purpose–TSTP (To Schedule the Patient)
The second element is for the phone scheduler to take control of the conversation on the phone. A potential patient calls your office with a question. It might be, “How much are dental implants?” If you have a phone script for that and commonly asked questions, the phone scheduler knows what to say. But the next point is for the phone scheduler to transition the conversation by asking a question. The person asking the question controls the conversation.

In this scenario, the conversation may go something like this:
Potential patient: “How much are dental implants?”
Phone scheduler: “Dental implants are generally in the $2000 range. How did you hear about our office?”
By asking the question, the phone scheduler now controls the conversation. The Potential Patient might say, “I was referred by Dr. Jones.”
To which the phone scheduler might say, “We love working with Dr. Jones. She does excellent work. And I know that by seeing Dr. Periodontist along with Dr. Jones, you will achieve an excellent long-lasting result. What’s better for you, morning or afternoon?”

If your phone scheduler ends her statement with a question, she is more likely to move the patient on the path of scheduling with you.

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