Your front office is a huge part of your dental practice. They control your schedule and they are the first personal touchpoint that many of your patients will have with your practice. Ensuring that your team is well-trained and well-equipped to handle every type of call is key to your success.
Here are 4 ways to win a caller’s trust and ensure they don’t hang up while on hold:
- Listen carefully to a caller’s question, restate, clarify, and affirm.
During a call, it’s normal for potential patients to ask questions and request clarifications before trusting your practice and committing to an appointment. Take this opportunity to build their confidence in your practice’s ability to provide excellent and expert service.
Not all callers are created equal, some have less patience than others. If you find that a caller is frustrated, in pain, or in a rush, empathize with them. Keep your cool and stay calm, even if the caller is irritated or rude. Do not interrupt the caller when they are talking, let them finish.
- Value your caller’s time.
Whenever you don’t have an answer to a question on hand and have to put a caller on hold to check with the system or other people, you need to ensure that the hold-time is kept to less than a minute. Nobody likes to be kept waiting on the phone.
When you request a 1-minute hold time, keep that promise and get back to your caller even when you don’t have the answers yet. If one minute has passed, stay on the line with them. Apologize if you missed the one minute mark or cannot give the answers right away. Ask them to stay on the line. Your presence assures them that they are not being ignored. By giving them your full attention you show your interest in having them as a new patient.
- If you have to put them on hold, politely ask for permission.
Politely explain why you cannot give answers right away and have to put them on hold (i.e. only the dentist knows the detailed procedure, you will need to contact the insurance company, etc.). Once they hear your reasons, they are more likely to understand. Be patient with them to ensure they stay on the line.
- If you don’t have the answer, give an estimate.
If you couldn’t find out the correct answers within the one-minute hold time, give an estimated price range, how long the procedure would take, or common details regarding their insurance. If the dentist is the only one who will have the complete details of the caller’s inquiry, escalate the call, or arrange a call back with the dentist. Finally, in the case you can’t give any answer right away, ask if you can call them back and ask for a callback number. Specify when you will return their call and make sure to call on said date.
Providing a great patient experience starts well before a patient ever walks through the doors of your practice. Make sure your front office is providing great customer service at every customer touchpoint, and can start building loyalty with your patients as soon as they reach out.