The New Patient Phone Call Is Now an Informed Buyer. Is Your Office Converting These Calls or Burning Them Off?

The New Patient Phone Call Is Now an Informed Buyer. Is Your Office Converting These Calls or Burning Them Off?

A couple of weeks ago we touched briefly upon the thought that Customer Service begins at the point that your lead generation piece comes in contact with your prospective, or existing for that matter, patient who needs to organise an appointment time with your dental office.

This is a light bulb moment your team needs to realize.

Because from this moment onwards, your customer has made a decision already to do business with you and it is now up to your office to capitalize upon that decision and confirm to that customer that they have indeed made the correct decision.

How is this so?

You see, if your lead generation piece has done its job correctly, and I’m assuming at this point that it has, then its really up to your front office person to confirm and capitalize on that patient’s correct decision that your office is the best place around for her to receive the quality dental care that she sought out, and made the decision to receive…

Your customer has a dental issue. They believe your office can help them with that issue. That is why they have contacted your office. [Light bulb moment #2]

You see, in this day and age, with websites, Google places and Google maps, your new patient enquiries have already made an informed decision to be your patient based upon information gleaned from the web already as to what sort of dentist you are and what sort of dental office you have.

It is therefore the role or job of your telephone answerer, be that your appointment scheduler or your front office coordinator, it is indeed their primary role in your office to confirm the new customer’s decision, and go ahead and schedule and organize that appointment.

 

A well-trained phone answerer will know how to solve the dental problem of the telephone caller. Remember, they are not an enquiry. They are a person with a dental issue who believes that your office is the office for them. They have made a decision to do business with your office.

This is in contrast to the good old days of one line Yellow Pages entries and small shiny brass plates, when every new enquiry call was a call for information….

There is sufficient opportunity out there for all prospective patients to have made an informed decision to be treated at your office before they pick up the phone.

The primary role of the front office person is to ensure that all customers have scheduled an appointment, be they existing patients in treatment, or new enquiries. Period. Their role is to organise and own that appointment book.

You see, it is the front office person’s only role. The role is to own and be proud of the structure and compilation of the appointment book.  A well-organised and complete appointment book. A productive appointment book.

If you don’t have a well-organised appointment book, then take a look at how your phone is being answered.

If you are happy with the way it is being answered, then, and only then, look at your marketing. Great marketing will create informed and educated enquiries.

No point in throwing money at marketing if your phone is not being answered correctly.

I know from experience, that great phone answering, across the board, is quite rare in dental offices. If you don’t believe me, then secret call your own office and record it. Or get one of your buddies to do it. You’ll be surprised.

One of the best ways to improve phone call conversions is to incentivize your phone answerer on results of appointments made, and kept.

Because sometimes your staff will think, well “I get paid the same money whether I answer the phone well or not/whether they make an appointment or not”.

Remember, new patients are the lifeblood of your business. Incentivise your staff to make more enquiry conversions into confirmed appointments, and watch your dental office grow!!

 

“How to Convert More Telephone Enquiries into Appointments Made and Kept” is just one of the many straight forward and easy to implement Modules that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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Is Your Office Guilty of Managed Neglect?

Is Your Office Guilty of Managed Neglect?

Whenever you employ a front office person who doesn’t take ownership of the front desk and appointment book…..well there’s trouble there!!

This is a clear and present warning signal with front office employees.

Where the front office and appointment book is a shared role in your dental office, then you need to ensure that one person is responsible to the owner of the office for the structure and completeness of that schedule.

Where more than one employee is making and scheduling appointments, then the office must employ accountable systems to track all movements within that document.

I recently saw in an office where a doctor asked what happened to an appointment that had simply disappeared from the appointment schedule. This appointment, for $6000.00 of dental treatment, had simply vanished in the six weeks between when the patient was last in and when the appointment had been made for.

No one in the office seemed to know what had happened, and it was left to someone in the office to have to call and enquire of the patient the reason for the appointment cancellation. This scenario certainly was not a winner for anyone at the dental office.

I’m sure this scenario is not unique to this dental office? So how can something like this be avoided? The answer is systems.

Here’s a list of daily checkpoints that need to be in place to stop these sorts of scenarios happening and valuable patients falling through the cracks in your system.

Firstly, it is imperative that all patients leave with a new appointment scheduled. This is the GOLDEN RULE.

GOLDEN RULE: ”The Purpose of an Appointment is to Make Another Appointment”

End of Day Summary:

The doctor should be able to review a spreadsheet list of treated patients at the end of each day with the following completed information:

  • Name
  • Treatment done [brief description]
  • Value of treatment billed
  • Fee collected
  • Date of next appointment
  • Treatment at next appointment

Another slip that should be handed to the doctor/owner to review is a list of all patients that day leaving without scheduling an appointment and the reason for not scheduling as well as the employee who that patient dealt with.

Ideally this list should be a blank piece of paper each day. If it is not, then the reasons list, along with the employee responsible list, will provide positive feedback to the owner as to whether the dental office has any areas of concern to address.

A third slip should be presented to the doctor at the end of the day and that slip needs to list any patients ringing in that day to reschedule or cancel any appointments. Again, ideally, this should be a blank sheet at the end of the day, and if it is not, then information gathered on this sheet, such as reason for changing the appointment as well as who took that call, is very valuable to the office owner.

Dental treatment is necessary. It is not elective. Decay is present or it isn’t. It won’t get smaller it will only get bigger. It doesn’t go away by itself.

Dental treatment diagnosed for the patient needs to be completed. It is our duty as a dental office to make sure the patient understands this and gets this treatment done.

Allowing patients to determine when they get their treatment, if at all, is not an option. It is managed neglect.

Team members, and doctors who allow patients to pick and choose and reschedule and not reschedule are practicing managed neglect.

If your office completes these three daily reports for your doctor/owner, then fewer patients will slip through the cracks in your appointment book and be wandering around out there with incomplete treatment.

Patients with completed treatment are raving fans of your office.

Patients with incomplete treatment, out there, are a liability.

This is just one of the many straight forward protocols and Principles that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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Seven Great Customer Service Tips From Brian Tracy That You Can Start Implementing In Your Dental Office Immediately

Seven Great Customer Service Tips From Brian Tracy That You Can Start Implementing In Your Dental Office Immediately

This last week I had the pleasure attending a large Superconference for small business in Orlando, Florida. Over seven hundred entrepreneurs had the pleasure of being in an audience and hearing many great presenters, including the legendary Brian Tracy share their wisdom.

In amongst ninety minutes of pure pearls, Brian Tracy included a brief section on how to Create A Great Customer Experience. Although these points are only a brief component of what is really needed to create a complete customer experience, they do represent a good place to begin when contemplating an *Ultimate Patient Experience*. Here are Brian’s key points, which I will briefly expand upon.

  • Warm friendly personable
  • Make people happy to do business with you
  • Fast resolution of complaints

Also

 

  • Meet expectations every time
  • Exceed Expectations every time
  • Delight your customers
  • Amaze your customers


Would you recommend us to others?

So let’s have a look at these individually:

1.   Warm friendly personable

It’s very difficult to provide a great customer experience and great customer service environment for your clients if you are not in a warm, friendly and personable mood. Think about it. Think about the opposites. How will the experience be if you are lukewarm, unfriendly and distant? In fact, even if you are missing on just one of these three, it will be very difficult to WOW! your customers or patients. I have covered this topic in previous blogs…when you are with your patients, you must be *WITH* your patients. Be there. Be there in the moment. Don’t be anywhere else.

2.   Make people happy to do business with you.

This one is really quite simple. The experience your customer or patient has when visiting your dental office must be pleasurable and memorable in every way. Look at your processes and the steps involved in your business. Make sure that at every point, the patient is being pleased, and not discouraged. There’s no point offering a great clinical experience if the check out is an unpleasant process. Likewise, the nicest people in your office can’t undo an unpleasant treatment experience.

So check all the happiness meters in your office.

3.   Fast resolution of complaints

There will always be areas of concern. Show me a business with no complaints and I’ll show you a business with no customers.

Be aware of these areas of concern and address them promptly. If they are occurring regularly, put procedures in place to address this. Don’t just pretend they are not there, and don’t consider for a minute that your customers are not concerned because they are not saying anything. So if you are running late, apologise to your patient in advance, and let them know that you think that lateness is unacceptable, even if they say it is not an issue for them. They will respect your integrity, believe me.

Another way to reduce complaints is to pre-empt them in advance. Let your patients know about the possibility of postoperative discomfort. Let them know in advance that some people feel your treatment is expensive, while others do not.

Make an exhaustive list of reasons to complain, and have your protocols in place to reduce their instances, as well as to reduce their impacts.

The next four points are my four favourite topics when discussing World Class Customer Service:

1.   Meet expectations every time

This must be your gold standard minimum in your dental office.

For this to happen, your office must know the exact minimum that you and your patients should see and be delivered to them, so that it is a repeatable doable experience, time in time out.

These expectations for your office will always be higher than those expectations of clients and patients of your competitors.

2.   Exceed expectations every time

It is mandatory in your office to always strive to exceed your customers’ expectations at every visit. This is what makes your dental office World Class.

If you are not exceeding your patients’ expectations then you really are just like every other dental office out there. You’re a commodity. Not a service.

Look at your processes. Look at your systems. Work out ways and where it is possible to exceed your customers’ expectations. Put protocols in place to do this, every time.

3.   Delight your customers

Work out and find out ways to delight your customers. When one thing delights one customer, try that on other customers and patients. If it works well once, then it should work well on other occasions.

Turn these points of difference into systems.

4.   Amaze your customers

Always look for ways to go above and beyond with your patients.

Brainstorm with all team members as to ways to WOW! your patients, in a way that leaves your patients astounded and asking, “How did they ever think of that?”

Finally, would you recommend our services to others?

A professional personal recommendation of a new patient from an existing patient is positive feedback that you have created a worthy relationship with that patient of record.

A new patient that comes referred by a patient of record is an invaluable asset for the dental office. The acquisition cost for a referred new patient is infinitesimal when compared to the same cost of acquiring a brand new patient to the dental practice!!.]

As I mentioned, these thoughts from Brian Tracy represent a great way to begin looking at your systems for Customer Service in your office

They are not, and not intended to be the be-all and end-all of Customer Service.

Enjoy your journey into Customer Service.

Having grateful and appreciative patients goes towards the creation of a great environment for creating Great Customer Service, creating The Ultimate Patient Experience.

 

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report. Email me: david@theUPE.com Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!

Are You Leading or Are You Following? Who Exactly is Determining Your Financial Future?

Are You Leading or Are You Following? Who Exactly is Determining Your Financial Future?

Having been in dental practice for some thirty years, I’ve been very fortunate to benefit from the “beginnings” of several changes or shifts in marketing, and the way that we as dentists attract new patients to our dental offices.

Now there’ll always be a large number of dentists who say that their top method of attracting new customers to their offices has always been word of mouth.

I’ll contend for these practices that there are two truths:

1. They don’t have many new patients at all.

2. They don’t invest or spend any money on advertising and marketing to acquire new patients.

That’s why their biggest source of new patients is referrals only.

The simple fact of the matter is in this loud, crowded world, you need to, *NO*, I mean you *MUST*, be putting your name out there to the general public to let them know that you are there to serve them, and to let them know who exactly you are and what exactly you can do for them, otherwise how in the world will those people who are looking for your services ever ever find you?

When I graduated a little over thirty odd years ago, when we talk advertising or marketing for dentists and dental offices, well let’s just say this, that things were very very different. There were massively restrictive mountains of rules and regulations that dictated exactly how you were able to go about letting the general public know who in fact you were and what sort of dentistry and dental services you had to offer to them.

These regulations limited you to the size of a light box [very very small], and the size of a brass plate and even the size of lettering on those items.

There was no yellow pages advertising allowed; just purely line entry only.

Now I’ll hear people say time and time again that they don’t advertise, and don’t need to advertise.

I’ll contend that attracting a larger number of new patients to your dental office each month gives you greater flexibility in determining the type of dentistry that you wish to practice, by allowing you to discard some of those patients with treatment that you’d rather refer away.

A continuous stream of new patients responding to your targeted marketing allows you to build the dental practice that *YOU* want to build. Not become the dentist that your community dictates …you get to work in and run the dental office that you want.

Now prominent position and street front exposure allows you to compete successfully for passing traffic, and that’s OK if you are a general dentist hoping to attract the general population for general dentistry.

However, if you are trying to build a dental practice focused more towards a specific treatment modality, or towards a particular demographic of the community, then you are really going to have to spend some money on acquiring the patients you seek.

You see, money is attracted to speed. No question!

So if you are happy waiting to allow market forces and locality issues dictate your income, lifestyle, and where you live and where you’re children go to school, well that’s fine….but if you feel like you actually want to control your destiny rather than drift along and be dragged into conditions you’d rather not be in…Then you *REALLY* do need to take some control and dip into your pocket and *invest* in yourself so that you really do end up where you want to be rather than where external forces cause you to end up!!

Remember this!

You invested all that time and all those dollars to become a dentist! Years and years and years! And Thousands upon thousands, make that hundreds of thousands of dollars…..

*YOU* alone must dictate your own destiny…after all those years and all those dollars…Don’t allow anyone else to determine your future path….

Remember, *YOUR* dentistry is not just a commodity. The profession of Dentistry is not a profession or a service that anyone can just decide to do…

Dentistry is a university-trained profession. Both you, and the general public need to remember that!

So don’t let the general public treat you like you are just a commodity….

Because if you do, then you discount yourself, you lower your own value and worth….and that’s not what dentistry, or for that matter, the general population, that’s exactly *NOT* what they need.

Become more than just a commodity…become a point of difference..become *THE* dental office of choice in your locality, in your city!!

You deserve it! And your loyal patients deserve it! And your new patients deserve it too!!

 

“How to Not Be a Commodity” is just one of the many modules  that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me: david@theUPE.com

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