We know that one of *THE* Biggest Cringe Moments that a Dentist Experiences is when he overhears his Front Office Person on the phone with a New Patient Enquiry.
The reason for this is that more often truly than not, the enquirer will lead with a question along the lines of:
“How much do you charge for a checkup and clean?”
The reason for the cringe is that ninety nine percent of dental office phone answerers will just answer this question by blurting out a number, hoping that the patient is either ignorant or desperate, or hoping that the timing is right for the patient, or hoping that the patient is not really shopping around at all and has already chosen your office.
The reason is, that every Front Office Person knows, that if your prices are not the lowest in town, well there’s really no point in even entering into a discussion with the Enquirer, because it really is [to your Front Office Person] a no-win, hiding-to-nothing loss of an answer that they are about to offer up.
But what if you had a proven response to this sort of question that gave you a realistic chance of engaging the Enquirer in a meaningful conversation?
What if you had a response that actually converted considerably more price enquiries into happy returning patients that stay, pay and refer?
You see, most dental offices out there are only converting about one in five new patient enquiries at best from being enquiries to actually becoming physical patients of the practice.
Staggeringly, what that means is that four out of every five enquiries on your phone are failing to make a dental appointment with you.
The reason that this is so scary is this:
With today’s technology out there, with websites and SEO and Facebook business pages, the new patient enquirer has already done their homework and decided to make your office their new dental home, before they actually pick up the phone to call you.
Which means that your front desk person is already dealing with an educated informed buyer, who already wants to become a patient of the practice.
So often the reason that the Enquirer even offers up the question about your price, is simply because, as a new visitor to your business, they really have no idea of any other yardstick that they can use to differentiate your office from others in your area.
So if your office is getting price enquiries on the telephone, then the reason for this is that your advertising out there is not giving the average enquirer sufficient information to form and make an informed enough decision to already choose your dental office prior to them picking up the phone and calling.
So firstly I’d urge you to fix the material you have out there in the marketplace, that is influencing the mindset of the new patient enquiries. Fix your website, fix up your print media, and fix up the outside appearance of your dental office.
Following on, if your Front Office Person is regularly fielding price enquiries, there are two ways that she can simply answer these enquiries that will dramatically increase her conversion of these enquiries into actual physical new patient appointments.
Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, so one of the first and one of the best ways we deal with price enquiries is this:
We ask an honest question back.
“Mrs. Smith, thanks so much for asking. Just while I’m looking up the answer to your question, because there are various prices depending on certain things, do you mind if I ask you a question?”….
To which Mrs. Smith will always reply, “Yes”, and to which you say:
“You see because there are different types of cleaning appointments, do you mind if I ask you, how much do you know about the various types and methods of teeth cleanings there are available?”
To which the Enquirer will always answer:
“Well now that you come to ask, not much, really”…..
And so your Front Office Person has now uncovered an opportunity to share information about the various types of cleaning and checking appointments that your Dental Office has to offer….
Now if, after distracting the Enquirer and explaining to them the different types of appointments you offer: if your Enquirer still comes back at you and asks the price question, one of the answers we use with great success is as follows…
Now it goes without saying, that already, your Front Office Person will have established the name of the Enquirer, and will already have asked of them:
How long has it been since you were last in our office?”
This question is the least offensive, most effective way of determining whether the person is a new patient enquiry or a long-term patient. Asking this way is far less offensive to a long-term patient, than if your Front Office Person asks:
“Have you been here before?”
Now that’s a total wrong! Yes.
Once the Enquirer informs us that they are not *yet* a patient of the practice, the next question that must be asked, is:
“Mrs. Smith, can I ask you which one of our valued patients recommended our dental office to you?”
By asking in this way, we are actually letting the Enquirer know that we encourage and are grateful for all personal recommendations from our valued clients.
The two answers we obtain from the Enquirer then allow us to frame the tone of the next and final question to them;
Mrs. Smith, do you mind if I ask you another question?”
“Mrs. Smith, is price the only method you use for determining who does your dental work, or are there other reasons you might use that help you come to that decision?”
This question then allows Mrs. Smith to tell you what exactly is important to her in choosing s new dentist, so that you can then formulate your answers to her, depending upon what she tells you.
Asking these two simple questions and handling the price enquiry in this way should easily see your front office person converting two out of five, if not more, new patient enquiry calls into fully fledged appointments rather than the one out of five number, that is the industry average.
Change and make these tweaks in your office as to how the call is answered, and you will immediately double your new patient numbers, adding instant cash straight onto your bottom line.
Because these people are ringing and calling anyway!
Converting these calls is simply, FREE MONEY!
AS a conclusion, the best way I’ve found to ensure that your phone is answered correctly is this:
Measure your numbers and reward success.
Keep track of the number of calls, the number of appointments made and the number of appointments kept.
And reward your Front Office People on the results.
Because what gets rewarded gets repeated.
Good luck, and remember, it’s free money!! It’s yours anyway; you’ve already paid for it.
Now go out there and claim more of it!
The *Ultimate Connection* is the First Building Block, and just one of the many straight forward and easy to implement protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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