Last night here in Sydney there was nothing on TV.
And I mean NOTHING!
I surfed the channels and in desperation settled on a station showing a tennis competition being played in regional Australia.
The match was between Nadal from Spain and Federer from Switzerland.
Surprisingly, the match ended up being quite enthralling.
Firstly this Federer chap seemed to have the upper hand.
Then the Spaniard took control and looked all points a winner before low and behold, if the Swiss guy did not just turn it around again to take control after three sets.
And then, in a plot worthy of Agatha Christie, the Spaniard surged back to claim the fourth set and an early break in the fifth.
But someone forgot to tell the Swiss guy the game plan, because again, like Lazarus, he rose from the dead and came back to win the match, and the championship, whatever that was…
What really interested me was how the Swiss guy used a medical time out of over six minutes in length at the end of the fourth set to go off court and receive some attention.
For poor old Nadal, this was like a killer blow, because he had to put his momentum on hold for a long period of time while Federer was back in the change room having a Tosca and getting a massage on his right quadriceps muscle, so they said.
It must have been a real challenge for Nadal to try to maintain his momentum, and although he took a lead early in the final set, he was not able to withhold a late challenge from the Swiss guy who returned revitalized and ended up winning the match.
So what has this got to do with Dentistry?
Have you ever had a team member answer your dental office phone only to be blown away by the demands and questions of the caller?
So much so that the end result of that call is that the caller has NOT made an appointment with your office, and has decided to try to make an appointment elsewhere instead?
How do you know that they are going to go elsewhere?
Well, that’s simple.
If they did not make a time with you about coming in to your office, then they sure as eggs are going to try getting in somewhere else.
You see, nobody in their right mind sits down one sunny afternoon and decides to call hundreds of dentists as an activity just simply to help them pass the time of day.
Of course not!
So what this means is that everybody who calls your dental office is really a person in need of an appointment time with your dentist or your hygienist.
And it is our job on the front desk answering the phone, to be make sure that we are able to get these callers in to our appointment schedule and help them with their dental problem.
After all that is why they have called us, isn’t it?
Not because they had a spare fifteen minutes so they thought that they would begin some random dental office survey of prices, treatments and modalities….
And that’s where this time out thingy used by this Swiss guy last night can be used in the Dental Office to help secure appointments.
Do what Federer did.
If the phone call is not going the way that you think it should be going then ask the caller for a time out period.
Yes, ask the caller if they mind if you put them on hold for a moment.
“Excuse me Mrs Caller…Would you mind if I placed you on hold for a very short moment? Is that OK? I won’t be a moment. Thank you. I’ll be straight back….”
Of course Mrs. Caller will happily allow you to put her on hold, just for a moment.
And it is in this valuable interlude time that you can take a sip of water, and regather your thoughts afresh and come back onto the phone with all cylinders firing and recharged so that you will achieve a satisfactory outcome for the caller.
And that outcome is fairly, that we secure an appointment for the caller to come into our office and see our dentist.
Because for them to go elsewhere is not the best possible outcome for both them and for our dental office as well.
In sporting events these days more and more, the use of the time-out period is on the rise where it is being used strategically during the event to take some momentum away from the in-form opponent at crucial moments.
So let us learn from our recreational colleagues.
Let us learn to utilise procedures and protocols and systems available to us to the advantage of us and of our business.
The use of a time-out, when answering the phone, is a classic example.
When we return to the call we are refreshed, regrouped and polite:
“Thank you Mrs. Caller for allowing me to take that call. “Now, where were we…?”
Mrs. Caller will be a little out of position as a result of this said interruption.
This will allow our dental receptionist the opportunity help solve Mrs. Caller’s issues and schedule her a time to see our dentist.
If your front office people feel that they are missing out on scheduling some new patent enquiries then the tactical use of the time out during those calls could well be the correct medicine.
My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Melbourne Australia on Saturday 1 April 2017 with Jayne Bandy and Wolfgang Hofbauer.
You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order
The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service 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 email@example.com
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