Have you ever used the Online-booking button when choosing a restaurant?
When I was out and about in Philadelphia last month, I found the “Find a Table” button on my Trip Advisor app to be very convenient for making bookings.
Choose a restaurant nearby, decide that that is the place you wish to dine, hit the “Find a Table” button, choose a time, and voilà! You’re booked!
No phone calls. No nothing.
Just the click of a button.
You now have a booking.
How good a service is that?
But what are the downsides?
Firstly, and instantly, by the nature of the automation, we lose that human interaction.
“Where’s the best place to park?”
“Do you cater for certain diets?”
“How about access for those with mobility issues?”
“Where are your oysters from?”
“Will you help my sister feel special on her birthday celebration?”
There’s a whole array of personal information that the process of automation does not answer adequately.
But for convenience, and certainty, using the “Find a Table” button to secure a booking is very convenient.
Because once you’ve made up your mind, it’s just, Click, Click and Click, and you’re done.
We know that online bookings are now sweeping into our Dental world…
So, how do we maintain our aura of World Class Customer Service in our Dental Office when it comes to the subject of online bookings?
In this day and age of *Instant Everything* it’s sometimes difficult to imagine how we can utilise and capitalise on this wave of technology now sweeping the planet.
Dentistry is so personal.
That’s what we like to say?
“How is Mr. and Mrs. Public going to know exactly what to book for?”
“How will they know what’s wrong with them?”
“How will they know how long they will need for their booking?”
These are common questions I hear from Dental Offices when discussing the possible entry of this technology into their practices.
The Dentists and staff say:
“The patients need us to guide and advise them as to exactly what sort of appointment they need, how long that appointment should be, and when is the best time for that appointment.”
The Dental Office says:
“A machine can’t do that!”
“A machine cannot provide the personal touch required”
So let’s just take a step back here.
When I lecture dentists, I’m obsessive about the point that there is no such thing as a *SHOPPER* call.
I’m adamant that price enquiries are simply only people with a Dental need that we are yet to persuade and convince that our Dental Office is the right place for them.
The reason they ask about price is simply that they have no other point of reference.
What I teach is that every time the phone rings, it is a person with a Dental need who has already decided that they want us to help them.
That’s why they are calling.
They’ve done their research online.
And now they are calling to confirm that they have indeed made the correct choice.
It is our role, when answering the phone, to ensure that we don’t do anything to make them doubt that initial decision.
Unlike thirty years ago, there is now so much information available to the consumer, we know that by the time it comes for them to pick up the phone, they really do want our Office to “live up to” their decision.
So how do we take this current state of play and turn it to our advantage, when it comes to online bookings for Dental?
My first thoughts have always been that it’s just going to be too hard.
I thought that what we are going to end up with is a whole pile of unqualified names in our appointment book, at the wrong times of day.
Names all over the places jamming up and destroying our already difficult to control schedule.
My thought was that online Dental bookings were going to be a nightmare!
And then, last Saturday, at one of my workshops, the penny dropped.
What we have, with online bookings, is a way of “capturing” the name and contact numbers of someone ready to make an appointment.
What we have, is the details, of someone with a true Dental need, that our Office is now able to help.
Purely and simply.
They’ve made an appointment.
The fact that their name is now electronically appearing in our schedule tells us exactly that.
Person with a Dental need.
Person wants us to be their Dentist.
What online booking has done is it has taken the phone enquiry one *BIG* step closer towards us.
We now have the name of a more qualified “prospect”, right there in our appointment book in vivid colour.
And their number!
So what do we do next?
What if they’ve made the wrong sort of appointment?
What if their appointment length is not suitable for what they need to have done?
Here’s the *GOLD*!
We now have their details.
We know, even more than a phone call, that they do indeed want *US* to be their Dentist.
That’s why they have made the booking!
So here’s what we do….
We phone them.
We call them.
As soon as we can.
We call them to clarify that we are indeed able to help them.
We call them to offer unasked for information.
Like letting them know where the best place to park is.
And asking whether they would like to receive their medical questions before they come to us.
And in what form?
By regular mail, email or download.
And of course, we ask them specific questions pertaining to their Dental needs so we can, if need be, adjust their appointment time and duration.
So that their appointment with us will indeed result in their desired outcomes.
What we need to look at, with online Dental bookings, is that it is purely a way of helping those with a true Dental need to discover more quickly, that our Office is indeed the best place in town for them.
And it’s easier to do that when they’ve already made that decision.
Embrace online bookings.
Take the initiative and call them as soon as they’ve made their booking.
It’s something they certainly won’t expect.
And it will be something that will ensure that they indeed will become our patients.
It will be an “Above and Beyond” moment that no other Dental Office is doing.
“Hi Bob. It’s Joan from Dr Moffet’s Dental Office. I see you’ve just made an online booking with us and I’m just ringing to say hello, and welcome.”
And that’s powerful..
Because they won’t expect that level of service.
Last Saturday morning I took a photo of the sunrise from my Hotel window in Perth.
It was spectacular.
And I posted the photo on social media, including Twitter.
And within twenty-five minutes, Hyatt Concierge had replied online to my tweet, thanking me for sharing the “beautiful sunrise” and to “have a wonderful day”.
Use online bookings and call them as soon as you see the booking.
Use online bookings correctly to make their day.
Point of difference.
World Class Service.
Because they’ll never expect *THAT* level of service.
Because nobody else is doing it….
My One-Day Workshops cover in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS.
For more details about my workshop in Sydney in May, and Melbourne in July, CLICK HERE.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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