From time to time I have the need to phone dental practices and talk to the people working there.
Here’s what I do. In this order:
Firstly, I listen to see how many times the phone rings before my call is answered.
Secondly, I sometimes have my call answered by an automatic voice message, that more often than not, tells me something that I don’t need to hear [i.e. it’s not that urgent] before I speak to another human being.
Thirdly, I hear a significant number of calls answered by someone speaking too quickly where:
- I don’t catch the name of the answerer and I have to ask them to repeat themselves, or I have to guess what they just said their name was…
- The person answering the call doesn’t even say who they are
When the call is answered I always greet the answerer by saying:
“Hi [first name]”
And repeating their name immediately by saying:
“[first name], it’s Dr David Moffet calling. Just wondering, is Dr Brown/Dr Betty Brown/Betty in your office today?”
Depending upon what the answerer says, more often than not I will say:
“[first name], can I leave a message with you and can you have Betty call me back when she has a few minutes please?”
And then I say:
“[first name], has my number come up on your phone?”
[Most of the time now it does, and the answerer will usually read it back to me]
And then the answerer says this to me:
More often than not, which means, ON MOST CALLS, the person answering the phone will say to me:
“What did you say your name was again?”
This is wrong!
This is SO wrong!!
For someone who is paid to answer a telephone, asking this question is a SERIOUS FAIL.
Having to ask the caller to repeat their name over at a point that is THIS FAR INTO A PHONE CONVERSATION shows me that the person answering the phone is not prioritising the information that they need to be gathering from incoming calls to the dental office.
Whether a caller is phoning to schedule an appointment or whether the caller is phoning to try/attempt to speak personally to someone in the dental office, the first priority of the person answering the phone is to find out the name of who they are talking to and be able to repeat that name back to the person on the other end of the phone at regular occasions [as many times as possible].
IT IS PLAIN RUDE NOT TO DO SO.
Dale Carnegie said it best when he said:
“A man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the language.”
Everybody loves to hear the sound of their own name, and everybody loves to be called by their name, often.
And the reverse is also true:
The easiest way to offend someone is to not remember their name, and be caught out admitting that you have failed to remember their name [especially when that person has personally introduced themselves less than one minute before].
When I listen back to recordings of callers into dental practices….
When I listen back to recordings of callers into dental practices, the number one failure of people answering the phone in dental practices is they conduct long conversations with the callers without ever finding out the name of the person who has called, and whether they are talking to an existing patient or a potential new patient.
They fail to ask the caller if they were referred by an existing patient.
Sometimes, when the caller is phoning to make an appointment for their spouse/partner/parent, a conversation on the phone goes on without finding out the name of the spouse/partner/parent as well as the caller.
Asking each person who phones your business their name, and writing it down, and using their name back to them, is very easy to do.
Asking someone who phones your business their name, and writing it down, and using their name back to them, is very easy to do.
It is also very easy NOT TO DO.
Which do you think is better for your business?
A process that never offends the caller?
Or a process that potentially offends every caller?
Remember, it’s the little things that we do, and the little things that we FAIL TO DO that make the big differences to our customers.
Most patients who leave a dental practice and take their business elsewhere do so because of a feeling of being taken for granted, or of being ignored.
And it is these displays of apathy, and perceived apathy towards our patients that causes them to up and go and seek treatment elsewhere.
Don’t allow apathy towards your patients to creep into your business.
Make every patient, and every caller, feel important.
And it all starts with their name….
LIVE Workshop: Dr David Moffet and Jayne Bandy:
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If you’re sick and tired of drilling all day long, and not having anything close to what you deserve, to show for it… or if you’ve ever wondered, “What can successful dentists POSSIBLY know, that I don’t?”… then register for this LIVE workshop Friday July 30, 2021 in Melbourne, VIC.
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Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?
You need Call Tracking Excellence.
For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….
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Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com for more details.
Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org