Dental Office Customer Service Begins with The Telephone
Dental office customer service or the lack of, usually begins with the dental office telephone. Most new patients will call the office to schedule their first dental appointment with you. Most existing patients will call with appointment questions. A few will text or email if that service is offered, and excellent customer service is necessary here too!
If your dental office doesn’t rate with five stars in telephone customer service, you could quietly be losing patients every month.
Dental Office Customer Service… What Exactly Is That?
Dental Office Customer Service is the action of satisfying your dental clients’ needs. Excellent customer service requires those of us caring for our dental patients to treat each person with respect.
Excellent dental office customer service means that the dental office team members must exceed the dental patients’ expectations! Good customer service in today’s culture, might be defined at just meeting a patient’s expectations. To truly provide the best care possible, every team member must exceed the patients’ expectations, each and every time!
Let me give you an example of excellent dental office customer service. Let’s say your patient calls the office with a question about a new dental insurance policy they have and their coverage. The patient’s employer has recently changed insurance carriers. Your patient now has new dental insurance and isn’t sure how it will affect their scheduled restorative appointment.
Your patient has several questions. They ask if you as the provider accept their insurance. Are you considered to be an “in-network” provider? Your patient also wants to know what their out-of-pocket expense will be for their scheduled bridge.
You know right away that your dental practice is not in your patient’s new insurance network. What do you do? You could simply answer by saying, “No, Jane. I’m sorry. We are not in this carrier’s network. I’m not sure how that would affect you. You might want to call your insurance company and check on that.”
The question your patient asked you has been politely answered. You have done all you needed to do. Excellent customer service requires more! Excellent customer service would mean you say something and do something more helpful.
Remain Positive at All Times
Start by always responding with a positive reply. Avoid all negative words to boost customer service! Try something like this…
“Jane, that name is familiar to me. But I would need to check on a couple of things to be sure. Would you mind if I take down your new insurance information? I would like to call your new company to ask them some questions. I could call you right back.”
Get the information you need from Jane to call her insurance company. Get a very detailed account of her insurance coverage and what her out of network benefits are. Call her back within an hour with this information.
“Hello, Jane. Thank you for letting me get back to you. I did talk with Ed at your insurance company. He confirmed for me that Dr. Brown is an out of network provider for this plan. You still have coverage under your plan here. We are able to submit the claim for you too. Your estimated out-of-pocket for the bridge with this plan is $1500.00.”
Hopefully, your patient loves you and Dr. Brown, and will keep their scheduled appointment. Always go above and beyond for your patients and more times than not, they will do the same for you and the practice!
* Patients Come First: Remember that the dental patient comes first. Above everything else that could be going on in the dental office, the patient comes first. The dental patient deserves all of our attention,
enthusiasm, and energy! Answer each call within 3 rings! Each time the office phone rings, it truly must be answered as if the most important person in the world is calling. Guess what? They are!
**Be Upbeat & Positive: Although it might be difficult to be upbeat and positive at all times, it is necessary. This is a discipline and can be done. No matter what you are feeling on the inside, it is crucial to portray nothing but positive energy. Sighing and stressful tones only create more stress for the dental patient. Convey confidence and comfort.
***Focus: All of your energy should be focused on only the patient you are speaking with. It is ok to wave to someone else as they are walking by. Maybe you will even want to nod to a dental assistant or hygienist if they are dropping something on the dental front desk. Avoid having 2 conversations at the same time. Speaking with a patient at the front desk while talking with another on the phone just isn’t going to work.
****Use Your Patient’s Name: When you are greeting your patient, use their first name. Or use the name they prefer to be called. If your patient prefers to be called Mrs. Smith, call her Mrs. Smith. Twice during your phone conversation you will say your patient’s name. When you greet your patient, and when you say goodbye to your patient, refer to them by name.
*****Ask Permission Before Placing Your Caller on Hold: Never answer the phone by saying, “Please Hold”. Use your warm office greeting each & every time! When it is necessary to ask your patient to hold, be sure to get permission. “Could I place you on a brief hold, or would you prefer that I call you right back?” Let your patient decide what is best for them!