Answering Dental Office Phones with Excellence
Answering dental office phones with shine and polish takes practice. And it takes training. Nobody is born knowing how to do this. Yet, I’ve seen firsthand that it’s often skipped as a training process. At least in the dental world. And I’m really not sure why. I don’t know if it’s because some may not really understand it’s impact. Or if it’s just assumed the team will figure it out.
However, if you feel you are missing something- like new patients- this could actually be the problem! And it’s something you wouldn’t even know about. Unless of course you are somehow able to listen to what’s happening on your dental office phones each day. But even then, you don’t know who is on the other end of that call. Or what they are saying or asking of your dental office.
Today is the day for you to effect a change. And I’ve got a systematic approach for you to use as a tool to get started! Get your dental office team plugged into my phone training system. This on-line course can be accessed from any computer at your convenience. It’s a self-propelled course you can work through at your own pace. Purchase this today for yourself or for your entire team!
Create Your Scripted Greeting
Everyone on the team should answer your office phones the same. Of course, everyone will have their own way of saying the words you choose. But the words should be the same. It creates trust with your patients. And it shows uniformity. But it also takes the worry out of how patients are greeted. While reflecting the brand and flavor of the practice as well.
There are a few things your greeting should have. A simple “Hello” is a great way to start. And then identify the name of the practice. But be sure to say your own name as well. Then, follow that with a question of how you might help your caller. It should go something like this.
“Hello. Dr. Brown’s dental office. This is April. How may I help you?” Keep it short and to the point. You definitely don’t want it to be too long. Nobody has time for all that. And your patients lead busy lives too! Let them know who you are and ask how you can help. That’s it. I know it might seem so simple, but I’ve heard all kinds of crazy greetings. I’ve even heard a greeting that was just “Dr.’s office”. Seriously!
So write your greeting. Then share it with everyone on the team. Whether you are the dentist, practice manager, or a member of the team. Share this with your team. Anyone can answer the office phones. But everyone needs to learn the best way to do this.
Speak Slowly And Clearly When Answering Dental Office Phones
It’s important to speak slowly and clearly when answering dental office phones. No matter what else is going on around you! This can be a challenge. Because the dental front desk is command central! And there is so much happening at once. At least some of the time! There are always those moments when it gets all crazy! And then it settles down again. The important thing is to never communicate this to your patient on the phone.
Take the time to pronounce your words. Again, I know it sounds ridiculously simple. But have you ever called an office and couldn’t hear or understand the person who answered the phone? I have! It’s also important to speak loud enough for your caller to hear you well. Not yell at them! Just be sure that your volume is one where you will be heard. As you don’t want your patient to have to ask you to repeat yourself or mishear you.
Answering Dental Office Phones With Warmth
First impressions matter with every call. We want every patient to know we are happy to hear from them. And to create that small town practice feel for our patient. Build a rapport immediately with your caller with the tone of your phone greeting. And then, use their name! People love to hear their names!
So be sure to ask your caller’s name! If your caller doesn’t identify themselves immediately, it’s important to ask. As the caller may be telling you what they need right away, it’s good to ask before continuing on. And then be sure to say their name back to them. Maybe with something like this, “Thank you, John.”
“Please Hold” Is Not A Greeting!
If your dental office phones are ever answered with “please hold”, now is a great time to make a change. This greeting sends the wrong message right from the start! No matter what’s going on, the team needs to master this. And it’s totally possible to answer every call. At least greet and introduce yourself. And then offer to call your patient back or place them on hold. But only after you first hear who they are and what they need!
It might be an easy request. And you can handle it as quickly as you could place the call on hold. Or it might be something that will take some time. And you can get back to it later. But you’ll never know until you listen. Really listen. And that’s the very next step in answering the dental office phones.
Listen To What Your Caller Needs
Focus on what your caller says and needs. Listen with your ears. But also listen with your heart. You will make incredible connections with your patients in doing so. Offer them comfort. Not just an appointment or an explanation. In our fast-paced world of information and media overload, you can definitely stand out in the crowd! We do this when we are able to really focus and listen and help our dental patients and those who call our dental practice.
- Write your greeting script: everyone answers the phone the same
- Speak slowly & clearly
- Use your caller’s name
- Listen with your heart.