Isn’t it ironic that no formal qualifications or certifications are required for a dental front office staff? For roles that will make or break your practice, the front office staff members of the dental practice are often overlooked.
We’re talking about the people every potential patient is seeing as the “face” of your practice. With each patient potentially worth thousands of dollars to your business, you’d think more practices would invest the time and resources into hiring and training the best.
How much of a goldmine is your dental front office staff? In this guide you’ll find insights and action plans you can use to avoid painfully common mistakes.
You’ll also learn how some of the best dental practices have transformed their staff members into magnets for new patients.
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Step 1: Research Your Competition
Go online and Google dental practices in your area. Put together a short list of the most successful practices ones, then grab a notepad and pen and take notes while you call each office.
Pay attention to the demeanor of the person who answers the phone, what words they use when greeting, whether they tried booking an appointment with you and what incentives they offer to encourage potential new patients to come into the office.
Step 2: Adjust Your Hiring Practices
Every time you find yourself in the hiring position, let it be known that you expect a process of continual improvement on the following skills:
- Advanced phone training
- Learning how to ask patients to leave online reviews
- Patient empathy and relationship-building
- Contributing to the practice’s social media presence
- Occasionally learning new software and/or phone systems
- A basic understanding of dental procedures, treatments and the time it takes to complete them
- Dental insurance plans (if your office takes them) and fees for treatment and procedures.
If you can set the expectation that professional development and continual learning are parts of the job, it’ll be much easier to get your new employee on board.
The best part is that setting professional development and training as being expected and required gets employees agreeing to engage in these activities from the start without it feeling like any “extra” work is being asked of them.
Step 3: Create Strategies & Scripts
No one likes to feel unprepared for a job they must do and answering the phone is the primary responsibility of your front office staff members.
With that in mind, put standard rules in place and provide your staff with scripts. Make sure you set aside time for employees to role play as patients so they can be confident in their new phone skills.
This will also give them a chance to ask any questions they have and help you head off common on-phone mistakes before they even happen.
BONUS TIP: The 6 “Golden Rules” Of Phone-Answering
- Always answer with a smile as it comes across in the telephone call.
- Ask if you can put someone on hold before doing so.
- Pick up the phone within 4 rings as an absolute max or the person will already be thinking about calling the next practice.
- Avoid a monotone voice at all costs as it will bore people and lose their attention
- Never eat or chew gum when on the phone
- Don’t type, read or send text messages while on a call. Giving a patient your undivided attention is essential, especially when speaking to a potential patient!
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(Includes 5 training scripts!)
Managing front office staff can be seem daunting, but having a friendly, competent staff on hand to interact with patients is vital to your dental practice’s success and growth.
REMEMBER: Never address a behavior issue in front of other staff, always set aside time to meet with a staff member one on one to address the problem and find a solution.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That statement might be a cliche, but it still rings true! For most patients the first impression they have of your practice is your dental front office staff. Can you afford for them to have a negative experience?
If patients feel comfortable and well-cared for while in your office interacting with your dental front office staff, you’ll convert more to lifetime patients who continue to give you referrals for years to come.
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Includes 5 Training Scripts!