Are Your Phone Calls Turning Into New Patients?

Are Your Phone Calls Turning Into New Patients?

The goal of any dental practice should be to have the phones ringing off the hook. With the phone ringing constantly, appointments can be scheduled, patients can be helped and patient service issues can be addressed.

But what happens if those new patient phone calls aren't being answered by well-trained front office staff members? You miss out on potentially thousands of dollars every time a new patient declines to book an appointment.

Stop Saying No To Patients

In a busy dental office it can be tempting to try to rush a patient off the phone. One of the biggest mistakes we see are front office staff members answering patient questions with a simple “no” and failing to schedule an appointment.

For example, a patient asks if you accept their dental insurance and your dental practice isn't in network. Don’t just say, “no” and hang up! Take a few minutes to talk to the patient, explaining what their financing options are with your practice.

Or if a patient calls asking for a specific day and time for an appointment and it isn’t available. Don’t just say, “no” and hang up! Talk to the patient to understand why a specific date/time was requested and see if you can find an alternate appointment that will work for them.

Never end a call without trying to book an appointment. 

This sounds simple, but is SO important. Often, people are just a simple invitation away from visiting you and if your front office staff doesn’t actively try to book appointments, you won’t secure half as many.

Don’t discuss specific pricing for services. 

The reason we train dental front office staff to avoid giving callers a specific price for a service is simple: people will decline your service before they really know what’s being offered and why it’s priced the way it is. The best way to handle these "price shopper" calls is to gently direct the conversation so the caller understands that the best way to get an accurate price is to schedule an appointment.

That's why we recommend many of our clients offer a free initial consultation for services like dental implants, Invisalign, dentures and more.

Click Here To Download The FREE
Front Office Staff Phone Training Guide

Frequently Asked Question #1 - "Do you accept my dental insurance?"

The person calling your practice to find out if you take their dental insurance is likely frustrated, concerned about the cost of dental services, and just wants a straight answer.

The key is to help them realize that you are on their side, and build a relationship with them.

People calling to ask if your practice takes their dental insurance are almost always worried about the price of the dental care they need.

If you don’t take their dental insurance, keep bringing the conversation back to the other (sometimes better) financial options you offer: in-house discount plans, 0% financing options through third party lenders, free consultations, etc.

Dental insurance can seem complicated to many people. Trying to understand what “in network” and “out of network” is confusing. 

By taking a few minutes to help the caller understand that if you don’t take their insurance or are out of network, there are still benefits to scheduling an appointment with your dental practice can gain their trust.

Frequently Asked Question #2 - "Do you have an appointment open on a specific date/time?"

We refer to these callers as "schedule checkers". Calls like this can seem to be difficult to handle, but the solution is relatively simple. These callers typically start the conversation by asking what appointments you have on a very specific date at a very specific time.

The likelihood of your office being able to accommodate all of these callers is very low. The key to capturing these potential patients is to go above and beyond to TRY to accommodate them. This means your front office staff has to know what’s available in the schedule at all times.

Making patients feel comfortable and heard on the phone increases their trust in your practice and helps ensure they become a patient for life.

Ready to take the next step to give your front office staff members the right training to start booking appointments on every phone call?

Click Here To Download The FREE
Front Office Staff Phone Training Guide


Originally published in 2014, this post has been updated as of 01/2019 to contain the most up-to-date and relevant information on dental phone scripts.


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