Are Your Phone Calls Turning Into New Patients?
From dental websites, to facebook ads for dentists, to search-engine optimization, every piece of your dental marketing delies on your dental front office training. Those ads and websites get your phones ringing with potential new patients, and unless your front office can convert them into booked new patients, you won't see the payoff of your dental marketing.
Lack of dental front office training could be costing you thousands of dollars, because the success of your marketing depends on converting on the phone. Every time a new patient calls, make sure your staff has all of the tools and dental front office training to book as many new patients as possible.
What REALLY Happens When Your Front Office Phone Rings
When you hear the phone ring at the front office of your practice, do you know how many of those calls are turning into new appointments? According to VIVA Concepts, the average dental office only converts 23% of new patient calls into appointments. You might think, well, that’s still 23 new patients from every 100 calls! But your entire marketing strategy brought those 100 calls to your phones...all of that time, money, dental ppc ads, facebook ads, website re-designing, and figuring out what to do next...only leading to only 23% new patient conversion? That’s not what you deserve, and that will not help you create a remarkable and rewarding practice.
When you give your staff proper dental front office training, you will increase your ROI, book more new patients, and give yourself peace of mind every time you hear your front office phone ring. But that training doesn’t have to take up your time, you can hire a dental marketing company that offers conversion-friendly dental front office training, or start by reading through these tips below.
Stop Saying No To Patients
In a busy dental office where your staff is bouncing from one task to the next, it can be difficult to figure out why a new patient called, but didn’t convert. One of the biggest mistakes we see with staff that do not have proper dental front office training, is simply the answer “no.” In almost every new patient call, the patient is asking questions: do you take my insurance? Do you have this appointment available? And the front office staff answers with a quick “no,” and fail to schedule that appointment.
Of course, the answer to the question might be “no,” but there are ways to keep the patients on the phone, even if you don’t have a distinct “yes” to all of their questions. For example, if 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 at your practice.
Another common example is when a patient calls for a specific day and time for an appointment, and it isn’t available. Again, don’t just say, “no” and hang up. Talk to the patient to understand why they need that specific date/time and see if you can find an alternate appointment that will work for them.
Never end a new patient call without trying everything to book that appointment.
This sounds simple, but is often overlooked, and it’s critical for growing your practice. At the end of the day, your front office staff is “selling” over the phone. They are selling your practice, your value, and your expertise. But they don’t have to learn a sales pitch or make the patient feel uncomfortable in the process. Often, potential new patients are calling because they are looking for options and solutions to their problem. If your front office staff provides those options, without just saying “no,” or being content that the patient’s problem was not solved by your practice, then they will be “selling” in a way that works for your practice. Kindness, understanding, rapport-building, and communicating value are the core dental front office training tools, and will actively help you convert more phone calls into a full schedule.
Don’t discuss specific pricing for services.
One of the reasons we offer dental front office training is to avoid giving callers a specific price for a service. Those patients that call looking for a price tag are “price shoppers,” and they will decline your service before they really know what’s being offered, and why it’s priced a certain way. Instead, direct the conversation from price to value and accuracy, by explaining the best way to get an accurate price and understand the value of the procedure/appointment is to schedule a consultation or appointment, so the doctor can evaluate what you need. You would be doing them a disservice by simply guessing what they need, and how much it will cost based on a phone call. Free consultations are one of the best ways to get around price shoppers for high-ticket services like dental implants, Invisalign, dentures and more.
Below are some of the most common questions that patients ask, and what your staff can do to answer them effectively, to help you grow your practice. For the entire dental front office training phone guide, click below to download.
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 provide dental front office training to convert more new patients 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 to contain the most recent and relevant information on dental front office training.