Many people believe that they should use their weakest team members to answer the phones — this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, I believe that you should be leveraging the knowledge of your strongest team member. Active listening, active questioning, and emotional intelligence are paramount in converting those coveted new patient phone calls into patients in your clinic.
There are many coaches and consultants that can help you train your team on more effective phone skills; however, I have found the key to any training in the dental office is becoming a Chief Repeating Officer. You must harp on the things that matter forever and always never stop reminding. Another way to dramatically increase rate of implementation is to use Key Performance Indicators and report on those KPIs on a regular basis. The most useful KPIs are lead indicators; in other words, they are actions that can be counted that lead to reaching a goal. For example, if you want to increase fluoride acceptance to reach 100 fluoride varnishes per month, then you can create a lead measure KPI such as “how many times did you educate a patient on how they could personally benefit from fluoride.”
We can also create KPIs and lead measures with phone skills to help reach a new patient goal. I am going share my phone call answering score card. We will dive into what these things mean and the secret sauce behind the system.
Most of the items on the call scoring sheet are self-explanatory so I will unpack the less obvious ones. We always want to give our name, ask for the caller’s name, and then use the caller’s name as much as possible. The next item is less obvious and is a form of active listening. It is apparent that the caller is looking for a new dentists, but we want to ask them “what is most important to you when choosing a dentist?” By asking this, we are able to assure the caller that our practice, team, and doctor is a perfect fit for them. A black belt level practice would put this in the patient’s chart so that we always meet the listed need to the patient.
Secondary compliments help us form opinions, so if we compliment “our gently hygienist” or “our doctor is great at getting people numb” then we are not only assuring the patient that they are making a great choice but then they will actually be influenced to believe their experience was as promised. We never want to answer with a “no” unless it has to do with Medicaid in my practice and when we answer yes we always want to follow that up with two positives. For instance, “Yes we do crowns and we also have a scanner and not awful goo impressions and we even make your crowns immediately and it will all be completed in one hour.”
Now, the real magic is not in having this phone call scoring sheet but in using it. Once your team is trained on the components of the perfect call, you can implement the use of the scoring sheet. I have hired a virtual assistant in the Philippines to listen to all of our calls. She skips all existing patient calls and listens to new patient calls in full. She fills out the score sheet. Each morning she emails us for our morning huddle our number of new patient calls. This is great info for your marketing team. She also gives us our average call score for the day and then the number of callers that scheduled. I have regularly scheduled meeting with my marketing team and some of the metrics that we are most interested in tracking is the number of new patient calls and then the scheduling percentage. All of these metrics are reported on month to date and year to date so that you can identify trends related to operations and marketing.
My treatment coordinators review their score cards daily and know how their previous day’s performance was. If they need further coaching, both of you will know exactly how to help them achieve their highest potential.
You can make sure your treatment coordinators are not only highly trained but also are implementing their knowledge regularly. Doing these simple things on a daily basis is guaranteed to increase the number of new patients you are seeing.
If you are interested in learning more implementable case acceptance strategies and marketing techniques, you can attend the Peak Dental Resources “Case Acceptance and Marketing Masterclass” held on Jan 11th in Scottsdale, AZ!