Don’t overlook the telephone as your best marketing tool
Telephone patient scheduling requires skill, professionalism, confidence and finesse—not something you can easily find without training and experience. For these skills, you don’t need a dental background, but you do need to be instructed on the practices scheduling protocols. Before you start scheduling by phone make sure you have been briefed and coached on the best practice methods in scheduling or you may not sound confident in the information you are giving the patient. Patients need to feel the confidence to know they have made the right choice in dental care.
Front line phone receptionists need to be enthusiastic, polite, focused on the caller and have a clear and comfortable tone of voice. Patients/callers can only hear the voice and they quickly form a picture of whom they are speaking too and respond accordingly to that picture. Telephone sales people are known to keep a mirror on their desk to “check their expression” prior to answering the phone.
I have been asked “are you tired” by callers because in the afternoon I get sleepy. I have learned to get a cup of coffee or tea to perk me up a bit. Being aware of how you sound and how you feel will tell you that others sense the same. Answer the phone as if you were greeting the patient face -to- face is good advice to live by.
Make it a point to self-evaluate your phone skills periodically. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my voice easy to hear, not too loud or too soft, not too fast or too slow?
- Do I clearly articulate my words?
- Is my vocal tone pleasant not gruff or blunt?
- Do I convey warmth, enthusiasm and general desire to help in my voice?
- Do I give the patient/caller what they want?
Remember, we all know how to talk on the phone, but not all of us know how to communicate effectively on the phone. Don’t overlook the simple phone call as one of the top marketing tools you have.