The Power of Referring to a Higher Authority

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Over the years of helping my patients make appointments, I have found myself often referring to a Higher Authority.

The Doctor.

Using and presenting the Doctor as a Higher Authority is always very helpful when making appointments over the phone and increasing the patients concern and urgency.

No I don’t mean you drag the Doctor out of their office/surgery away from their patient to answer the phone, but you can make the Doctor a big part of your phone call without them actually being on the phone.

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When following up with a patient who has delayed their treatment due to a number of reasons, letting them know that the doctor has asked you to give them a call, does create MORE importance than a call only from the Front Office.

The patient has already discussed the importance and concern of their condition/treatment with the doctor.

When the doctor asks you to call the patient this is always going to be received with more concern from your patient.

“Dr Brown has asked me to call you regarding your appointment. It must be important.”

You can also include the doctor when a patient has called with a question or you are checking the patient’s chart. “Let me check with Dr Brown and I will call you straight back.” or “May I place you on hold for a moment while I check this with Dr Brown?”

This reinforces the urgency to make an appointment.

“I have checked with Dr Brown and he needs to see you.” Let’s make an appointment time for you right now.”

The patient calling also feels they are in good hands because you asked the doctor to confirm the importance of making an appointment for them.

So next time you take a call from a patient you don’t have to do it alone. You can ask your doctor for help and not even disturb him in the treatment room.

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Follow Up Call. Is It A Nightmare In Your Office?

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Does your Front Office always seem to be calling patients because they have cancelled their appointments, or they never made an appointment?

Accepting cancellations over the phone and not making ongoing appointments for these patient is a nightmare in most Practices.

Factoring in the time for Patient Follow Up Calls is so time consuming especially while other calls are coming in.

Ensuring your patients make their next appointments before they leave will save a lot of time organising a new appointment over the phone later on.

The Follow up call is always a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge the longer it has been since the appointment was cancelled or not made.

Try to get onto the follow up call as soon as you can.

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There can be a number of reasons a patient does not make an appointment over the phone but more than often we have not increased their concern or created enough urgency in their minds.

Making an appointment on the phone is easy with the right language.

  1. Go over where the patient is up to in their understanding of their treatment needed.
  2. Ask questions to build concern and urgency

“What would happen if…”

“Are you concerned that…”

“Have you noticed…”

Get the patient thinking about what they have not thought about or may have forgotten.

The patient needs to be concerned about what will happen if they don’t make an appointment.

There are four main reasons why a patient cancels their appointment or leaves your Practice without their next appointment.

  1. Not enough urgency and concern was given to your patient before they left your office or over the phone.
  2. You didn’t find out if there was anything standing in the way of them getting started with their treatment. For example:  fear, money, time, trust.
  3. Your patient didn’t understand their Treatment.
  4. You did not build enough trust and belief in their treatment

There are some great questions we can ask patients to check how ready they are to start their treatment so as to avoid cancellations down the track or no appointment being made in the first place.

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everyone Deserves The Opportunity To Change Their Mind.

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Now, I know you might be thinking that I’m referring to the patient who calls to cancel their appointment for what they often believe is a very good reason.

Well, yes, I am referring to this patient.

But, you see, I don’t believe this patient needs to be given an opportunity to cancel or change their appointment.

What they need to be given is the opportunity to change their mind about cancelling or changing their appointment.

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Sometimes at your Practice, a patient will call to cancel their appointment.

Your Practice  may be busy, busy and the easiest and quickest reply to a cancellation call is to accept it and listen to the patient and say,  “I will call you back to make another appointment”.

And the answer is “OK” and even “Thank You”!!

What!?!

The patient now believes it is OK to cancel their appointments and you thank them for calling and cancelling!

Think about this…..

If a cancellation call comes into your Office never be in a rush, no matter what.

Take the time to think and ask the right questions.

You do have a duty of care to this patient to give them an opportunity to change their mind and not cancel their appointment.

The appointment was made for a very good reason and you will have to now increase  their urgency and concern on the phone.

Ask your patient if they can change a few things to keep their appointment.

Let them know the dentist is concerned they will not be coming in.

If you don’t ask for them to keep this appointment they definitely won’t.

You also need to think very carefully about the language you use to set up the appointment in the first place.

Asking your patient if they are aware of what can happen if they don’t come in for this appointment is a great question.

Having the caller keep their appointment can be as simple as getting this part right in the beginning.

If your patient has little concern or urgency for their treatment then of course it will be top of the list for them to call and cancel if a better offer comes along.

It can be tough.

We all know going to the doctor is not at the top of the list of favourite things to do for the day, but knowing what can happen if we don’t go ahead can be so concerning that cancelling the appointment just isn’t an option.

So next time a call comes in from a patient wanting to cancel their appointment, take a deep breath and think about what you are about to say and ask them.

Give your patients the gift of changing their mind.

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When On The Phone, Less Is More

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Have you ever been on the phone or even at a party and finally realised the person you are talking to has not had a chance to get a word in?

Good.

I am not glad that you have done this but I am so glad that you have realised.

When I visit businesses who use the phone as their daily business (like everyone does!), I will often stop and listen to how much talk is coming from the person on the phone.

What I have noticed is the person on the phone usually talks the whole time. Usually they only offer a handful of questions, which means the person on the other end only gets a couple of opportunities to speak.

Why does this happen?

What do we believe is the outcome of a call where the person on the other end of the phone has no opportunity to speak?

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Someone once said to me that there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

We should be listening twice as much as we are speaking.

And it’s the same in our business.

When you are on a call in your Practice do you talk more than you listen?

Are you really able to find out what you need to know about the caller when you do all the talking?

The answer is NO!

Too much talking or over explaining will lead to less appointments being made.

The person at a party doing all the listening is often seen to be a more interesting and engaging person.

Why do people think this?

After all they probably didn’t really find out much about the other person yet believe them to be very interesting.

This has always fascinated me.

Taking this vital piece of information back to your Practice is gold.

Many Practices give a generic script when they answer the phone, all about their practice and what the caller needs rather than actually asking the caller what they need.

Are you asking specific, individual, meaningful questions when a person calls your Practice?

It does take some practice to master this art of conversation when you answer the phone.

Not everyone can automatically do this but once you know what to ask and say on the phone, it makes a huge difference in the number of appointments made and the number of appointments kept!

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Handling The Shopper Call: “How Much Does It Cost?”

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“How much does it cost?”

This question can often be the first thing a caller will ask.

This one initial question causes the Front Office Person to prejudge the caller as “a shopper”.

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They immediately let the caller know the fee straight away, presuming the caller cannot possibly afford the treatment, and then hurry the caller off the phone.

The “Shopper “is the name some practices give to the caller who dives straight into the question, asking about how much something costs.

It is often assumed they have called numerous other Dental Offices for their “price”.

But, what if you are the first Practice they have called?

Do you presume too quickly they are after the cheapest fee and have no appreciation for the quality treatment you have to offer?

Why not do this:

Next time a “shopper” calls I want you to think about them differently.

Have you ever thought the caller has asked how much it costs because they don’t know what else to ask?

Next time a caller asks how much it costs, don’t dismiss them as a “shopper”.

Why not ask them some questions to determine what else they need to know?

You do need to find out why they have rung, what the caller believes they need and how you can help them.

Without this information first you should never immediately tell them the fee.

You have the opportunity on this first call to ask questions to find out more about the caller and develop rapport and trust.

Building rapport with the caller means the caller is more likely to trust you and take your advice.

Once the caller really believes they need treatment and you are the one who can help them, then they are very likely to understand the value of your fee and make an appointment.

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of Leaving a Great Message

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We always want to be able to talk to our patients when we call them but as we all know in this busy world of ours…..it is NOT always the case.

Leaving your patient a message can be daunting.

What do you say?

Do you say this? Or that?

Do you want them to call you back or do you keep calling them until you drive them crazy?

Your Front Office needs to be able to leave a great message for your patients.

You need a message that will create curiosity and has a call to action for the patient to call you back straight away.

Now when your patient calls you back you have control of the call and they will want you to help them.

Never leave a message with no call to action.

If you leave a message that you have called with no reason, your patient will often not call back.

Leave a message that gets your patient thinking.

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For a patient who has no scheduled appointment for their treatment that has been planned for them, leave a message “regarding their appointment”.

When they call you back letting you know that they have no appointment, you can then let them that you are aware they have no appointment and you need to make one for them.

This is a great way to get your patient’s attention and make them an appointment.

The message you leave for your patient will have 2 outcomes:

  1. Your patient will ignore it and not call back
  2. Your patient will call back

Do you know which messages your Front Office team are leaving for your patients?

The messages need to be carefully thought out and the best words chosen for the right outcome.

One message that is very important to get right is on the Confirmation Call.

Think about the outcome you want.

You need to let your patient know you are looking forward to seeing them at their appointment. At no point in the message do you want the patient to think you are checking to see if they are still coming to their appointment.

You believe when you leave your message that you know they are coming in for their appointment and they will be on time.

Be careful not to leave a message that sends the message it is ok to cancel the appointment.

You words on the message can be sending your patients the wrong message.

Your Front Office team could actually be helping your patients make cancellation calls.

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

 

 

Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Really Need To Know Your Numbers?

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I was talking this week to two doctors about their front office and how they believed their front office was going when it comes to answering the phone.

Their answers to my questions were each very different.

One doctor said he believed that his front office team was not saying the right things over the phone.

And the other doctor said he had a great team on the front desk and they had been at his Practice for a long time.

Which got me thinking.

Was the difference in their responses to my question because one doctor had an awful front office team not saying the right things when they answered the phone and the other doctor had a brilliant efficient team answering the phone?

Only the doctor who had listened to the calls being taken believed his team could be answering the phones much better.

The other doctor had not ever listened. He believed his team had it all under control.

How did he really know?

My next question to both of these doctors confirmed everything.

“Does your front office record the number of New Patient Calls and how many of those callers make appointments?”

Both doctors said they did not measure their calls.

They had no idea!

That’s because the doctor is busy with patients all day.

How can they sit and listen to the front office answering calls to see if they are saying all the right things to the caller?

They really can’t….

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Having these numbers is a measure of the conversion of these calls into appointments.

Having these numbers lets you know how well the calls are going.

Having these numbers enables you to decide if your front office really does need help.

After talking to the two doctor it made me wonder how many Practices out there really have NO idea what their conversion rate is on calls and why the caller is not making an appointment.

Does the caller not really want an appointment?

Does the caller only want to know the price?

Does the caller only want to know more about their dental problem?

Or is it that the person answering the phone doesn’t know what to say or ask to help the caller make the appointment?

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

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Posted in Customer Service, Front Office, Medical, Medical Consultant, Phone Excellence Mastery, Phone Skills, Practice Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment