4 Goals Every Dentist Should Have for Inbound Calls

To dentists who know the importance of the telephone, the sound of the phone ringing is the sound of opportunity.

Sometimes, it’s an opportunity to deepen a relationship with a current patient. The patient might be in pain and needing emergency help. They might be calling for clarity on an explanation of benefits they received. They might be calling to hear options about how they can fit life-changing treatments into their budget.

Other times, a ringing phone presents an opportunity to earn new patient relationships. This is especially true for practices investing in proven marketing strategies. Those practices can be confident that many of those rings will be potential patients responding to marketing.

No matter what the reason for the call, how your practice responds to inbound calls is critical. If you respond in a way that makes the caller want to do more business with your practice, your future will be bright. You’ll deepen relationships with current patients and get potential patients to schedule appointments. That gives you opportunities to help more people improve their smiles. Whether that involves routine care or life-changing treatments like dental implants, it often starts over the phone. That’s why it’s so important for practices to have clear goals and strategies for inbound calls.

At Driven Dental Marketing, we want to help our clients get the best return on investment with their marketing. Because we know the importance of your team to getting that return, we asked Laura Hatch of Front Office Rocks to talk about how to improve customer service. One of the topics Laura talked about was these four goals that every dentist should have for inbound calls.

1. Make the caller feel like they have your attention.

Many practices can’t have one person whose job is only to answer phones. Front office staff wear many hats. They have a lot to do. They welcome people in person. They handle paperwork. They make outgoing calls. They enter data. The list goes on.

But when the phone rings, it’s critical that whoever answers the phone wears the right hat for handling inbound calls. That means they stop everything else the moment they pick up the phone. If they’re in the middle of something that can’t be stopped, such as working with a patient in person, someone else who is trained on the phones should answer. They shouldn’t surf the web or check their cell phone when someone calls. They should give the caller their full attention.

2. Make the caller feel like you are happy to speak with them.

Everyone who answers your phone must make every caller feel like they are happy to speak with them. People lead busy lives. They’re stressed. They’re worried about money. They may be struggling in many ways.

If your staff answers the phone with a poor temperament, the caller will see your practice as another negative part of their life. If the caller feels like their concerns are annoying to whoever answers, they’ll find another dentist.

Make sure everyone who answers your phone does so with a positive temperament and the goal of making the caller feel welcome.

3. Make sure the caller feels important.

Nobody calls dentists just to pass some time when they’re bored. They call friends or family for that.

People who call dentists are calling about things that are important to them. Some are trying to schedule something as simple as a cleaning in a way that fits into their busy schedule. Others need help understanding their insurance plan and how they can afford to upgrade their smile. Others are calling to schedule treatments that will transform their life.

It doesn’t matter how many times you or your team members have answered the same question. Make sure whoever calls on the phone treats the caller’s questions with the same level of importance as the caller does. To the person on the phone, the other times are irrelevant. If the caller feels like their issue is as important to your team as it is to them, they’ll feel much better about getting the treatment they need from you.

4. Make sure the caller knows they found the right dentist for them.

Inbound calls aren’t only about answering questions and collecting information. They’re about making the caller feel at ease. They’re about helping the caller feel heard and important. They’re about helping patients achieve their goals through dentistry.

You can make sure every caller knows they found the right dentist by making sure you understand their motivations and concerns. Talk with them about the real reason they want to get the care they’re calling about. After understanding that, frame your conversations within that context, and only discuss things that are relevant in that context. For example, if someone calls about dental implants, your team should ask them to tell them a little bit about themselves. The caller will likely talk about the health of their mouth, such as if they have dentures or a missing tooth. Then ask how it’s impacting them. They’ll likely say it’s a pain to clean the dentures or they can’t eat everything.

From there, frame the conversation around “We can help you get rid of your dentures” or “we can help you get full use of your mouth back.” Offer to schedule a consultation to discuss the options with them. Treat them with respect. Talk with confidence. Don’t go straight to “We can place implants” and “here’s what they cost.”

Framing the call around the caller’s concerns helps you let people know your office is there to help them solve their concerns. Going straight to procedures and prices makes them feel like they’re talking to a salesperson.

How does your team approach inbound calls?

Approaching inbound phone calls with these four goals in mind will help you earn trust and build lasting relationships. This is especially important with callers making decisions about life-changing procedures such as implant dentistry.

If you’re considering adding implant dentistry to your practice and don’t know where to start, we’ve teamed up with Dr. Garg for a 4-day Dental Implant cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas.

On the cruise, Dr. Garg and his team will give you the clinical training to start placing implants in your office. In addition, you’ll learn bonus marketing and conversion strategies from us at Driven Dental Marketing. During that bonus training, we’ll teach you about phone strategies, case presentation, pricing, and more.

Best of all, you’ll learn all this while having plenty of time to relax and enjoy a special trip to Cuba and the Bahamas.

Nick Pavlidis
 

Nick Pavlidis is a recognized author for several dental implant articles.

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