Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Turn Phone Calls into Appointments w/ Lisa Erwin from Stella Desk #6


Panel Members:
Curtis Marshall, I Love Dentistry, 801.380.7070
Lisa Erwin, Stella 812.444.3375

This month we focused on the different phone calls that come in and out of our office, and how we can make those phone calls into appointments.
               Lisa started us out and reminded us how valuable it is to have people talk to a live person on the phone.  It also helps to call when you know the patient will be available.  When you are able to talk to the patient make sure you are talking about specific treatment and make it personal.  For example you could say “Dr was asking about you.”
               Teisha talked to us about remembering to not focus on the number of phone calls made a day.  This can lead to our team members not focusing on the person on the phone.  A good thing to measure is the percent of phone calls that turn into appointments.  Rob reminded us that the numbers we measure in our office is what we focus on and invest in.  When we do that, we will see these numbers improve.
               Next the panel talked about having a script for the phone calls that are taking place.  In Dr. Pratt’s office his staff makes sure that all recall patients get a personal call from the office and his staff has a script that they use.  Having a script is a key component.
               Some information that you would like your patient recall or patient reminder script to have in it is: use a warm friendly voice, get all the correct information, use the team members name that the patient will be seeing, try to get personal connection with patient, let them know the length of the appointment and that it is “reserved” for them, do not ask “yes and no” questions…use open ended questions.  Most people are self interested, and it helps to add in some benefits for the patient
               How can we measure and make sure our staff is being held accountable for the phone calls?  Some of the ideas the panel came up with are: continuous training, role playing, scripts, practice, and track.

               When our staff is answering inbound phone calls there should be a script in place.  The staff member should answer with a smile and warm tone.  State the place, let the patient know your name, and that you are here to offer assistance.  The staff member can quickly take control of the conversation by asking a question.  For example, “How did you hear about our office?”  Navigate the patient through the conversation so they don’t get lost.  Have a dual closing like “Do you prefer morning or afternoons” .  At the very end of the conversation is the perfect time to capture all of the data needed.


-Have a live person make these calls.  It brings a personal touch to the patient.
-Ask about specific treatment that needs to be done “Dr was asking about you…”
-If you can’t talk to the person make sure to leave a voicemail
-Call when the patient is available
-Focus on the percentage of appointments made instead of number of people called
-The things that you measure are what you focus on and invest in.  These are the places that will improve
-Measure the right thing
-Different ways to contact patients: email, postcards, text, mail, phone call
-Start a re-activation program for patients that have not been in the office for one year or more.
-Recall patients should get a personal phone call
-Have a script that is used for reminder calls, recall calls, inbound calls
-When making a reminder call make sure to: get all the info correct, use team members name that will be seeing the patient, try to find a personal connection to patient, use a warm, friendly voice, let the patient know the length of their appointment and that this time is reserved for them
-Do not ask yes and no questions.  Ask open ended questions
-Require a verbal confirmation to keep the appointment
-People are self interested; make sure to add in the benefits for the patient to keep the appointment
-Have a proper greeting stating the office name, your name, and offer assistance or help
-Answer with a smile and a warm tone of voice
-Take control of the phone call by answering their question and asking a question (ex: how did you hear about our office?)
-Listen to the patient and use positive verbiage
-Structure the call and help navigate the patient through the conversation
-Have a dual close (ex: is morning or afternoon better?)
-Have a script and role play with your staff.  You want all of your patients to have the same great experience
-Data capture at the end
-When patients are calling to cancel their appointments, have a script ready and find out why they are cancelling.
-Measure the success of your phone calls. 
-Have continuous training, role play, practice!!
-Have scripts for different phone calls

Sponsored by DentalIntel the #1 source for Business Intellegence