Ask almost any dentist, or dental team member whom their favorite front desk person is and you will get almost the same answer. The “competent” one – “I love Jill, she really knows insurance” or, “Mary is really good with Dentrix”… I don’t deny for a second that competency is an essential role of a front desk employee, but I want you to think about a skillset that is more meaningful to your practice and often absent from dental front desk teams. Customer Service & Rapport Building.
Now I realize that most doctors assume that this is an existing skill in their “competent” team members, but I want to be clear: Practice building customer service takes more than being polite and friendly. A lot more. Many dentists aren’t aware of the powerful role their front office plays in growing (or suppressing) their practice.
Most doctors can think of a neighboring practice that has seemingly endless growth. (You know, the one adding another associate while you have 5 hygiene openings next week.) And you tend to assume that they have invested in a genius marketing campaign that you could never afford, or it’s because they participate with and insurance plan you don’t, or their signage is better, or website is newer… Effective marketing is helpful, but it is just the first step in growing your practice and earning new patients.
Let me share with you a very painful statistic from ROI Call Tracker: The average practice receives 135 new patient call opportunities every month. However, only 48 are scheduled. That’s right. The average practice squanders 87 new patient opportunities per month, or 2/3 of the time they fail to convert a call to a patient. Even if you think these numbers seem high, what I want you to consider for a moment is how many calls come to your office that you never get the chance to meet as patients? The answer is: More than you think. You might not really consider it or tally it… but I promise you that happens everyday, at least once.
So what can you do? First, determine how you want people to feel when they call your office? Then, pay attention to the tone and intention of the phone calls at your office. (Record them if you can.) Is there a discrepancy? Also, listen to see if your team is asking for an appointment. Often, new patient prospects will get questions answered but are never asked if they would like to appoint. Finally, invest in training. Most dentists agree that customer service is important, but never really train on it. Start now! Sign up here for a great webinar about phone skills and other silent killers in the dental office. FREE Dental Practice Excellence Webinar