Dental operators

Rescheduling cancelled & no-show appointments…

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Lets face it… we are all human, and have a lot on our plates. I am sure every single one of us has forgotten an appointment, or double booked our schedule. So as a practice, how do you take in to account human error?

Here are a few ways to remind patients of their appointments, and encourage re-booking when something else comes up.

1. Call your patients and remind them.

–Everyone needs a reminder now and then, and we find that it works best when it comes a few days in advance. When you call your patients the day or heaven forbid the night before, often times this is too late to move around schedules when double booking has happened, and typically the dental appointment loses in the priority game.

2. Don’t expect your patients to call you back.

–As previously mentioned… people are busy. If you rely on your patients to give you a call when they have a free moment, it might not happen for several months. Have a list of patients to call back and schedule, or reschedule.

At Dental Game Plan, every appointment booked is followed up with by our call center operators when the patient cancels, or is simply a no show. We find that speaking to the patient, that we pursue, allows us to reschedule, find out why the appointment was not kept, and helps us to better ourselves when it was not kept for a specific reason on the office’s part (i.e. not getting an appointment soon enough in an emergency case).

3. Do not be afraid to be tough.

–When extending a promotional deal (low prices) to a new client, do not be afraid to ask them to pay in advance, especially when a large block of time will be held for their appointment. This will ensure that you have a patient booked who will most likely show up. It also is reassuring to the patient that no hidden fees are associated with the visit. We find this works best in non-emergency cases, such as routine cleanings. However when a patient is coming in for an unknown visit, like a tooth ache, it makes it nearly impossible to ask them to pay anything upfront.

–When you have a existing patient no-show, or cancel, remind them of your cancellation policy. Of course use discretion, but when you have a repeat offender, applying a no show fee or late cancellation fee is acceptable. Many offices use a three strike system, and the patients who come to the office are informed on the policy, and warned when they have used up a “strike”.

4. Tracking your results.

–Companies like Dental Game Plan track your monthly results. Each appointment made is followed up with through the office to be sure that the patient made it to their appointment. If they did not, the call center follows up with the patient to see if rescheduling can happen.

Knowing that people are busy, and your office is also busy, makes having a third party company who tracks your appointments and no- shows very beneficial to everyone involved.

 

 

What Your Office Is Really Saying

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Often times when a patient calls in to your office directly, they are greeted with a busy receptionist with a lot on their plate. Most likely scenario is they are probably sitting in front of a patient that is waiting to be checked in or out, and they have 5 other telephone lines ringing to be picked up.

Of course we know your office cares deeply about each and every patient that comes in to see you.  Moreover, you we know you care about the overall customer experience and how that translates to long-term success for your practice in the form of loyal clientele and glowing reviews online.  The question is; are your office staff currently doing what is necessary for you to realize these goals for every, single person that picks up the phone and dials your number?

In our abundant experience we’ve learned that the main reason(s) a new patient calls is to book a routine appointment, an emergency appointment, or get a quote on a service. At Dental Game Plan, our operators are never too busy to answer even the most long-winded questions a potential patient can come up with.  We’re thorough, kind, understanding and above all good listeners — when it’s all said and done our goal is to get them to come in to your office for a new patient consultation or exam.

We like to think of any patient that actually calls in for an cleaning, exam or other routine appointment, as “gold-star” patient. If handled correctly, these patients will be return patients, or patients that show up on your online review sites — and know the value and importance of regular oral maintenance. We typically pass these patients directly to the office to book an appointment, and know a bit of a wait for the appointment will usually not be a big deal.

When an emergency patient calls in for an appointment, we always like to get them in as soon as possible. Sometimes a “tomorrow appointment” will automatically result in a hang-up. Having space in your schedule, every single day, for these inevitable calls is of utmost importance. Though, they are not always return patients, they will know you will be there for them if they need you again.

We know that prices given over the phone are valuable to the patient, but they can often be inaccurate, and exaggerated. Having the patient come in for a free exam is a huge benefit to the patient, and your office.

When you receive a quote for a service, what is the first thing you do? Whether it be auto, home repair, or a medical expense, you typically call around for a second quote. If your office is giving quotes, without seeing the patient, and your quote turns out to be too high, or too low, you will have an unhappy patient, guaranteed.

At Dental Game Plan, we believe the most important thing to do with a potential new patient is relay a general, honest sense of care for their comfort and well-being. We have staffed our call-center with people whose main goal is to be there for your potential patients-in-need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our compassionate operators always ensure that callers know we believe their time to be valuable, that we care about their financial situation and are sensitive to any extenuating fears or anxiety.

Booking a new patient appointment, for you (our client)  is our number one goal; however, we always go that little bit extra, to show callers that our focus is 100% on them  — we want to make that first impression the foundation for a quality long-term relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dreaded “Could You Please Hold…” Request

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No one enjoys being placed on hold. When you are forced to actually call a business to get the answers you need, being on hold is just an annoying waste of time. With technology on the rise, and answers literally at our fingertips, having correct, actionable answers now is more important than ever.

Most company’s online marketing goals are to engage the potential customer enough to warrant a phone call. In fact,  93% of the average marketing / advertising budget is spent to entice potential customers to call you.  When a person actually does call in, it’s been found that 70% of them will be asked, “Could you please hold?” at some point during their call.  This is literally the equivalent to flushing money down the toilet. Consider these statistics:

  • According to a recent study, the average hold time for businesses with more than two lines is 55 seconds
  • Another study indicated that of the 8 – 15% of a company’s customer base is lost each year, 68% is due to indifferent or negative phone treatment
  • 34% of callers who hang up will not call back, and you have a very big reason to not place anyone on hold unless absolutely necessary

Now, you may draw your own conclusions once you’ve looked at the data, however, one fact that can not be ignored is that conversion rates and customer retention rates have dramatic decline when people feel that they are not important to you.

 

Source:

http://www.soundresultsonhold.com/on_hold_stats_studies.html

http://dc-digital.net/hold-messaging/statistics

This is Why Your Staff Should Never Answer the Phone…

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“Hello, thank you for calling our Dental office this is Julie can you please hold.”  — Two minutes roll by like nothing… and !BAM! your potential NEW PATIENT is gone!

This happens more often than you’d like to admit.  New patients get stuck on hold all the time and end up hanging up because your front office is too busy and frankly may not care if you add more appointments on the books.

Look it’s not their fault, let’s face it these team members have to pull charts, answer phones, take care of billing, schedule future appointments, fill out forms, and probably a lot more.

Let’s not forget that on top of everything they have to do they have no real training when it comes to handling a cold market lead!  Why not let professionally trained dental operators navigate these new patient phone calls and turn them into booked appointments?

Now you can have these services as part of your very own Dental Game Plan.  Find out how by clicking here.

Monitor, Review, Train… Repeat

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Do you have the ability to record and listen to the interactions the members of your front office have with your patients… more specifically with potential new patients?  Listening to these conversations can uncover a lot of great opportunities for training and refining how your work systems, and if you don’t have time to listen, we will.

Every phone call that comes in on a daily basis is reviewed and graded, and each week our staff meets to review each of our dental operators in which their calls are openly discussed by management and their peers.  This kind of review keeps our team sharp and more than capable of handling all your new patient leads warmly and professionally.

An All Night Affair

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It’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday night, someone calls your office with a dental emergency, now if you’re like most dental offices you have an emergency number on your answering system; the problem is most new patients will not leave a message or call your emergency number.

In fact, as soon as the answering system picks up 9 out of 10 will hang up the phone. So we fixed this little problem for you.  We have hired and trained dental operators that work around the clock to provide you 24 hours a day 7 days a week appointment scheduling opportunities.

Again this service is just one of the many that we provide in our 5 free patient program.

Representatives Who Represent Our Values

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Before trying our system a lot of our doctors will ask us —

“How do I know I can trust your operators to represent our practice well?”

It’s important that our team reflects the level of service equal to the service you provide at your office.  Before we start any campaign, we want to get to know your practice.  We create a detailed spreadsheet that aids us with important information about your business and doctors in real-time.  We get to know your staff members and train them for the interactions we’ll be having on a sometimes daily basis. We role-play together to iron out any kinks before the first call ever comes through.  We know that we only get one chance to make a quality first impression, and we endeavor to make certain that happens.

Hi My Name Is Lacey… How Can I Assist You

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Imagine that you had someone waiting by his or her computer day and night to answer any dental question a visitor had while browsing your web site.  Now imagine that this representative had been trained to know all the ins and outs of your practice so that the service was personal and to the point.

This person would be friendly direct and help you book new patient appointments, even when that new patient can’t pick up a phone because he or she might be at work. How do you think this would enhance the perception of your business?

What do you think this would do to the amount of people you communicated with on a daily basis? If you think it would help increase business… You’d be right!  Learn more about this service and how we can provide you with 5 free patients starting today!