Securing Patients on the First Phone Call

Dental City and Dental Practice Advisors have teamed up to help you achieve increased success in 2016 with our upcoming event with the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center Creating Exceptional Patient Experiences.” To kick it off we’re sharing a series of articles with tips for exceptional patient experiences written by members of the Dental Practice Advisors team.

Anyone can pick up a phone, but not everyone can do it well. That person needs the positive outlook, language skills, dental knowledge and financial know-how to understand questions that come up. But people skills that develop a relationship with the caller and guide conversations to a positive outcome are even more important. The more personalized and reassuring the conversation, the better the chance of successfully scheduling that first appointment.

Here are three basic tips to step up your phone game:


  1. Answer the phone. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But do you know how many of your calls go unanswered or to voicemail? Every one of those missed calls could be a new patient that won’t try your office again. They’ll call the next dentist on the list. People expect you to be open during typical business hours, so be sure your phone is covered during that time. If you miss a partial or whole day (maybe closed on Fridays), you could be missing 20% of possible new patient calls.
  2. Make each caller feel important. Avoid making them feel like an interruption. When the phone rings stop what you’re doing, count to three, smile, and answer pleasantly (and never put a new patient on hold.) Mood and distraction come through on the phone, so focus entirely on the caller. Build instant rapport by using the caller’s name and responding with a positive, reassuring statement, such as “Julie, we’re so glad you called. My name is Sue and I’m happy to help you.” Continue to use their name throughout the conversation and carefully listen to their needs.
  3. Keep the conversation moving. Be prepared for and welcome questions on insurance and cost of treatment. They create opportunities to engage the caller. Instead of answering the “How much do you charge for a crown?” question by stating your typical fee for that service, engage in a conversation to gather more information about their needs. “What type of crown did you have in mind?” “What quality of crown are you looking for?” Ultimately, invite them to come in by saying “We have many crown options to fit your needs. Why don’t we schedule a time for you to come in and meet Dr. Johnson so he can give you a better idea of what your investment would be.”

Do you know how your telephone is being answered? I challenge you to observe and listen. Pay attention to what’s being said, how it’s being said, the flow of the calls, and how the conversations close. Odds are… there’s room for improvement.

Learn more about our Ritz-Carlton event Creating Exceptional Patient Experiences at Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers, on April 28 & 29, 2016.

Wendy Schneider

Wendy Schneider
Marketing & Graphic Design
Dental Practice Advisors