Here’s a fascinating fact from a study a colleague recently sent me: One-fourth of inbound phone calls to dental offices go unanswered. Twenty five percent of callers wait ‘n wait ‘n wait, then give up. To be honest with you, before we implemented some type of dental receptionist phone training, our numbers were above the average (yes!). We were hovering in the 35% range. I was appalled but unfortunately it was all on me. The captain of the ship. I lacked the leadership that my team needed. I hadn’t given them what they needed to be successful. What about other practices out there?
Let’s see just how bad it is….
It’s Getting Bad Everywhere
Let’s don’t only focus on dental offices. I’m sure you’ve had bad experiences from other businesses too. Just the other day I met a another dentist for lunch at a neighborhood restaurant. They were mildly busy (around 12:30ish) with several open tables and booths. Upon arriving, we could hear some of the staff talking and laughing in the back while we waited and waited to be seated (a long 10 minutes) before even being acknowledged. Finally, someone poked their head out from the kitchen and yelled, “you can sit wherever you want, I’ll be there in a sec.”
Safe bet: restaurant owner was NOT on the premises.
Dental Receptionist Phone Training 101
- Do you KNOW for a fact, that your phone is being answered by the 3rd ring 100% of the time?
- Do you KNOW that your scripts are being adhered to?
- Do you KNOW whether patients are being greeted or ignored?
- Do you KNOW what’s going on when you aren’t there?
I’m getting asked more & more often from specialists for help with marketing that:
- drives callers to phones
- patients through doors
- traffic to websites
Unfortunately this is becoming harder and harder to do. We’ve got to realize, as leaders of our practice, that every phone call, every walk-in, every click-through is precious. Does your team get this?
These things are getting harder to come by and oh by the way, much more expensive to buy. This is why it boggles my mind that so many business and practice owners are so unconcerned about disappointing anyone calling, coming in, or going to a website.
The Orthodontist Dilemma
If you don’t think all of this is that important, take a look at what orthodontists are up against, Smile Direct Club. It’s not really a dental company, it’s a marketing company (take a look at the job offers).
They’re allowing the consumer to bypass the orthodontist all together. They make it simple.
Aligners can be made by either:
- Taking impressions of your teeth in the comfort of your home or
- Stopping by one of their SmileShops for a scan
They’re targeting people that want straight teeth but don’t want to pay retail. This company is charging over 50% less than what orthodontists typically charge.
How important do you think it is NOW for ortho practices to answer their phone on the 3rd ring? Every lead they get is becoming harder and harder to acquire.
I had a periodontist contact me after discussing Google ads vs Facebook ads. He was fed up with a handful of dentists in his area that used to send him implants but now want to change the game.
His referral slips now state, “Please extract tooth #X but send patient back. I WILL PLACE THE DENTAL IMPLANT.”
Have you gotten this yet? If not, trust me. It’s coming. Implant companies are marketing to dentists similar to how the Smile Direct Club is marketing to the public. They are making it seem so easy to do, that anybody can take a 3 day course and become an implant specialist.
It’s a shame that this is happening. It’s not good for the general public or us. I’m sure you have, like I do, several general dentists that care more about patient care than the bottom line. No matter what happens, this group is going to continue doing the right thing and refer to a specialist when it’s in the patient’s BEST interest. Unfortunately, the number of dentists that do this is getting smaller and smaller.
It’s for this reason that we must take control of our patient generation. Putting our eggs in one basket is too risky. No different than investing in single stocks. If one starts to go down, we’re sunk.
Everywhere we look these days, bad behavior is present. Overly casual, sloppy dress in business settings, at church, traveling, etc. How about cell phone use at meals? Adults and kids! Texting and driving. When I say something about this, most reply, “Come on Man! That’s NORMAL now.” It might be the norm, but it certainly doesn’t equate to “successful.”
I work out at the local college each week. Now that I see students behavior firsthand, I can tell that productivity, financial success and autonomy are abnormal. Not on the tops of their mind. It is therefore critical to be harshly skeptical of anything that appears “normal.” You can’t get abnormal results if conforming to normal thought and behavior. I know that people get this concept, but then they fail to apply it in practical ways.
Let me ask you a few questions:
- Do your phones appear to be answered “normally”?
- Do you know what is being said when someone finds you online and asks your staff, “How much does X cost?” or “Do you take my insurance?”
If you’re currently (or thinking about) acquiring patients from other sources besides dentists (website, Facebook ads, Google ads, direct mail, implant seminars) it’s imperative that you’re team knows how to handle their questions.
My team didn’t know how so I acquired the information needed to do so.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’d like to help.
Our new dental receptionist phone training system is launching less than a month.
It will sell for $997.
The first 11 docs that email firstname.lastname@example.org will lock in a 50% discount ($497).
The only “catch” is that we want your feedback on what you think of the training and any suggestions you have that can make it better.