4 Ways To Take Your Practice To The Next


Level By Providing Quality Customer Service


 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying it’s the little things in life that matter the most.  This can apply to almost every aspect of life.  It’s the little gestures that really go a long way in customer service.  So why wouldn’t you apply this in your practice to make sure your patients keep coming back over and over again?

Customer Service is extremely important when attracting more patients and growing your practice.  So make sure that your patients want to keep coming back to your office by offering something that no one else can…a fantastic and memorable experience.

While it does help, it’s not enough to only think outside the box anymore.  Something that will never change in any practice is that people are more likely to become long time patients, and even refer you to you a friend, if they have a good experience at your office.

This is something that is easy to do, but is often overlooked.  Oftentimes a simple friendly attitude and good telephone etiquette can greatly improve the tone and atmosphere of the entire office.  It’s also good to go the extra mile if you can, just to set yourself and your practice apart from the guy down the street.  Make them remember you by giving them an experience that they can’t forget.


Communication With Dental Patients

Communication is the key to any relationship and that includes the relationship that you have with your patients.  You can only help them if you understand what their needs and wants are.

The number one sin of all businesses, not just dental practices, is taking their clients or patients for granted and not communicating with them on a regular basis.

You should be providing value to your patients by communicating with them on a regular basis.  Sending a newsletter each month or staying active on your social media accounts are both great ways to keep those lines of communication open while also building a friendly relationship with your patients.

Each of these avenues is a great way for them to get to know you, and build a rapport with them over time that you just can’t do during their bi-annual hygiene visits.

Especially in today’s dental world communicating with your dental patients is absolutely necessary if you want to grow your practice.  By showing your appreciation and that you care for them, that they aren’t just a number, will ensure that they will come back over and over again.

Another great way you can express your appreciation to your patients is by spotlighting a star patient each month and sending personal thank you notes to them at home.  This will really take your communication to the next level.


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Phone Skills – They Can Make or Break Your Practice

No one wants to call a dental office to make an appointment and not be sure if they called the right place or deal with a lukewarm receptionist.  Oftentimes, this may be their first experience with your office and you want to make it an easy and pleasant so they don’t have to feel like they’re doing all the work.  Take the hassle out of it for them so that all they have to do is come to their appointment.

I shake my head when I see, or rather hear, someone blow it over the phone from poor verbal skills when I am evaluating a dental practice.

I imagine you, doctor, writing out your monthly checks for salaries, rent, bills.  Paying for consultants, marketing, graphic designers and advertisements.  Doing everything you need to do and paying for it down to the penny along the way and it all goes down the drain when a patient calls your office and an untrained front desk throws it all away.

All your efforts are shot when a new patient actually calls that number, and the team member on the other side of the phone picks it up and opens her mouth.

Everything the owner worked for was just lost because that employee didn’t have the proper phone skills and essentially “lost the patient”… sometimes forever.

The only purpose of a phone is to get the patient scheduled as nicely, professionally, and as quickly as possible.

During college I got a job working part time at a lumberyard.  I was put into the entry-level position answering phones.  During my first 10 minutes of working, they had me answering calls.  I had received zero training on answering the phones but that didn’t seem to matter.

One of my first calls came in and I took a guess and answered by saying, “XYZ, may I help you?”

“WHO IS THIS?” the voice on the other side of the line barked.

I told him my name.  And he proceeded to yell at me over the phone.  “Is that how you answer the phone?  You say ‘Good morning, thank you for calling XYZ Building Supplies.  How may I direct your call?’  Do you know how much business you are costing me?”

Then he asked, “How long have you worked there?”

I reluctantly told him exactly 12 minutes at that point still not knowing who he was until he said he was the owner of the company!

Ouch!  My manager got an earful that was passed down to me later.

Now after that incidence, you would assume that someone would go back and give me the proper phone training on handling calls. But nope.  I received zero phone skills training.

As important as it was, no one took the time to neither develop a script for the company nor make employees accountable for performing it.

Is this something that is happening in your office?

Sometimes it’s the most basic things like answering the phone that get overlooked and are costing you the most in the end.

I advocate phone training for everyone in the office.  Even though it is typically the front desk who answers the phone, everyone in your office should know the basics because let’s face it people get busy.  What if your front desk is out sick, or is busy with another patient?

Which is why I advocate cross training, especially with something as important as phone training.  Which even includes you, doctor.  If you don’t know if the proper way to answer the phone, how will you know if your team is?


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Adjusting Your Schedule To Your Patients’ Needs

Keeping your dental schedule full is important to the practice and it involves getting more patients, too.  Part of this has to be tied to being ‘patient attractive’ in your scheduling and this is creating a new norm in the dental office framework.

In the past, it was standard, common knowledge even, that dental offices were open Monday through Thursday and closed Friday through Sunday.  Patients used to accept that.  But as schedules get busier and consumers get used to other businesses being friendlier with their hours, they are expecting that from their dental provider also.

Your patients are getting used to the more ‘instant access’ world we all live in and that means they want something that better fits their schedule and needs.  So if you aren’t open on Friday or early/late hours, I hate to say it but you are behind the times.

Planning for patient friendly days in your schedule will help you continue to grow.  This will help get more dental patients into your office and keep them coming back.  I often get some resistance from solo practitioners and thinking I’m asking you to do even more work than you already are.

But that isn’t necessarily the case.  To accommodate Fridays, just simply adjust your work schedule from another day.  Just because the office is open Monday-Friday for calls doesn’t mean you as the doctor will be there every day delivering care.  You could adjust your schedule to be off one day during the week, or do only a half day on Wednesday and then half day on Friday morning to give patients access to care.  And in the care for early or late hours, you just start later and work that evening or come in early and leave by 4pm.

Now, the key to success for this is….the phones need to be answered during normal business hours.  Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 no matter what, someone needs to be answering the phone.

Because what happens if a prospect is searching for a new dentist and calls your office but no one answers?  They move right on to the next dentist in line and I don’t want that to happen to you.

Often times when I am talking with a dentist and they say they are struggling to keep their schedule full I find it’s because they haven’t adapted their practice to what the consumer is looking for.  And I will warn you, Saturday will soon become the new norm, so if you aren’t on board for Friday appointments you will really be behind when Saturday moves in.


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About the Author

Ginger is a dentist, coach, and award winning copywriter and marketer that works with committed dentists to get and keep more patients, increase production, and take home more...all without being overwhelmed or stressed out.

To contact Dr. Bratzel's office directly about Products, Events, or Coaching go to:  www.GingerBratzel.com or call 405-225-0254.

 

Ginger Bratzel, DDS

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