The Fate Of Your Practice Lies In This Person’s Hands (Hint: NOT You)

Posted in Business Practices | March 27,2013

Business Practices

Did you know that ONE person in your practice yields MORE power to make or break your bottom line, to amp up or shut down your patient load, than anyone else?

It’s true. And you may never guess who that person is.

It’s your phone person.

Yes, I’m serious. The person you are paying $14/hr to answer your incoming patient calls (and probably all calls for that matter) is directly responsible for making (or losing) your practice thousands of dollars in new patient revenue every month.

Don’t act surprised. Who’s the ONE gatekeeper a new patient MUST pass to get into your doors, meet you, book a procedure and become a raving patient advocate for your practice?

The employee who takes that first phone call.

Here are five tips you can pass along to your phone person TODAY to increase conversions of leads into consults and directly affect your bottom line in a big way.

1. Turn OFF Your Automated Phone System

As soon as you take the automated answering system off your office phones, your new patient leads will increase.

We’ve seen this time and time again, and it holds true because it eliminates the frustrations that come with automated phone systems:

  • Extended wait times
  • Confusion with which menu item to select based on the options presented
  • Inability to get directly to an operator
  • Technical errors causing disconnects
  • Messages left on wrong machines that are overlooked (if the caller even leaves a message)

Potential patients have a need, and they’re calling you to help them. They want to talk to a person, not a machine.

Would you rather the caller’s very first impression to be an automated robot or a friendly, helpful team member?

2. Smile

You may have heard this before, and it may sound silly, but when you SMILE while talking on the phone, the person on the other end of the line can ‘hear’ your smile. It’s true!

Just by reminding your phone counselor to smile, you can be sure the friendly, helpful, cordial, polite nature of your practice is better conveyed on the phone right from the start. This sets the tone for the entire call.

3. Sell the Next Step

One mistake many practices make is the idea that they have to sell the procedure on the phone.

Good luck with that.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll sell a $5,000+ elective procedure simply on a phone call. So don’t make that the GOAL of the call.

Instead, sell the next step of the process. For many of our clients, it’s a consultation, often a free one.

Encourage the caller to visit your office for a consultation with your team/doctor to learn if the procedure is right for him or her.

Once the potential patient visits your office and experiences your VIP consultation, selling the procedure will be much easier than trying to do it over the phone.

4. Get the Caller’s Name (And Use It Often)

Have your phone people start the call by introducing themselves and asking the caller’s name.

“My name is Jennifer, and may I ask your name?”

Then WRITE the caller’s name across the top of your notepad and use it frequently throughout the call. This builds immediate rapport with the caller. The more comfortable you can make the potential patient, the more likely you will be to book the consultation we discussed in #2.

5. Employ the Assumptive Close

New leads call your practice because they believe you have a solution to their problems. They WANT to trust you, and they WANT to give you hard-earned money in exchange for this solution.

Wrap your head around this and use the assumptive close, i.e. assume the patient is going to buy, and script your call in that manner.

Examples:

  • “Thank you for choosing ABC practice, my name is Jennifer, may I ask your name?” (using choosing vs calling)
  • “We have appointments available on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. or Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Which works best for you?” (asking when the caller would like to schedule, not if)

This strategy may seem subtle, but it sets the stage for a purchase by creating the mindset that it’s going to happen.

Know the patient wants your product. Believe it. Own it. Then get them scheduled.

In Conclusion

Share this information with the team members answering your phones, and make sure they implement it.

Put the human touch of a warm voice, kindness, care, information, intelligence, responsiveness and professionalism back into your practice and watch your patient referrals climb to your highest levels.

What other tips do you have in regard to “giving good phone”? Leave comments below!

– Troy Cole, Director of Account Services

For more information, feel free to contact us at Miller Public Relations.