Are Poor Phone Skills Costing You Money?
"Judging other people in the first few seconds of meeting them is part of our survival response. So, although we might understand that it's a flawed and prejudiced way of evaluation, we can't stop ourselves from doing it." -- Linda Blair, clinical psychologist
When a potential patient or customer calls your business to inquire about scheduling up an appointment or getting more information, they set initial first impressions in just a few seconds after talking to your office staff. If the phone calls that come to your business aren't handled properly, it could be costing you thousands in what could have been potential profits. Don't make the mistake of neglecting how well phone calls are handled in your office. Here are some tips:
Preparation: It's helpful to provide office staff with an outline or light script for the various types of phone calls they might receive throughout the day. For example, if they receive a phone call from a new patient who wants to schedule an appointment, an outline can help to ensure that all of the right questions are asked and that the right information is gathered.
Interview: Office staff should be prepped about how to properly interview or qualify potential patients or customers. The conversation should consist of 20% questions and 80% listening to the questions or situation of the caller. Make sure whoever is in charge of answering phones has the ability to give their full attention to the caller.
Resolve concerns: Office staff should also be trained on how to resolve concerns of both current and potential patients. It's important that office employees are educated about what potential concerns could arise, and that they also have the ability to keep calm and collected even when the caller might not be.
Validate: Because the initial phone call is typically your potential customer or patient's first line of contact with your business, it's important that your office staff validates and reassures their choice in choosing your business. Office staff should be trained about the unique selling proposition of your business or practice, and be able to communicate that to patients in a reassuring way.
Smile: Last but not least, friendliness is everything. Even though a caller can't see it, the person on the other end of the phone always sounds friendlier when they are smiling. Callers who get an excellent first impression from their initial phone contact with your business have a much likelier chance of choosing your business above your competition for their particular needs.