Friday, 1 March, 2024

31 May 2019 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 68

To ensure the perfect phone call every time, use a Telephone Checklist

By Dr Michael Sernik

A well-organised practice will always have a telephone checklist visible to all team members who answer the phone. When you hear someone say, "I don't need a checklist," that usually means the team member believes the only aim of the phone call is to make an appointment.


Each item on the checklist is there for a reason: It's to prevent problems!

Here's the checklist:

1. New or current patient

If you simply say to the caller, "Have you been here before?" you might be annoying someone who was there last week and they expect you to remember them.

You'll be safer if you ask "when were you here last?" and if they are a new patient, they'll tell you they haven't been before. Asking this question allows you to get the same answer without risking creating offense.

2. Fuzzies

It's easy to gather useful personal information so that the patient has a comforting "Warm and Fuzzy" experience. We always want to build better relationships, so if the patient mentions something notable about themselves, such as their occupation or some other piece of information, it's useful to jot it down so you can remember.

Using this information poorly can do more harm than good, so make sure you don't overdo this.

3. Past dental history

Whoever takes the call can be trained to ask a few questions so as to give the team advanced notice of what this patient might need. This information is useful in setting an appropriate time.

Say "I want to make sure that I book you more than enough time for you and it's really helpful if you can give me just a quick summary of the type of treatment you've had in the past."

The team member should know when to drill down on what the patient says.

For example, if the patient says "I had a tooth out", you'd want to know which tooth it was and whether the gap was filled.

If they had a root canal treatment, it's useful to know whether a crown was used to support the tooth.

4. Set expectations

Some people expect to have treatment or see a hygienist. It's best to tell them what will happen and avoid mis-expectations. If it's an emergency appointment, the patient should be told that the aim of the next appointment is to get them out of pain and then they'll probably need another appointment if more treatment is needed.

5. Quote fee

Tell them approximately how much the next appointment will be and how payment can be made. You want to avoid situations where the patient was expecting an account or was shocked at the fee. If you quote a fee bracket, it's a good idea to actually charge the lower fee.

6. Get email or phone number

It's vital to be able to communicate with the patient. You might be running late or have to re-schedule them. It's also good to ask if they prefer a text.

7. Marketing source

It's important to be able to track your marketing effectiveness. Asking "Who can we thank for referring you?" implies that most patients are personally referred.

8. Quick call list if booked far in advance

If you were not able to see the patient as soon as you would have liked, you should put them on a quick call list.

Say "If an earlier time becomes available, would you like me to call you?"

If they say yes, now ask: "If I do call, how long would it take you to get here?"

Note the time. Now your quick call list will be much more useful.

In addition to the Checklist, there are 3 communications tips that are good to have on the telephone checklist.

Telephone communication tips

  1. Use your name when you answer.
  2. Use the patient's name often when you speak.
  3. Make sure you sound relaxed cheerful and show empathy when appropriate.

It's a great idea to do some training exercises and record the best calls. This way, a new team member can quickly hear how "good" sounds.

If you always use this checklist, you'll be preventing lots of problems.

In summary, here's the checklist again:

  1. New or Current Patient.
  2. Fuzzies.
  3. Past dental history.
  4. Set expectations.
  5. Quote fee.
  6. Get email or phone number.
  7. Marketing source.
  8. Quick call list if booked far in advance.

Dr Michael Sernik is the CEO of Channel D.

Clinical

Staying Safe

Clinical

Clinical

Stream the latest dental videos...
ASIGA Composer 2.0

Sponsored Links...

Upcoming Events...

Mar 06 2024
Mar 09 2024
Mar 12 2024
Mar 13 2024
Mar 13 2024
Mar 14 2024

Expodental 2024

Madrid, SPAIN

Mar 15 2024
Mar 16 2024
Mar 21 2024

ADX24 Sydney

Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Mar 22 2024
Apr 05 2024
Apr 12 2024
Apr 16 2024

Dentists Behaving 'Very' Badly

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

Apr 19 2024
Apr 19 2024

IDEM Singapore 2024

Singapore, SINGAPORE

Apr 23 2024
Apr 24 2024
May 01 2024
May 02 2024
May 09 2024
May 11 2024
May 14 2024
May 22 2024
May 24 2024
May 29 2024
May 30 2024
May 31 2024

Scottish Dental Show 2024

Glasgow, UNITED KINGDOM

May 31 2024

Famdent Show Mumbai 2024

Mumbai, INDIA

Jun 01 2024
Jun 06 2024
Jun 09 2024
Jun 11 2024
Jun 22 2024
Jul 16 2024
Jul 25 2024
Aug 23 2024
Aug 29 2024

Practical Endodontics Workshop

Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Sep 07 2024
Sep 14 2024
Sep 26 2024
Oct 03 2024
Oct 10 2024
Oct 17 2024

ADOHTA 2024 National Congress

Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Oct 24 2024
Nov 13 2024
Nov 29 2024
Mar 25 2025

IDS 2025

Cologne, GERMANY

May 08 2025