It’s been a bit since we’ve done our round-up of phone mistakes, and well, there certainly isn’t a better time to get some friendly reminders on how to manage different types of calls that may be coming in to your practice. We’ve been listening closely to calls for our recent practice assessments. Here’s some of the mistakes we’re pointing out for practices to avoid:
1. Treating calls the same way you did in 2019
It goes without saying, a lot has changed in the last year. While the pandemic won’t be here forever, we anticipate some trends are here to stay for a while.
A big one is the need for real human connection. Anxiety and tension among consumers is running high, and you can expect an increase in how easy it is for prospects to become impatient and irritable. It’s important to approach every call with extra sensitivity, empathy, and a willingness to understand the caller’s needs.
Details like being aware of your tone, asking them about their day, and taking the time to address their questions without seeming to rush the call, can make a big difference.
2. Not Seeing the Opportunity to Build a Relationship
A fundamental rule that goes wrong from the start with any call, is the perception that “It’s just another call.”
Every time the phone rings, it’s an opportunity to make a lasting impression on someone – no matter the outcome. It’s up to your practice on what that impression will be.
Every call should be answered with a friendly greeting that includes the practice name, staff member’s name and a “how may I help you?” A perfect example would be, “Good morning, thank you for calling ABC Cosmetic Surgery. This is Kimberly. How can I help you today?”
Just as important as what you say, is how you say it. A friendly and upbeat attitude communicates a warm and caring environment. Smiling (even though not seen over a phone conversation) can help avoid sounding monotone or robotic.
3. Not Obtaining the Caller’s Contact Information and Details
One of the fundamentals we teach our First Contact Counselors is to always try to ask the following 4 questions to get the patient’s contact information and key details:
- Patient Status: Are they a new or existing patient?
- Name: First name is good for personalization, but of course you always want the last name to enter into your CRM system for tracking.
- Phone Number: Most often, this will be their mobile phone, but be sure to confirm. If it is, ask if they are open to receiving texts for appointment reminders, offers, and other alerts.
- Referral Source: For new patients, asking “How did you hear about us?” and tracking their responses to determine marketing effectiveness.
4. Not Selling the Consultation
The primary goal of every call is to schedule the consultation. Yet, we see practices simply answer questions, without ever mentioning the consultation.
And with many practices now offering virtual consultations, it’s never been a more convenient time for prospects to be evaluated for procedures and get their detailed questions answered without having to ever step foot in the office. Combine this trend with the fact most people are still working from home, so they have greater availability to make appointments.
In short, promoting the consultation in every call with a prospect is a no-brainer.
5. Not Seeing Beyond the “No”
If a caller is not ready to book an appointment for a consultation, that doesn’t mean all is lost. A medical procedure is a big decision for most – one that comes with a lot of consideration, researching the procedure, physician, and other practices. They’re also determining whether they have the money and any possible risks.
Develop helpful information such as a brochure, offer, or coupon that you can send to them, if they decline to book a consult. This not only serves as another touch point, but also gives reason to collect their email and/or physical address for further future follow-up.
Want tips on how to manage phone calls the right way? Request sample phone calls and you’ll be able to hear firsthand how our First Contact experts convert more calls to patients.