Have you ever considered how much a new Patient is worth to your Practice? In fact have you ever had the discussion at a team meeting to discuss this all so important question?

If you have heard me speak, or maybe read some of my previous articles you will know that a new patient enquiry to your Practice could be worth at least £5,000. If a new patient joins your Practice, maybe joins your plan and sticks around for ten years, has a little bit of treatment, they will probably spend that amount with you. That does not include any referrals that they may also introduce to the Practice.

Without doubt the Reception Team are the most important people within the Dental Practice. They are the first point of contact when a patient either telephones or visits.

Here are seven simple tips to help Receptionists deal with new enquiries to ensure they are most productive and profitable.

  1. My view is that the Receptionist needs to answer the telephone within four rings maximum, as I believe people start getting impatient after four rings. They need to answer the telephone with an enthusiastic 10, stating the name of the Practice, their own name and end with a statement on how can they can help the Patient.
    Don’t forget you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Often I ring up Practices and all I get is “Good Morning Dental Practice”. I also think using their own name gives an opportunity to build rapport with the patient.
  2. If a patient enquires about the services of the Practice, the Receptionist should immediately thank the patient for ringing them and ask the patient for their own name and use it in the conversation. Most people’s favourite name is their own and of course you are starting to build a relationship with the patient which is what it is all about. You will stand out.
  3. Ask the patient how they heard about the Practice. There are many advantages to this, you can establish what aspect of your marketing is working and this is important if you are spending money on advertising, or ad words etc. The Owner needs to know if they are getting a return on their investment. If it is a referral, you will have a chance to thank the referring patient and you will also know that you have a red hot client, who is genuinely interested in making an appointment with you.
  4. If the patient says I saw your website, then again thank the patient and ask them what was is about the website that they liked. This is important information and will help you establish what part of the website is working and in some cases not.
  5. Ask the patient how you can help them and what aspects of their treatment are they interested in. This is the part of the conversation when you are now genuinely interested in the patient and finding out what they are interested in. Ask open questions which get the patient talking about what they are interested in and listen attentively to their answers. Please do not make the mistake of asking one question then launching into a presentation on how you can help them. I often hear this in Practices, as the receptionist very quickly starts telling the patients about the two different types of teeth whitening systems that are available in the practice. The aim at this point is to find out what the patient is interested in.
  6. After you have truly understood what the patient requires, then if you can help them tell them so and then invite the patient in for an appointment. This is the most important part of the conversation. If you don’t close, you will lose.
  7. Thank the patient for making the appointment, confirm again, and then tell them how much they are looking forward to seeing them. Also if you can give them any easy travel information i.e. if they are coming by tube, where to get off etc, this is a nice touch.

I would also encourage you to consider taking the telephone out of reception and create a back office where the telephone can be answered. If this is not possible, then I am a strong believer that all new enquiries should be dealt with away from the reception, so that you can give your new client 100% focused attention, don’t forget how much the patient is worth to your practice.

If you are looking to make your Reception the most productive and profitable, then it will only happen if you train your team to be world class on the telephone. We an excellent programme for this. Please click here to find one near you

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