Investing in customer service is money and time well spent. It is true that a potential client calling your business will form an opinion in less than three seconds about you or your staff, based on that initial call. It is therefore vital that anyone answering the practice telephone is ready with a pen and paper, a listening ear in readiness to assist and give information. The practices you are competing against (many now under a corporate banner) pour numerous man-hours and much finance into training staff. As a result they take more calls, faster, and get it right every time, giving top class customer service, but there is no reason why you cannot match that level of customer care.
Here are eight pieces of golden advice for desk staff, on how to handle every call expertly:
Answer promptly, around the third ring if possible. Before you speak, stop, centre yourself, smile and take a breath. Stay focused & friendly. Someone has taken the time to call your surgery so really connect with them. Each new interaction could be your next paying customer!
Use a succinct greeting so they know they are through to the right practice, and give your name.
Listen to their request and their tone – remember you are providing a service. Once they have told you why they are calling, gather information about them to help serve them better, and to inform the dentist of their needs. Repeat back critical information.
Take their name and details. Check the spelling of any difficult words or unusual names and repeat back if possible, especially their telephone number.
Offer a range of appointments and ask them which they’d prefer. Don’t say you are busy or booked up. Instead, aim to end each call having booked a consultation. Don’t miss an opportunity to gain a new client!
Ask them for their email address, when it feels most natural to do so. A database is a vital tool for your business. An e-newsletter is a great way to inform clients of offers, products and services, and news. If you need help with this, click here.
Practice some good phone etiquette if you have to put the caller on hold, and explain to them what you will do.
If a caller has rung you by mistake, be polite and helpful. Be a representative of the outstanding, caring practice you are part of, one that has people at its heart.
Telephone calls are hugely important to your business. How you handle a patient’s request will either give them a great experience or it will instantly turn them toward your competition. No second chances! So, value each customer contact and it will have great yield for the practice. Aim to keep those chairs full and to keep your customers returning!
For an analysis of what your particular dental business requires, why not enquire about having a Practice Evaluation Report compiled for you. It will give you the insight you need into what changes are needed. It could be the first step to a thriving, forwards-looking practice, something all customers deserve to experience and all dental professionals should seek to create. Click here for more details.