Considering that close to 50% of potential new patients are lost at the front desk, it’s essential that you take the time to work with your office team on best practices for creating warm, engaging, and informative first contact conversations. Of course, every phone call from both current and prospective patients should demonstrate a genuine concern for the caller’s needs and represent your office in the most positive way.
Here are some useful guidelines for converting more incoming calls from prospective patients into patient visits:
1.Establish a standard greeting that identifies the practice by name and the staff member answering the phone.
“Good Morning. Thank you for calling (NAME OF OFFICE). My Name is (RECEPTIONIST’S NAME). How may I help you today?”
Keep in mind that it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. An enthusiastic, attentive, and pleasant tone goes a long way in making a good first impression.
2. Start to establish a good rapport by welcoming a prospective new patient to your practice.
“We are so pleased you chose our office for care. When would you like to schedule an appointment?”
Based on your office hours, you can also say something like:
“We’re open (NUMBER OF DAYS) days a week and offer early morning and evening appointments for your convenience.”
3. If there are questions regarding health insurance coverage or financial policies, it’s important to present this information in a positive and informative way. If you participate in many plans, your front desk can say something to the effect of:
“We accept many insurance plans towards full or partial payment and will work with you to maximize your benefits. “
If your office does not accept your insurance or a particular plan, you can say:
“Our office is happy to fill out insurance forms for your reimbursement.”
It’s important not to make assumptions. Sometimes patients are willing to go out-of-network based on the quality of care and the established reputation of the office as well as the options you provide in terms of payment plans, financing, promotions, or discounts.
4. Make sure your front desk is attended at all times during office hours, and that calls are answered promptly. Your staff should be answering the phone by the time office hours start for the day. Try not to let the phone ring more than a few times. If you have an answering machine on during lunch or when there is no one available at the front desk, return calls promptly.
5. If you have to put a patient on hold to complete another call, do not leave them on hold for too long.
“I’m on another call right now. Please give me your name and number, and I’ll get back to you in just a few minutes.”
“Please give me your name and number in case we get disconnected while you’re on hold, and I’ll call you back as soon as I am done with this call.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to turn hard-earned Internet leads into patients!
Although it’s easy for your front desk to get immersed in the tasks of the day, it’s essential to present your office from the very first phone conversation as a “patient-centric” practice. When the phone rings, your front desk team needs to demonstrate from the get-go that your office is welcoming, attentive, and cares.
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