Nothing could be more important to an orthodontic practice then the new patient phone call. Each time the phone rings, the front desk team should expect that the call could be a new patient and they must be ready to project a high level of energy, focus, and enthusiasm. They must also keep in mind that the main objective of the call is to build value for the practice in order to schedule the caller for their first consultation appointment.
There are three things that should be part of every new patient phone call in order to help schedule the appointment. Practices that provide these three things often have a higher number of new patients schedule for consults and ultimately close for orthodontic treatment in the practice. Try each of these one at a time and then gradually incorporate all of them into your new patient phone call. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Bring high energy to every phone call. Orthodontic practices should be fun, and fun is communicated by displaying a high level of energy. Unfortunately, sometimes when the phone rings it is viewed as an interruption rather than an opportunity. When high energy is displayed in the call you communicate to parents or patients that you have a fun, positive ortho office – one that they will enjoy being part of. Keep in mind that it’s harder to communicate high energy on the phone than in person, so you really have to work at it.
Communicate value to the caller. Script out certain information about your practice that lets the caller know they will receive excellent value as a patient in your practice. Talk about the orthodontist, the years and experience of the practice, the caring and compassion of the orthodontic team, the fun activities for kids, and even the advanced technologies or speed of treatment. Any and all of these communicate value to the caller and begin to differentiate your practice, ultimately helping to make you the practice of choice.
Work hard to schedule the caller. Remember that the objective of the phone call is to have the patient make an appointment. Most people call orthodontic practices because they are interested in scheduling. Make the new patient appointment as convenient and easy as possible and do what’s necessary to get them scheduled. A great target is for 96% of potential new parents or patients who call the practice to make an appointment.
And one more thing. Always measure results. If you cannot measure how many patients called the practice versus how many scheduled, you won’t be able to truly improve the process. You can use whatever is most convenient–software, an iPad, a piece of paper—as long as it helps you keep a running tally. Weekly and monthly statistics on how many new patients called the practice and how many scheduled, is critical data that will have a direct impact on annual orthodontic production. For example, you might find that one of the reasons not enough patients are scheduling is that they are not finding appointments that are convenient enough for them. Always remember the great business mantra "whoever makes it easiest wins".