Mercury Aligns With Mars

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Do you promote yourself as a holistic or a mercury-free dentist? If you do, then you know that working with this special group of patients brings a unique set of challenges. Recently, I conducted a Team Teleconference with a group who was struggling with how to best serve these patients.

Their goal:  To better understand these patients and learn how to connect with them more successfully. In other words, how can we align with what they want?

Here’s the email they sent me to establish the agenda for our session:

Holistic calls seem to always be the challenging call in our office. The patients are always very detail oriented  and can really throw us off with some of the questions asked. Another problem we face is they take so much time on the phone. I immediately guide them to our holistic website and walk them through our holistic approach when removing Amalgam.
 
There seems to always be a lack of understanding by the patient about what is involved. What I constantly hear from these patients is that they don’t want to have an exam, (don’t want) x rays and just (want to) have their amalgam removed.
 
How can we efficiently handle these calls? How can we handle these conversations to help the patient better understand why the exam and digital X rays are important? How do I get these patients to understand our process without coming off “rude” or “condescending”?

Keep in mind we do offer the consult as a last resort to help convert the call to a future appointment.

Our session brought about some clarity by breaking down the knowns and unknowns.
To start, the team identified some common themes that emerge when working with these patients:

1) They do a lot of personal research on the Internet.
We know that there is an equal amount of incorrect information as there is accurate information out there and each patient will struggle to discern what is fact and what is fiction. When they call your practice, they already have a set of beliefs which may or may not be correct. If what you tell them goes against what they have begun to believe, they will experience some internal conflict.

2) They self-diagnose or have been told by a trusted authority that the mercury in their mouth is;

1) toxic and 2) may be making them sick.
This may or may not be true in their case but you will not change their belief system in a short phone call. It is what it is. Gaining clarity about what they believe is essential and you must use this as the CONTEXT for which you will begin your relationship with them.

3) They are apprehensive and slow to trust.
They may believe you want to perform other procedures that aren’t necessary or will also be harmful. Some individuals may have had negative experiences with health professionals in the past, which leads to their distrust. They have a story and you must take the time to learn what that is.

4) They are health-focused.
Some of these patients place high importance on their diet and their exercise regimen – sometimes to the point of obsession. On the other hand, they may have a multitude of health issues and their life revolves around illness and doctor appointments. This is a part of the story you will uncover and must understand in order to determine IF you can help them, and if so, HOW you will offer to help them.

Because of these issues, they will consume more time than your typical patient, asking questions  and discussing their unique circumstances. There is no way you will change this. If you are going to serve this special group, you MUST be prepared to take the time required to fully understand them.

Also, there is a BIG difference between being efficient, and being effective. Efficiency relates to paper and processes while effectiveness relates to working with people. And effectiveness can’t be measured by whether or not you convert the phone call to an appointment. Not all callers are ones you will want to invite to become your patients. You must know when to cut your losses.

During our session, we broke it down into bite-size pieces to come up with a more effective way to work with these patients when they call.

What do they want?
In quality of life terms, what are these patients hoping you will help them with?

-They want to feel better
-They want peace of mind in knowing the possible toxins are gone

Above anything else, this is what you are providing. The procedure of removing the amalgam fillings will simply be the means by which you will help them get there.

How do they want you to accomplish this?
-They want it done in the least amount of steps necessary
-They want the safest procedure possible
-They want it done for the least amount of money

What don’t they understand?
-They’ve been told or read something they have come to believe that is different from what we tell them.
-Why xrays are necessary.
-Why a thorough exam is both clinically necessary and required by law.

How can you help them get what they want?

Because you don’t know what might be necessary just by talking with them on the phone and the approach requires a thoughtful process considering their unique situation, you will need to provide the context for why this is important in their case. Experiment with the following process and refine it as you get more successful:

1) Find out more about their unique situation – learn their story
When a caller begins the conversation by asking about mercury-free dentistry or removing amalgam, find out why they have an interest. It’s as simple as saying;

“That’s a great question. You’ve called the right place. Tell me a little more about your situation and let’s see how I can help you.”

2) Be quiet, listen, and take notes.
The patient will choose to tell you those things that are most important and can provide you with the foundation for how you will relate what they want with what you offer.

(Sidenote: if the caller begins by telling you every little detail that happened years ago, there are several ways in which to determine whether you must 1) disengage because of red flags, 2)  focus the caller, or 3) offer to refer them to a source of reliable information (like your web site), and call them back at a later time. More on this in a separate article.)

3) Use what you have discovered to provide context to the solutions you recommend.
It doesn’t matter that the protocol you use for each person is the same. You must make what you recommend unique to their particular situation. Remember to:

-refer to them by name
-acknowledge what you have heard
-explain what you recommend based on what you have heard
-get their approval

Here’s an example:

“Barbara, because you mentioned you suspect the mercury in your mouth may be causing some of your health issues, Dr. Holistic will want to learn all about those concerns. She will also want to evaluate what other things might be occurring in your mouth that you would want to be aware of and whether they may be contributing to your problem. I would like to suggest we arrange a time for you to come in to discuss your concerns with Dr. Holistic and she can to determine what diagnostic tests may be appropriate to discover the best way to help you. These may likely include xrays to see what the human eye can’t see going on under the surface. How does that sound?”

(Another sidenote: the subject of xrays and some patient’s reluctance to allow them is another layer of the story. You must peel back this layer in order to understand why this is a problem for them. Don’t assume you know what it’s about. Stay curious and relate to what they are telling you. If you would like to know more about how to address this issue, contact me for a primer on the subject.)

The TAKE HOME MESSAGEs:

Stop telling and start listening.

Use what you learn to create the framework for how you will help them.

Make it personal and unique to their situation.

You can use this same approach with ANY patient. It will help you connect more personally to each caller, begin to develop trust and help you establish a strong relationship from the very beginning.

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We Need More Help at the Front Desk!

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We Need More Help at the Front Desk!

Why is it that team members in the non-clinical roles, often referred to as the “front desk staff”, complain about the amount of work they have to do and always seem to be stressed out? Here are a few of the comments we hear all the time:

The people in the back don’t understand all the stuff we have to do”.
“How can I do the insurance when I keep having to answer the phone?”
“We never get caught up.”
“I’m constantly having to stop what I’m doing to take care of a patient. Then when I come back to it, I forget where I am.”

We have a couple of theories about the traditional front desk configuration and why it sets most teams up for failure.
THEORY 1: The front desk isn’t the area in which the dentist works. He or she doesn’t fully understand the challenges the staff is faced with and is less likely to know how the systems work against them, not to mention the outdated equipment and software challenges. For instance, many practices have only made a partial transition to paperless charts, making the practice dependent on two systems (paper and  computer), which makes locating information more difficult, causing duplication and increasing the chance of error. The dentist rarely understands the challenges this poses for the team. (This is a subject in itself!)DISCONNECTED

THEORY 2: People who work in this arena often develop tunnel vision and have difficulty
seeing new ways to structure their work. The result is that the front desk staff keeps doing the same old things in the same old ways, and not doing any of them at optimal level.

THEORY 3: When the non-clinical staff complains long enough, the dentist usually breaks down and adds another person to the team to do the same things the other team members are doing, creating more confusion, more errors and even less efficiency and effectiveness – not to mention more overhead!

So, what’s the answer? Consider separating the tasks into two areas of specialty and assign the responsibilities to the individual who has the right skill sets. Let’s look at the responsibilities of the non-clinical staff and how those duties break down.

There are three distinct areas of focus in every practice – what we call the A-B-Cs :

A – Administrative:
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Responsibilities that support the business of the business. They are related to paper and tasks – not patients. They can occur “behind the    scenes” and in most cases, are not ones that must be addressed in the moment.
The key in this role: to be EFFICIENT with THINGS.

Just some of the responsibilities that might fall under this heading are:
– review chart entries at dayʼs end to balance against deposits
-insurance pre-authorization, submissions, review and followup
-opening and sorting mail with distribution to appropriate person
-entering payments from mail and over the counter
-printing receipts for patients
-monthly statements
-daily deposit
-monthly and annual closing and archiving
-organizing invoices and packing slips before matching to statements for payment
-payables entry in accounting system
-preparation of a/p report for dentist review and approval
-preparation of checks for dentistʼs signature
-mailing signed checks
-inventory of office supplies
-purchase of office supplies and patient amenities
-errands as assigned
-correspondence
-maintenance of office equipment and machinery
-computer system oversight and IT
-maintaining patient amenities (ie: coffee station, water, etc)
-hourly upkeep of patient washroom and reception area
-implementation of marketing, promotion
-communication and follow up with the lab
-communication and follow up with vendors
-planning continuing education
-planning meetings

These responsibilities require focus, attention, detail, someone with self-direction and organizational skills -an analytical thinker.  This same concept can also be applied in the clinical area of the practice – responsibilities associated with sterilization, operatory preparation, inventory and lab duties. They are all essential to providing patient care but occur independently of patient care.

B – Behavioral:
Depositphotos_24330021_mThis arena has to do solely with the business of our patient’s business and is often the most overlooked area. These responsibilities often occur with patients and are focused on patient care, connection and communication. While some of the duties require planning and preparation, events often occur in the moment, can not be predicted and must be responded to in real time. This job requires an individual with big picture thinking. The best people are those with sensibility, grace, maturity, empathy, curiosity, good listening skills, confidence, good command of language, and the ability to think on their feet.
The key in this role: to be effective with PEOPLE.

The responsibilities that most often fall under this heading are:

-working with new patients from initial telephone call through treatment planning
discussion
-supporting patients in the moment whether on the telephone or in person
-urgency triage and establishing clear expectations with urgency patients
-maintaining oversight of patients in process – those for whom treatment has been
recommended but not yet completed
-organizing and managing the “lost souls” project – those for whom treatment has been
recommended and have dropped out of sight
-handling fees and financial arrangement discussions that are not properly handled
elsewhere
-addressing patient complaints and issues in a timely manner
-ensuring that patient interests and concerns are clearly understood by all
-supporting patients by helping them price-test their treatment options
-ensuring that all patient-contact staff are prepared behaviorally for patients before they
arrive
-identifying patterns and trends with patients as they occur
-maintaining oversight of the schedule and making appointments as necessary
-managing patient correspondence and followup
-coordinating non-clinical aspects of care with specialists and referrals
-internal training on communications and patient relations
-connecting with referral sources, public relations, networking

C – Clinical:
Depositphotos_24330067_mEvents related to the delivery of care. Commands most of the focus of the practice and is often the most up-to-date area. Requires the attention and oversight of the dentist/business owner. Removes the dentist/owner from constant oversight of the two other areas, making it even more important that self-directed, well-matched, highly-effective people are placed in the non-clinical roles.

As you can see, the non-clinical staff is responsible for two of the three critical areas of the practice. These staff members are often asked to perform both Administrative and Behavioral roles simultaneously while the responsibilities are very different from one another and require different skill sets.  It becomes clear that when we ask them to assume both roles, they are split between two very different responsibilities, making them choose in the moment which is more important. This usually creates more problems, and sets them up for failure, making them less effective or efficient in either of these areas.

It is our opinion that when you separate the Administrative from Behavioral roles and hire/assign responsibilities based upon strength in one of these two areas, you encourage deep competency, similar to your competency in the area of dentistry. Each person performs at a higher level when they are focused on only one arena and they become more successful than if they were asked to do everything with less effectiveness.

This is not to say that a person who is assigned administrative responsibilities can’t support the one who is responsible for patient connection by answering the phone, welcoming patients or checking patients out when necessary. There are always exceptions. Some practices opt for a third person to act as a greeter or to handle phone triage and appointment scheduling. Remember, the goal is to encourage deep competency in their skill set and prevent team members from performing in areas where they are not as skilled.

This concept may require you to think differently about the individuals, skill sets and responsibilities in your practice. A good exercise for each of your non-clinical team members is to have them make a list of their duties and determine whether it is administrative or behavioral (we hope you aren’t asking them to also perform clinical roles too!). Ask them to assess how much of their work load is in each of these arenas and discuss how roles might be shifted to better serve this new model.

Take home message: You most likely don’t need more people serving in a non-clinical role – you just need the right people, with the right skill sets, in the right positions, which creates a better, more efficient and effective systems.

A caveat here – you may discover that you have team members who share similar skill sets leaving you with no one to serve an administrative or behavioral role. This may be the eureka moment that explains why certain problems keep occurring in your practice.  This process may also cause you to consider restructuring your non-clinical staff altogether. We can help you consider your options and sort through the implications of making changes to better serve the practice and your patients.

My Prediction for 2013

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Good news!  U. S. News and World Report has announced their list of the top jobs (those in greatest demand) for 2013 and topping the list at number one is dentist!  Following in the number ten position is dental hygienist! At the risk of angering some of you, I’m going to say it. No more whining! You can position your practice and seize the market. But you must decide to take a good hard look at your practice and make some improvements.  Look at these FIVE ELEMENTS and ask whether you are making the most of each opportunity:

1) Your Physical plant

Patients have very little in which to judge your expertise or competence and some will assess you by the appearance of your practice. From the exterior and signage to the decor, wall art and clutter, look at your practice with new eyes or ask a third party or professional to give you their honest opinion. And while you must like and be comfortable in your surroundings, the more important issue is who you are targeting and what will appeal to them.

2) How are patients welcomed?

The best investment you can make is to train the team members entrusted with answering the phone and welcoming new AND existing patients. NO AMOUNT OF ADVERTISING OR EXTERNAL MARKETING WILL BENEFIT YOU until your team members learn how to connect with people in the most effective way. The challenge is that you rarely know how your team members are engaging people because you are focused on doing dentistry. Enlist the help of a professional to both assess and train your team appropriately.

3) Work on building relationships

This may sound like a no-brainer but there is more to building a relationship than learning where your patients work, their children’s names or where they went on their last vacation. Everyone who works in the practice must be capable and willing to learn communication skills that will carry your relationships beyond the superficial. This requires learning why patients come to you, what they are asking and expecting of you, and how you can connect with them in ways that help them get what they want. The end result is more patients authorizing more dentistry sooner!

4) Fostering referrals

It stands to reason that if you manage expectations and give patients what they want, they will be happy and continue to come to your practice. Far too often, we don’t ask our best, most satisfied patients for referrals. Do you and your team know the art of asking for referrals in a genuine way? Do you have a referral program that encourages people to voluntarily share their experience in direct and viral ways? Enlist the help of a professional to AMP UP this highly overlooked goldmine.

5) Marketing

For you old-school guys and gals, WAKE UP!  It’s 2013 and if you aren’t getting your business out into the community, you will be left behind. For those of you who have marketing plans in place, now is the time to re-assess their effectiveness.  Keep these three essential elements in mind as you craft your campaigns:

Reach – who you are targeting

Frequency  –  how often you are sending messages out

Top of the Mind Awareness/Familiarity  –  being in the consumer’s mind when they are in the market or have a need

I encourage you to consider more non-traditional means of promoting your practice with a heavy emphasis on education and good-will marketing. Think creatively and out of the box. Don’t rely on a team member to try to implement your marketing when they “have time”. Instead, hire someone who can focus on it.

I predict that if you tackle all five of these goals this year, your practice will SOAR. I would love to help you with each of these areas to make 2013 your greatest year ever and be poised for success for years to come.

“Confirmation” Calls and Cancellations

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I’ve been thinking about some of the systems many dental practices create and considering the high cost of these mostly remedial efforts. We believe that in many cases, the systems we create in our practices are designed to fix problems we created ourselves! If this hypothesis is true for you, you are likely paying huge costs to address situations which might have been avoided in the first place.

The confirmation call is a classic example of this syndrome. When we institutionalize the confirmation call, we create a very expensive remedial system. In many cases, the  confirmation call is like the sign on a blue highway:

LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL

First, let’s examine the word “confirmation”. I wonder how many patients think about an appointment as “tentative” or “penciled in” until it is “confirmed” by a phone call a day or two in advance?  If you, indeed, consider the appointment confirmed when made, any call after that is simply a reminder. When you call a patient to “confirm their appointment” on a particular date and time, it equates to giving them the option NOT to come because it implies the appointment was tentative. I wonder whether, upon receiving such a call, a patient might quickly assess her schedule and bank account balance to determine whether she still finds it convenient and affordable to come for her appointment?

So why do you make confirmation calls? My clients tell me it is primarily to insure that patients remember to come for their appointments because open time on the schedule is costly and frustrating. If that’s the case, it seems like the best place to address this issue is at the time the appointment is made and insure you do everything to identify your expectations and ask your patients to honor their agreements with you.

When you make an appointment with (not for) a patient, you have negotiated a contract which must include agreement on the following issues:

1.The procedure to be performed
2.An understanding of why the procedure was recommended and why the patient has asked you to perform it
3.The fee for the procedure and how you and the patient have agreed the fee will be paid
4.The date and time as well as approximate duration of each of the appointments in the sequence
5.That these arrangements are confirmed at the time they are made – you agree to be on time and fully prepared to deliver on your promise and simultaneously the patient agrees to show up on time and fully prepared to deliver on his promise.

When the appointment-making process has been done well, confirmations become unnecessary and far fewer appointments will be changed or canceled for reasons that have to do with unexpressed expectations you have from one another.

So, what is the true cost of confirmations? Certainly more than the high cost of administrative time and energy to make phone calls and handle changes. The cost is in underdeveloped and unclear relationships. These relationships tend to be as unclear about what concerns or problems the patient is asking you to solve, how the practice recommends solving them, and the costs you both will pay to get there.

I hear some of you thinking; “But what if they are forgetful or WANT a reminder?”

Certainly some patients may request a reminder because their lives are hectic and their organizational skills are not great. But only those who specifically request this reminder should be called. Those patients who have control of their lives and keep a personal appointment calendar don’t need a reminder.  So, how will you know the difference and how will you change what you are currently doing? You ask.

Let’s examine this a step further.

We’re not suggesting that you drop “reminder” calls if your patients have been trained by you to expect them. You must honor all agreements, implied or explicit. On the other hand, If you choose to make a shift to eliminate the burden and volume of “reminder” calls, you must let every patient know that there will be a change in the way you handle them in the future.  There must be a deliberate discussion about what will be different and why you are making the change. Then you must come to an agreement or, in a few cases, agree to honor their special request to handle their situation differently.

You can begin saying something as simple as,

“Rene, I know you have become accustomed to our calling (the evening, two days…whatever) before your appointment, but since we consider this appointment confirmed when made, I’m wondering if there’s any reason you have for wanting us to call and bother you with a reminder. You can be assured that we will be prepared to see you at this time.”

You could go one step further;

“Rene, you are probably used to getting a card in the mail and a reminder call several days before your next hygiene appointment. Well…”

“… we’ve found that sometimes we don’t connect with our patients and then they aren’t sure whether they still have an appointment…”
or
“…we have found that making the calls requires a full time person and we simply don’t want to have to raise our fees when it’s not necessary…”
or
“…we have found that a lot of our patients don’t want to be bothered with a reminder call that interrupts their day…”

“…so, we have chosen to handle our confirmed appointments a little differently in the future. Unless there is some reason why you would need a reminder (email/text/call), I won’t bother you with one. I want to assure you that we are completely committed to this time and we will be prepared and ready for you when you arrive. Will that work for you?”

That doesn’t mean that the tentative or reluctant patient will keep an appointment just because you’ve delivered that message, however. You must come to know your patients more thoroughly and understand all of their expectations, fears, preferences, wants and concerns. Only then will we be able to make appropriate appointments.

Next, how to handle the patient who calls to cancel their appointment…

Dental Speed Dating: The Four DOs and DON’Ts of New Patient Calls

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Your first point of contact with a new patient is likely to be by phone. Those few minutes are the most valuable commodity you have to attract someone to your practice and establish a new relationship. Think of it a dentistry’s form of speed dating. If you handle the call appropriately, you can lay the foundation for a meaningful relationship. While people who triage these crucial calls understand this, they often struggle with how to handle them properly.  At some point in the call, things go south and the potential is lost. This has become more obvious lately since I have been helping a number of practices hone their phone skills.  With the assistance of recorded inbound calling, we have had the advantage of listening to some of these calls, analyzing what went well and where the team could improve. It is a valuable coaching tool that I encourage every practice to consider. (Personal Note to Staff: this tool is not designed to “spy” on you – it should be used to help you become better at what you already do.)

Let’s deconstruct the initial phone call and I will introduce you to some ideas that will help you become more successful with those patients looking for a new dental home.

First, it’s important to remember that every call has money attached to it.  People usually find your practice because of some kind of marketing. Be it from a billboard, web site, search engine, the newspaper, a patient referral or some other advertising source, the dentist has invested money in attracting these new patients. Whatever they saw, heard, or read was enough to encourage them to pick up the phone and call you. Keep in mind that when someone calls your practice, she is predisposed to liking you. She wants you to be the right place and she is hoping that you can help her with whatever the reason was that she called. If she has called the right place and you do the right thing, she will easily become your patient. If the call ends without an appointment, the practice has lost money.

There are four things you will want to focus on during each call.

1. Thank them for choosing to call your practice
I’m not talking about your standard salutation; “Thank you for calling Smile Valley, this is Jennie, how may I help you?” That is not a true “Thank you” – it is merely the way in which you choose to identify the practice. I’m talking about the point at which the caller has had an opportunity to share why they called and you respond to that initial information. This may seem obvious but I rarely hear a genuine “thank you” at this stage in the call.  Just remember that they have a choice of who they call and you were that choice. Let them know how much you appreciate it. Believe me, this is rare.

2. Be intentional
Avoid being mediocre or ordinary by devoting 100% of your focus and attention on the caller. When the phone rings and you are available to focus on the call, pick up a pen when you pick up the phone. Listen intently. Take notes verbatim (to transfer to their record later). Find out the caller’s name and address him by his name.  Acknowledge and empathize if you hear emotion (anxiety, frustration, pain, concern). This extra effort quickly becomes obvious to the caller and he will recognize your commitment and desire to help.

3. Find out WHY they are calling now
Why would someone call a dental practice in the first place? When people are well cared-for and everything is fine, they will not have a reason to call or make an appointment to see you. Something happens to shift someone from not wanting to see a dentist to wanting to see a dentist. What might that be? A problem develops that is compelling enough that they have been motivated to contact a dentist. That problem could be many things and sometimes it is not as obvious as we might think. It is your job to suss that out.

For example, if someone calls with a broken tooth and wants to see the dentist, you may assume that the problem is clear: you immediately consider them an urgency patient because you assume there is pain associated with it. However, that condition could create a variety of other problems as well: it might cause pain, but it might also make chewing difficult, or it may be visible and look bad, or the person might not have any of these problems but has a concern that the rest of the tooth might break or it will begin to be painful.

Let that drive where you take the conversation. This is the foundation of triaging a call so you can best determine if you can provide the service they require and you can find the appropriate time in the schedule to help them.

Speak to the obvious – only that which has been said. For instance, if the caller says “I broke a tooth! I need to see the dentist right away!”,  don’t guess about what is happening.   Instead of responding with “Are you having some discomfort?”, try “It sounds like you are concerned…Let me see if I can help. What’s going on? ”

Let them tell you their story then ask appropriate questions to fill in the blanks. If their issue is not so obvious, ask them to “Tell me what’s going on today” or “Tell me what concerns you have and what you will want the doctor to pay attention to”  instead of “What is your chief dental complaint?”.

4. Find out why they called YOUR practice
How did they choose your practice to call? What do they know about you?  Chances are that whatever they learned about you from advertising or a personal referral will be useful information about what they value. For instance, if the reason is because they work in the same office building, proximity and convenience may be important to them. If they heard from a friend that the dentist was gentle, it is likely that is high on their list of priorities. If they aren’t quite sure about another dentist’s diagnosis and recommendation and they learned you provide second opinions, trust is likely an issue. Ask them to clarify or confirm what you have heard. For example, “It sounds like location and convenience is important to you, Hank. Is that the case? Aside from that, are there other things of importance that you would want us to know?”.

What you must NOT do:

1.Don’t make the patient jump through hoops.
Try your best to make it as easy as possible for the caller. Convey to the patient how you can help instead of telling them about the obstacles they must overcome to become your patient.
For example, if you don’t have an appointment on a certain time or date, you might phrase your response by saying “I CAN find you something comparable on a different day – how does Tuesday sound?”

2. Don’t use negative phrases or words. Steer clear of “You have to…” “You need to…” or “Our policy is…” kind of statements. Instead of “No, we don’t take that insurance”, you might say, “Let me tell you what we CAN do for you”.

3. Don’t answer the phone if you are not prepared to devote your full attention. I know. Many dentists get annoyed when they hear the phone ring more than two times but it is sometimes better to go to a carefully-crafted voicemail message than being answered by someone whose focus is on something else. If you would like some suggestions on effective voicemail triage and messages, contact me and request our white paper; VOICEMAIL GUIDELINES

4. Don’t put the caller on hold for long periods of time. While your “voice on hold” recording may be very compelling, no one wants to be on hold for more than 30 seconds. Simply offer to call them back in a timely manner.

There is an art to establishing a relationship with a new caller. It requires your full attention, a curious nature, and a helping spirit. If you devote yourself to taking these steps, you will naturally experience a higher rate of success with new callers. You will also discover that you are more aware of the patient’s needs and more prepared to help address their problems when you meet them for the first time.