Your front office team members are the first people patients interact with, on the phone or when they come to your office. If patients love them, you’ll make a great first impression and be well on your way to building loyalty with your patients. That’s because patients don’t judge your practice based on how you perform dentistry. They expect you to be good with teeth. Patients judge your practice based on their experience coming in.
Patient experience has everything to do with the customer service your front office team members provides. This is not only important for loyalty, either. Customer service could even help you raise your rates or break free from PPOs. In fact, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service while 78% of consumers have bailed on a sales transaction because they received poor customer service.
That’s why many online practice reviews have nothing to do with dentistry. They are usually about how patients were greeted and treated, how practices handled their appointments when they called last minute, or other “experience” issues that made them feel important or unimportant. These things all begin with your front office team members. Here are three things your front office team members can do to WOW every patient who calls or comes in.
Follow Basic Customer Service Rules
When a patient first arrives, a front office team member should stand up and greet the patient. They need to welcome them to (or back to) the office and make them feel welcome with a smile and a personal introduction.
While they are waiting in the lobby, your front office team members should offer them refreshments like coffee, tea, or water, show or remind them where the restroom is if they need it, and make sure they don’t wait an excessive amount of time. If things are running behind schedule call them before they arrive so they can leave their house or work later or reschedule. If things run behind while they are in the office, let them know as soon as possible.
When patients are on the phone or in your office, your front office team members must make serving them their priority. Don’t make other office work the priority. If they have to make a call to an insurance company, that can wait a few minutes until the patient is taken care of. It’s more important that they connect with your patients and make them feel welcome and important.
Use the Right Words When Discussing Treatment
Confidence and delivery when talking with patients can go a long way to make patients feel good about being your patient. Front office team members should avoid saying “maybe” or “um” when a patient is asking them whether or not they need treatment. They need to sound confident.
Also, make sure front office team members don’t talk about services or service alternatives being “cheap” or “cheaper.” A better word to use is “affordable.” That helps avoid the perception of being the cheapest alternative.
In a similar sense, if a procedure is expensive, ensure that your front office team members aren’t talking about its “cost” when a patient asks about the price.
It’s much better if they talk about the “value” that the patient will get from the procedure. With high-cost procedures, they can focus on monthly payment ranges than total cost, too. So, first focus conversations on outcomes patients will get from procedures first so the patient has more context for what they will receive. With dental implants, for example, you can talk about smiling confidently again, being able to chew again, or avoiding their teeth becoming crowded. When talking about price, it’s much better to talk about the price being as low as $99 a month instead of $2,500, for example.
Avoid Using Scripts
While bullet points or lists of answers to frequently asked questions are certainly helpful for maintaining consistency in answers, scripting full conversations can make patients feel unimportant.
People know when your front office team member is using a script. If a patient asks a question that makes things go off-script, you run the risk of having your front office team member stuttering because they don’t know what to say or trying to lead a conversation back to a script.
This can be incredibly frustrating for patients. If they believe your front office team members are either reading scripts or not listening to their specific issue, they are highly unlikely to stay with your practice.
Do your front office team members help grow your practice?
There’s no denying that customer service makes a difference when building relationships with patients. These three strategies can help make an immediate positive impact on the direction of your practice. How do your front office team members contribute to your practice growth?
For more strategies about building a WOW front office team, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today where you and your team can get coaching from leading experts on all aspects of growing a WOW dental practice.
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