Does your office have certain phone protocols anyone at the front desk is supposed to follow? If not, you should really consider putting some in place. The initial phone call with a potential patient is key to new patient conversion.
One of the most important aspects of a successful new patient phone call is not letting the patient control the conversation. In other words, don’t let them call in, ask their questions, and hang up without you getting in any significant contributions. One wrong answer to their question—with no attempt to steer the conversation on your part—could easily lead to a quick end to a potentially successful patient relationship.
To turn the conversation in your favor and help ensure that phone calls turn into new patient appointments you should be sure to ask these three essential questions. They’ll give you valuable information about the patient and help you “close the deal” at the end of the call.
- Question 1: May I please ask who I’m speaking with?
Right off the bat you need to get the person’s name. For the most part someone who is new to your office will be calling to gather information about your practice to see if you fit their needs and won’t think to give any information about themselves. But once you get their name you can make the conversation more personal by referring to them with their name (which instantly builds rapport) and have a name to put on file. By knowing their name you gain much more control over the conversation and where it goes.
- Question 2: What’s the Best Number to Reach You at?
A name is great for steering the initial conversation, but on the off chance you don’t end up scheduling an appointment on the first call you need a number to follow up with. That’s why this is a must ask question. We know that some people may not want to give their number so following up the question with reasoning like “in case we get disconnected” or “to let you know about special offers we have at the office” can be a way to make giving away that information a little less daunting. And once you have the number you’re able to maintain a connection with the individual even after the first phone call has ended.
- Question 3: So when would you like to schedule your appointment?
Some people at the front desk wait for the caller to bring up scheduling an appointment and that can lead to losing potential patients. It’s not on the patient to bring the appointment up. They may not know the protocol you have for creating new patient appointments or think if you haven’t mentioned it that your practice doesn’t have any openings. So before you hang up be sure to ask the question. There will be some who still say “no thank you” and go on their merry way. But many will take this opportunity to make an appointment—netting you a new patient!
If you’re already asking all these questions to potential patients your front desk team is ahead of the curve. But if you’re not there’s definitely room for improvement on the phone that could lead to exciting new patient relationships. Just remember to take control of the conversation and ask these three essential new patient call questions.