The following blog post was written by Dr. James R. Fedich, DC, who has been practicing in Northern New Jersey for 12 years collects over $1 million a year. He is a speaker, consultant, and the author of multiple books, including “Secrets of a Million Dollar Practice.” For more information on Dr. Fedich or his online drugstore canada free shipping book, please visit www.milliondollarclinic.com. The book is also available on Amazon. To speak with Dr. Fedich, email him directly at email@example.com.
The truth about your telephones is that they are costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenues each month. Why? Just think about what you are spending every day, week, month on marketing. In our clinic alone, we spend over $100,000 per year just in external marketing. If it’s not the marketing of your services directly to consumers, it’s all the stuff you do internally as well— the office décor, the staff, the events, etc. It’s all marketing, and added together it costs much more than you think.
So why am I saying your telephones are hurting you so badly in the wallet? Because your staff members are fumbling calls each and every day, and wasting precious revenue generating opportunities as a result.
Even in this modern age of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc., an overwhelming majority of your appointments are made via the plain old telephone. We have tried online booking and found it to be more work than it’s worth. In fact, it messed up the schedule more than it helped streamline it!
Even if a few people book online, the majority will stall call your office. Therefore, if you aren’t training staff members regularly on how to handle the phones, you’re losing out on securing new patients or clients (and helping your competitors grow in the process!).
So here’s 10 phone training tips we preach every day in our offices that will help you stop the revenue leakage immediately:
1. Smile, always. Your smile comes through your telephone wires and has a dramatic impact on your callers and their first impression of your business or practice.
2. Use a consistent phone greeting. Here is our phone greeting: “Village Family Clinic, this is Jess, how may I help you?” This is a common greeting, and one that is recommended by many experts we’ve spoken with.
3. New clients or patients are your top priority. Drop whatever you are doing that might distract you on the new client or patient call, and focus on getting them in the door at all costs.
4. Find out if they are new without offending them. If you aren’t sure whether the caller is a new or existing client/patient, don’t risk irritating them by asking if they are new. Instead, go with something like this: “When was the last time you saw the doctor (or visited our offices)?”
5. Anticipate lots of questions. Your new clients or patients will ask lots of questions. Remember, you don’t have to answer them all. In fact, many questions are better left for answering in person at your offices, which is why they need to come in and see you right away (which also meets your #1 goal of getting them in the door).
6. Use closed-ended questions (2 choices). Guide your callers through the decision making process by giving them two choices instead of asking open-ended questions. For example, “Which would you prefer Mr. Jones, today or tomorrow,?” “Which time slot works best for you, 1pm or 3pm?”
7. Get the details up front, and confirm everything. Capture the prospect’s name and phone number right up front so that you can contact them back should something end the call prematurely. Once the appointment is secured, confirm the date and time so no misunderstandings occur. Also confirm the driving directions— never assume callers know how to get to your offices, double check to make sure they know exactly where you’re located.
8. Pricing and/or insurance coverage questions are best answered in person via the initial consult. Remember that price is only an issue in the absence of value. So what better way to show value than to sit face to face with your prospect so they can truly visualize how amazing your services are going to be once they get started.
9. Avoid phone coverage lapses during the day. Stagger lunch breaks, make sure everyone in the office can cover the phones in a pinch, etc. In other words, do what you have to do to avoid the dreaded voicemail box, which only leads to hangups and lost revenues across the board.
10. Cover your phones at nights and on weekends with live agents (not voicemail). We answer calls ourselves M-F from 8am to 7pm; however, we use YesTrak (www.YesTrak.com) on nights and weekends. Their agents can use custom scripts, book appointments on your calendar, send emails and text messages after each call, and so much more. I have incredible peace of mind in knowing we are capturing every single opportunity that comes our way, no matter when our callers decide to contact us.
So in summary: 1) Make sure your staff is well-trained and saying the right things, 2) Make sure your #1 goal as a business is to get new prospects in the door, and 3) Cover your phones with live agents, always! These are just some basic tips— make sure to seek out as much information as possible on the topic as a few extra well-executed phone calls each month could be the difference between running a highly profitable business or practice and one that is barely making ends meet.