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  06.24.05 Issue #172

Sally's Mail Bag

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Dear Sally,

How long do you think is appropriate for our patients to be “on hold“ before one of my team members gets back to them?

Thank you.

Dr. Mississippi

Dear Doctor,

Studies show that after only 17 seconds, callers on hold become annoyed. However, the patient is far more understanding if the business coordinator explains why the patient is being asked to hold and provides the estimated time required. Knowing beforehand how long they can expect to wait reduces the chance of annoyance, particularly among long distance and cellular phone callers. Another option to prevent frustration is to offer the caller the option of either holding or hanging up and having their call returned within a brief, specific time period. However, it is inevitable that patients will be put on hold. Educating the patient is essential in reinforcing the importance of professional dental care as well as informing patients about other services the practice provides. No matter what size your practice, it’s likely that, at least occasionally, patients must be placed on hold. Use this time to educate your patients with specially developed informative messages that enlighten the patient about services you provide. “Messages on Hold” allows you to choose specific messages for your needs such as promoting veneers, or porcelain inlays, or the importance of sealants for young children. You have the flexibility to change your message and it just plugs into your phone system. With silence on hold 60% hang up in less than a minute. Don’t let that happen to your patients. Take the opportunity to enhance your image.

Sally

 


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