1.15.16 Issue #723 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Do You Have Them at "Hello"?
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

If you have seen the movie Jerry Maguire, you will remember the famous line from the character Dorothy Boyd, played by Renee Zellweger, when Tom Cruise who plays Jerry Maguire gives a long winded speech to prove his love for Dorothy and she says, “You had me at Hello”.

It turns out there is some scientific evidence to back this up. People use voices to instantly judge people, researchers say.

“In less than a second, the time it takes to say ‘hello’, we make a snap judgment about someone's personality”, says Jody Kreiman, a UCLA researcher who studies how we perceive voice. “On hearing just a brief utterance, we decide whether to approach the person or to avoid them.” Such rapid appraisals, she says, have a long evolutionary history. It's a brain process found in all mammals.

Independent studies have shown that 55% of telecommunication is vocal tones, 7% is body language, and 38% is words. Words communicate confidence, knowledge and influence. Body language is the smile and posture of the person on the phone. Voice tone conveys volume, speed, accents and pitches, the speaker’s mood, and whether they are listening to the caller. There is an old adage that goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Most people are on their best behavior during exercises demonstrating phone techniques. It is when they are tired, stressed and angry that the real emotion comes through the line to the caller. The worst time for telephone finesse and etiquette is on a busy day when all the lines are ringing at once and only one person is fielding the calls. There’s also the “afternoon slump” at about 3:00 PM when the front office team is tired and needs nutrition. An angry caller can upset the mood of the nicest phone voice. It can take a few moments to get the enthusiasm and smile back into the vocal tone.

Being prepared with scripting for the most common situations that arise in a dental practice can help the telephone team stay on a smooth course of communication. Let’s look at the following recorded telephone exchange:

(Office=O) Thank-you for calling Dr. Smith’s dental office. How can I help you?
(Patient=P) I’d like to make an appointment to see Dr. Smith.
(O) Do you have dental insurance?
(P) No, I have a credit card, but I need to know what it will cost first.
(O) Oh, yes. I just wanted to know if we would be billing insurance. Have you been a patient in the past?
(P) No, I am a new patient and I want my teeth cleaned.
(O) We will have to do a new patient exam first and take any necessary x-rays to determine what type of cleaning you will need.
(P) What do you mean by ‘type of cleaning?’ Do you have a dental hygienist?
(O) Yes we have a great hygienist, but the doctor will want to make sure you don’t have periodontal disease because that is more than a cleaning.
(P) I don’t have periodontal disease and I don’t want x-rays, I just had those 6 months ago. I would like a late appointment, say 4:00 pm on Monday or Thursday. Do you have that soon?
(O) I am sorry, we are booked at 4:00 pm for the next three months but I can put you on my short call list.

This potential new patient was put on a short call list and wasn’t offered an appointment sooner. As a result, the patient went elsewhere.

Here are some observations about this call:
• The front office person did not identify herself.
• The front office person did not ask for the caller’s name
• Asking about dental insurance before getting the patient’s name can be considered insensitive. Some patients think they will be treated differently without dental insurance.
• Offer an appointment time first to give the caller an opportunity to make a choice based on first availability.
• The front office person did not build rapport with the patient or ask how he/she was referred.
• Set up your schedule to accommodate new patients by holding some popular times open. This is good customer service.
• The words did not guide the patient into an appointment and the body language seemed resistant and strained.

Perhaps if the dental office had called the patient back, made a reasonable attempt to accommodate and attempted to sincerely build rapport, the patient would have appointed.

Want to learn how to make the best impressions with finesse and get patients into your schedule? Call McKenzie Management today to schedule a dental business training course that specifically meets your needs.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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