4.7.17 Issue #787 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Is Your Customer Service Patient-Friendly?
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

Front Office Training Course #FO466

“Dr. Diesel” (names have been changed) wanted some specific training in customer service for his new Business Coordinator, Gloria. Gloria had a background working in retail before dental practices and she was friendly, but Dr. Diesel wasn’t seeing enough effort being put towards connecting with patients and scheduling appointments.

Dr. Diesel had written down a few excerpts from conversations that he overheard Gloria having on the phone and at the desk. He was deeply concerned that patients were not being encouraged to appoint, and perhaps they were receiving the message that the practice was too busy for them.

Some remarks overheard:

1. “No I can’t promise that we can take care of your toothache today but Dr. Diesel will look at it and give you a treatment plan.”
2. “No, we don’t take that insurance. It’s not on our list of contracted insurance companies.”
3. “We can’t get your crown made in time for your vacation, we need at least two weeks at the lab.”

During the training session with Gloria, we discussed the difference between customer service at a retail business versus customer service in a dental practice. Even though dentistry involves the purchase of services and treatment products, the approach to patients versus customers must be understood for the more sensitive and intimate nature that it is.

Dental customer service is more than waiting on the patient. It includes trying your best to make sure the customer/patient is satisfied with their encounter. Addressing their chief concern(s) about what made them call for an appointment is critical to making them a loyal patient. For remark #1 above, the scripted response would be:

1. “We will be happy to take care of your toothache today. Dr. Diesel will examine the area and take necessary digital radiographs to determine the location and cause of your toothache. We will do what we can to address the pain so you will feel comfortable again.”

Dental customer service is listening to customers and helping to resolve their issues, so they remain happy and loyal. For remark #2 above, the scripted response would be:

2. “Yes, we accept all PPO types of dental policies. What I can do for you after we schedule an appointment is call your insurance company and get the information to determine what your coverage is for this office. This is routine and is called insurance verification. I will then call you with the information.”

Dental customer service is being friendly and helpful to customers by doing your best to solve their dental concerns. For remark #3 above, the proper response would be:

3. “Yes, I think it may be possible to get your crown back from the lab before you leave for vacation. I will need to call our lab technician to see if he can complete the crown in time for us to seat it comfortably for you. Do you mind waiting a few minutes while I phone him?”

Strong customer service requires you to be knowledgeable about your products and services so you are not constantly asking other team members questions. Great customer service requires a friendly, positive, problem solving attitude.

When you are interacting with patients, avoid using the word “no.” This word shuts the door on continuing communication because it is often all the patient hears and remembers. While you are dispensing information, try to learn about the patient by asking questions such as “How did you hear about the practice? Are you new to the neighborhood?” etc.

Every interaction with patients or potential patients, whether on the phone or in person, is an opportunity to exceed expectations. The process must begin as soon as possible. Before new patients present to the office, front desk team members should: 

Mail or email practice forms before the first appointment
If mailing, include the practice brochure, directions to the office, and any parking instructions etc.
Be prepared to answer questions regarding dental insurance, fees, financing options, and more. 

Want to learn more about building your practice with more new patients and great customer service? Call McKenzie Management today for a customized Business Training Course that will address the concerns you have for your practice growth and success.

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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