Dental Marketing Tips for Answering the Phone

Why are phone calls important for your dental practice? Have you ever had a nice hotel stay ruined by a rude receptionist? You could almost feel his eyes rolling through the phone at your request for an extra towel. Similarly, the phone call sets the tone for your dental practice. When a patient calls your […]

Why are phone calls important for your dental practice?

Have you ever had a nice hotel stay ruined by a rude receptionist? You could almost feel his eyes rolling through the phone at your request for an extra towel. Similarly, the phone call sets the tone for your dental practice. When a patient calls your office inquiring about your services, they get their first impression of your practice from the person that answers the phone. Will it be a good or bad one? We’d go so far as to say that the phone call is key to a successful dental business. Following the best dental marketing tips can bring in all the traffic from your target audience that you want, but a tactful phone call converts them into patients. Therefore, an effective phone call is one in which the front desk clerk makes the patient feel valued, answers their questions, and schedules an appointment. 

In this post, you’ll find everything you need to turn those “I’ll call you backs” into “Yes, I think I want to schedule an appointment!” including:

  • 5 simple yet insanely useful phone scripts for the front desk person
  • What to say to make patients feel appreciated on a phone call
  • The best way to respond when a patient inquires about a service
  • How to book more appointments over the phone

Dental Marketing Tips to Create a Great First Impression on the Phone

Show empathy. 

First, if a patient mentions feeling pain in their front teeth when they eat cold food or the throbbing dull ache in their wisdom tooth, show empathy. This is huge. For example, you can reply, “I’m so sorry to hear that, but I’m glad you’ve found us! We are going to take care of you and do everything we can to get you fixed up.” This can go a long way in making them feel comfortable and heard.

Make patients feel welcomed and excited to come to the practice. 

Once a patient mentions that they want to schedule an appointment, reply with a smile in your voice and share your excitement to welcome them to the office. We know that it is important to get down to business with details on insurance, their medical history, and other mandatory onboarding information. But a personal touch improves retention.

Stick to the office’s address. 

Literally. Simply give your practice’s precise address on Google, no descriptors necessary. Avoid mentioning that the office is located in a tom thumb shopping center or next to a subway. If they call asking for directions, you can give them some reference points. But don’t mention that it is in a strip mall instead of a dental building. It makes the office sound like a run-down place and paints the wrong mental picture.

Start every call seeking to understand what the patient needs. 

When a potential patient calls, they usually have a specific question they’d like answered. Figure out what the caller needs, and provide them with that. Once you understand them, use that knowledge and opportunity to “talk up” the practice, the doctors, and the team. Above all, make future patients feel excited about getting their teeth fixed with your office.

Dental Marketing Tips to Convert Prospects to Patients On a Phone Call

Avoid giving only yes or no answers. 

Say it with me: a question is an opportunity, not an interruption. Don’t respond to questions about your practice with one-word sentences. After all, you want to show value and the best way to do that is by providing as detailed of a response as possible. Then, move the conversation forward to booking an appointment. The primary goal of every new patient phone call that comes into the practice is to book an appointment. More dental marketing tips here

Create value and desire with scarcity marketing. 

When an unassuming little taco place has a huge line out of the door, we immediately think: “Those must be the best tacos in town. Hands down!” In your own practice, the prospect doesn’t need to know your schedule or what days your office is closed. Book patients at the next available time and they’ll assume your practice is busy, not that you don’t work enough days. This also helps improve appointment retention. When they know appointments are hard to come by, they cancel less. 

Schedule the patient while they are on the phone.

You’re booking an appointment, but the patient doesn’t have their insurance info ready. You can call them back to collect their insurance information and to book the appointment. But why wait? If they’re busy when you try to call them back, you may end up playing phone tag and losing the patient. Instead of losing a patient, book the appointment on the first call. Find a time and book their appointment while you have them on the phone. That creates commitment on their side. If you need to verify insurance and call them back, do so only after you’ve put them on the schedule and they know they have an appointment.

5 Phone Scripts for Responding to Common Patient Questions

Still unsure of what to say? Here are five effective phone scripts that demonstrate some of the dental marketing tips listed above. Remember to make them as unique as possible to you. 

How to Answer Questions About Your Dental Services 

Scenario 1:

Patient: “Do you accept [insurance plan]?”

Instead of:

“No… I’m sorry.”

Say:

“We accept all insurances! And while we are not in-network with [plan], we have a ton of patients with [plan]. Dr. Smith is one of the best dentists around so people choose to come to us regardless of their insurance plan. We are usually booked up, but I have a couple of slots available next week. Do you want to come to meet him?”

Scenario 2: 

Patient: “Do you do IV Sedation?”

Instead of:

“No… I’m sorry.”

Say:

“What type of treatment are you interested in? Are you looking for IV sedation because of dental fear/anxiety?”

[Listen to see if what they are asking for is something you offer].

“Dr. Smith performs [procedure] here very often. They are good at it. We have a lot of patients who come here looking for IV sedation due to fear. Usually, after meeting the doctors and talking through options, most patients feel extremely comfortable with the oral sedation options we offer. Would you like to schedule an appointment?”

How to Book Appointments on the Phone

Scenario 1:

Patient: “I would like to schedule a new patient appointment.”

Instead of:

“Ok, can I get your date of birth, address, insurance information, call back number, etc?”

Say:

“That’s fantastic! Let me be the first to welcome you to our office! You are going to love it here. [Collect their information and schedule the appointment]. Alright, you are all set. Looking forward to meeting you in person here at our office!”

Scenario 2: 

Patient: “When can I see the dentist?”

Instead of:

“When do you want to come in?” [This is too open-ended].

Say:

“I have a couple of appointments available coming up. I have Tuesday at 9 am or Thursday at 3 pm. Which would you prefer?”

OR

“Would you prefer this week or next week? Morning or afternoon? 8:00 am or 10:00 am?”

OR

If there is only one appointment time available in the window they’ve requested, you still give two options. 

 “Would you prefer 8:00 am or would it be better to look at another day?”

Scenario 3:

Patient: “Can I come tomorrow?”

Instead of:

“Dr. Smith only works on Mondays and Tuesdays.”

Say:

“Our office is super busy, the next available appointment is next Tuesday at 2 pm. If that doesn’t work, the following availability will be next Monday at 9 am. Dr. Smith is in high demand so appointments are tight. Which do you prefer?”

Work with a Dental Marketing Company Who Knows Your Whole Practice 

To recap, when it comes to having a successful phone call, it all boils down to being friendly, making a personal connection, and booking an appointment. Excellent phone skills are essential to converting marketing leads into paying patients. Get the entire team onboard with upping their phone etiquette, but especially work with your front desk person to improve this aspect of your dental operations. As a dental marketing agency, we take great pride in handling everything else that goes into attracting and retaining patients, from designing your logo to running your social media accounts. If you want to work with a marketing company that deeply understands your practice and the industry, get in touch with us today.