The phone rings and you hear the front desk pick up. Although you're focused on analyzing x-rays, you can't help but listen in. It's obviously a potential patient on the call. Unfortunately, the phone quickly hangs up without a new patient consultation scheduled. You know your team has a great heart, but you can't help but wonder what happened. Are they equipped to respond to the questions potential patients ask? What's the solution? Let's explore the 6 questions every potential patient asks and how to be prepared:
Obviously, you want to have the right kind of person answering phones. Typically, this is someone upbeat and pleasant who enjoys people. New patient phone calls are NEVER an interruption! This attitude will really help when wanting to convert potential new patients into official new patients. Also, don't forget to smile! When people smile on the phone this helps the person on the other end have a positive experience. Lastly, Keep in mind that your team’s phone answering technique should be short and to the point. This gives the caller the impression that you are busy, yet professional.
99 out of 100 people will tell you they hate using scripts. They just feel so...scripted! If you can help your team to emotionally get past this, the script can become a powerful tool for your office. It can ensure that you're all consistent in your message and terminology. The important thing is to train your front desk receptionist to think on her feet and not just be a robot who repeats a script. Scripts are meant to be internalized, not memorized! So instead, have certain milestones that she should always hit with a potential new patient. If this is consistent, then it's less likely to see the someone drop the ball. You can grab some sample scripts by clicking here.
Knowing these questions (and having a prepared response) will help you and your team convert potential patients into new patients. When someone calls, the first 5 questions must be addressed before answering number 6 (which deals with price). However, when potential patients call in, they usually ask about your fees FIRST! So, it's important to delay this answer until establishing value. Why would you talk price prior to establishing the problem, how you will solve it, and what makes you unique?
Here are the 6 common questions every potential patient asks:
If you would like to know how to specifically answer these questions in detail, be sure to click here.
Before you start rattling answers off to the caller's questions, the first thing you should do is find out how they happened to call your office in particular. Was it from a referral, from the internet, professional referral, or some other type of marketing? This will help you to be able to analyze and strategize for the future as a team. Second, you'll want to know what prompted them to call. Is there a specific condition they are experiencing or a concern they have? At this point, you should have control of the conversation and can even start to answer questions 1-5 even before they all get asked!
"Mrs. Smith, I'm sorry you're struggling with vertigo, that is definitely a very debilitating and frustrating condition. The good news is Dr. Johnson has had great experience helping people with vertigo for many years. We would love to help you find freedom and healing. When can you come in for an initial consultation to see if and how upper cervical care can work for you?"
Again, you don't have to use the script, but hopefully you get the point. And it answers questions 1-5 on our list! Of course, question 6 will eventually get addressed. Overall, it's all about eliminating barriers for people to come in and talk to you, the doctor. They need your help and most people are going to start care if they would just come in and speak with you. How you and your team handles the potential patient calls can be a big step in the right direction! Oh, and since we're on the topic of new patients, here is a blog that shares how to increase patient referrals.
It's time to take upper cervical...to the world!