If I call your office right now and ask for a new patient appointment, will the person answering your phone tell me how great you are? Will I hear something like this?

“I am so glad you called! Dr. Smith is awesome and I cannot wait for you to meet her. Everyone just loves Dr. Smith! She loves what she does and I’m always amazed at the fantastic smiles she produces and the positive change her work has on patients, their smiles, their confidence and their lives in general!”

No? Why not?

When I speak to groups of orthodontists I always ask this question and when most admit that those answering the phone don’t sing their praises we discuss possible reasons. Here are the answers I get:

  • Training – the person answering the phone has not been taught to say such things.
  • Implementation/follow up – the person answering the phone has been trained to say this but has slacked off on this duty.
  • Attitude – the person answering the phone knows what to say and believes that they should, but refuses out of laziness.
  • Belief – the person answering the phone does not believe the doctor is the best.
  • Doctor Skill/Chairside manner – the doctor isn’t that good and/or not that likable.[1]

Patients are going to shop around. Patients are going to research the offices and doctors they are considering. Patients are going to take notes when they are on the new patient call and this initial interaction will have a huge impact on which office they choose. Don’t you want to give them a reason to come see YOU and put YOUR office at the top of the list? Do you think it is more important for the potential patient on the other end of the phone to feel good about you and your office or for your employees to collect 1,000,000 data points? If you are aware that the world has changed and that we need to adapt, it may be time to rethink how you and your team handle new patient phone calls!

[1] This is always the last possibility mentioned and, more often than not, I have to suggest it. If this is the case, doctor, work on yourself!

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