How your dental office handles phone calls could be the first and last impression made on a potential patient. According to the American Dental Association, the average annual expenditure of a patient who visits her general dentist is $514. For those who visit a specialist, the expenditure is $1,755 in a year. That potential revenue could be lost within 60 seconds if your staff’s phone skills aren’t up to par.
One of your best defenses to ensuring your patients are comfortable, keep their appointments, and return for regular checkups is proper phone etiquette. Unfortunately, what happens in most dental practices is a front office staff that would much rather be communicating with patients is stuck on hold with insurance companies. As your dental staff is passed from insurance rep to insurance rep and back on hold again, they’re hastily trying to answer patient phone calls, schedule appointments, and answer questions. Your dental office is losing patients at the cost of insurance hold music.
How Important Is Proper Phone Etiquette?
Marketing research reveals nearly half of the new patients calling your office may be lost due to poor call handling. The first impression your potential patients receive of your dental team should not be a quick hello before being placed on hold.
There are two pieces of good news when it comes to your dental office phone practices. Your front office staff is not to blame. Secondly, all the time spent on hold and going back and forth with the insurance companies can be avoided.
How To Improve Dental Office Phone Etiquette?
When your office outsources dental insurance billing, your staff has more time to connect with patients, alleviate their worries, and ensure appointments are being kept. Consider the time your staff would have if not for resubmitting claims, waiting on hold, or tracking down dental records for an insurance representative. Dental insurance outsourcing eliminates those responsibilities from your team, allowing them to:
- Confirm appointments
- Communicate with patients in the waiting area
- Spend time explaining services to prospective patients
- Welcoming new patients and walking them through the appointment process
- Following up with recent patients to ensure their visit went well and they’re healing comfortably
With a fully-insured dental insurance claims and billing team, your dental practice can grow, increase revenue, and save on overhead costs.
Once you’ve hired a dental insurance outsourcing company, it’s time to train your staff on how to build clientele through proper phone etiquette.
- Set an expectation of when the phone will be answered (second or third ring).
- Create a uniform greeting for anyone who answers the phone. Always announce yourself.
- Do not place the caller on hold unless absolutely necessary.
- Immediately gather the caller’s contact information in case the call disconnects.
- Have a uniform conclusion to each call (Can I help you in any other way today? Do you have any questions before I let you go?)
When your staff is less concerned with insurance codes and claims, they can focus on the core of your business, the patients. Request your free consultation with Better Practice Solutions today to see how quickly you can improve your cash flow.