10 Steps to Making the Most of Every New Patient Call

  1. Answer on three rings or less. This simple step shows that the practice puts the caller first and is efficient with time.
  2. Wow with your language. Start with, “Good morning, [practice name], this is Stacy. May I please have your first name?” This will allow you to call the patient by name throughout the rest of the conversation. This goes a long way in establishing trust and eventually a long-term relationship. From there, use “transformational vocabulary,” as Fortune Management calls it. Rather than “good,” say “terrific.” Instead of “ok,” use “awesome.” Nix “no problem” for “it’s my extreme pleasure.”
  3. Record calls. Set up marketing tactics like online advertising, direct mail and the practice website to each have a unique tracked number that records calls. This will allow the dental team to review calls and continue to train and refine toward best practices.
  4. Ask the right questions. Name, email and referral source are the basics. Take it further by asking, “How can we delight you?” or “What’s most important to you in finding the right dental practice?” This will help you tailor the experience to that particular patient’s needs.
  5. Collect the patient’s email address. This is an oft-forgotten yet critical step in the patient call. By making record of the email address, you ensure that the practice can stay in touch with the patient in a meaningful way, regardless of whether they accept treatment right off the bat. Many times, patients need to be nurtured into the practice over time, and an email campaign centered on serving the patient (never on selling to the patient) can be just the trick to eventually convert them into a life-long patient who refers more of that kind.
  6. Track the lead. Document on a spreadsheet or in practice software how each patient found the practice. For true clarity, multiply the total number of leads per marketing tactic by the average value of a patient. Over the long-term, you will accumulate data that confirms marketing success and return on investment. This will allow you to invest healthfully into your marketing budget and continue to attract new patients.
  7. Thank the lead source. If the patient says that he or she was referred, then send a handwritten thank you card to the patient or doctor who made the referral. This small acknowledgement helps ensure that the well of referrals coming from that source will continue to be plentiful.
  8. Follow up. Didn’t get the appointment right away? It’s perfectly acceptable to call again or even email openings for the week to continue to try to get the patient scheduled. In the marketing world, we call these “touches.” Touch the patient with at least one follow-up call and two emails to be sure to get the appointment set.
  9. Make the new patient intake process insatiable. Make it impossible for the patient to say no to joining the practice. Share your unique message – the number one thing that your happiest, best patients love most about the practice. This is not a clinical or technological attribute, it’s something deeper. It’s your big why. Survey patients to uncover this insatiable trait that only your practice possesses.
  10. Thank the new patient. Again, the handwritten card goes a long way in making the practice not just memorable but even remarkable.

This blog post was inspired by an email sent to Big Buzz by PostcardMania.