Phone scripts are killing your customer service

The customer interaction has never been more important than in today’s independent dental practice. Where corporate practices are able to cut prices and invest heavily in marketing, the independent practice must turn to more creative and unconventional means to stand out, and make sure that they make the most of every single opportunity to book an appointment with a new patient. And shortcuts, like using phone scripts, are not the answer.

Many practices recognize this, and want to raise their level of service so they can separate themselves from the competition, but are faced with a daunting question: How?

Don’t use scripts to improve phone conversion

Many practices turn to phone scripts in a misguided attempt to cure front office customer interaction woes. I say misguided because this approach is often taught by well-meaning but ill-informed trainers and marketing companies.

Using Dental Office Phone Scripts can lead to confused and unhappy teams

Using Dental Office Phone Scripts can lead to confused and unhappy teams

Practices may even go so far as to map out entire patient phone script interactions in a “tree,” “If the customer says x, respond with y.” And typically, these practices need to use “mystery shoppers” to check up on the staff and ensure their adherence to the scripts.

The problems with this approach are numerous, but they start with dissatisfaction in employees required to use them. And unhappy employees generally don’t perform to their potential.

Also, and more importantly, employees using phone scripts are often less imaginative and empathetic about a patient’s true needs.An article on Forbes.com discusses the dangers of trying to script empathy.

If you want your patients to trust your practice, your front-line employees must be able to foster a friendly connection. To support that connection, a more effective method of training centers around a patient-centric, “service excellence” vision or philosophy.

Service NOT “Selling”

Get rid of the “Get ’em in at any cost” mentality that supports using phone scripts in the dental front office. Instead, work with your staff to commit to a “holistic” definition of service: creating value and memorable experiences for patients. Teach employees to first appreciate a patient’s concerns, fears, worries, and needs, and then take appropriate action. They should be constantly asking themselves, “Who am I serving, and what do my patients truly need?”

This approach, while requiring more investment of creativity, time, and energy than using dental front office phone scripts, pays off. But it won’t work if the practice management – the dentist, practice owner, and office manager – aren’t committed to the initiative.

For practices looking to differentiate themselves, whether because of competition, shrinking margins, or changing patient expectations, this strategy of “service first” can make the difference between a slow decline and success.

Stop Selling Dentistry: Why Scripts & Selling Don't Work Webinar

Learn more in our new webinar, “STOP SELLING DENTISTRY: Why Scripts & “Selling” Don’t Work” where we examine the role of ineffective and damaging sales techniques, and how to use a “service-based” approach to working with your patients that makes them feel valued and cared-for. This approach turns a prospective new patient into one that will show up for their appointment, accept treatment, refer friends and family, and stick with you for years.

 

Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA

Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy. He has authored the dental practice game-changer book “Dental Practice Excellence” and co-wrote a bestselling book with Brian Tracy. Alex has shared the stage with Michael Gerber (the author of “The E–Myth Revisited”), and lectures nationally and internationally to prestigious dental organizations.

He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies from $1 million to $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA

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