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.
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.
I’d like to invite you to attend a no-cost online training event, Dental Practice Excellence, where we examine some of the weaknesses in the way dental practices are run, and how to overcome them. And you can always give us a call at 954 323 2220 to talk about how we can specifically help your practice achieve its full potential.