Does Everyone Need Phone Training?

Dental All-Stars: Cross-train your team for phone skills and consistent patient experience. Heather Nottingham’s insights for success.

Resources:

About Heather Nottingham

Heather is the VP of Training & Phone Skills Instructor at All-Star Dental Academy. She is a former retail sales trainer and manager for Bloomingdale’s, Kate Spade, and Theory, and a top new patient coordinator for a multi-million-dollar high-end dental practice where she personally increased revenue by over a million dollars in less than 18 months. She has over 24 years worth of customer service, training, and phone experience, and designed the All-Star Dental Academy Phone Success Course as well as the GREAT Call® Process.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.

00:00

This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Hey everybody, Heather Nottingham here, VP of Training and co-founder of All-Star Dental Academy. And today I wanted to talk about the topic of does everybody in the office need to be trained on phones or why should everybody in the office be trained on phones? And this is a common thing that comes up quite often.

00:29

When I talk to dentists and they say, we’re doing the training program or we’re doing training in general, why would my clinical team need to be trained on the phones if they don’t answer the phones? So the first thing that I wanna talk about is the concept of cross training for the whole team. So obviously maybe you’ve heard of cross training, the Fortune 500 companies and the big companies do cross training. My background coming previously from

00:56

working in Bloomingdale’s and Theory and Kate Spade and big retail companies like that, all we talk about is cross-training. So you learn all the different various positions or various roles so that if you need to help fill in somewhere else, you can. So how is cross-training beneficial for you and for your practice? So an example, so let’s say you’re short staffed or really busy at the front office. Your phones are ringing off the hook and do you just let it go to voicemail?

01:26

I think I wrote a funny blog or podcast or something a long time ago where we said, don’t just let it go to voicemail. So it was my frozen thing that I did. So you don’t want it to go to voicemail. And at some point or another, your clinical team is going to potentially or most likely need to help you out answering the phones.

01:49

A good example is my father-in-law’s practice when one of the hygienists answered the phone and it was not a great interaction. So, you know, they said, “‘Oh, well, it was just that one time. “‘It’s not a big deal. “‘She just picked up that one time to help out, “‘but that one time resulted in a bad review,’ or, “‘That one time resulted in a bad first impression,’ “‘and it only takes one bad first impression “‘to affect the entire practice.'”

02:17

right, like one bad negative review on Google, it’s not good. So that’s one thing to keep in mind is that everybody should be cross-trained for that reason just because you never know when people need to help out. So if the clinical team or non-admin team member answers the phone and does a poor job, it creates a negative inconsistent impression in your practice. And this, like I said before, can lead to bad reviews or to patients not scheduling appointments.

02:44

In another video, I’m gonna touch on consistency amongst the entire team and how important that is to your overall patient experience. But for now, let’s just say it makes a big difference. And so let’s take a minute to think about how important the first impression is for your practice. It literally sets the tone for the entire interaction with the patient. So if you do a good job building rapport and trust,

03:12

the patient is more likely to do treatment with you, show up for appointments, stay a lifelong patient of the practice. And this would be an ideal skill for everyone in the practice to know how to do. So I don’t want you to think of it in terms of phone skills or phone verbiage. The team is not just learning phone skills, but more everybody’s learning communication skills, and that’s important.

03:38

you know that the same questions that the patients ask over the phone, they’re going to also ask when they come into the office, when they’re sitting in the chair. And so if I’m the one answering the phone and I do a great job making a first impression, they have this wow experience with me, but then they come into the office and they ask the same questions, which aren’t phone questions, they’re just communication questions in the office.

04:04

and they don’t get a consistent or good response, it’s gonna mess up the entire patient experience. So we wanna think about that. And let’s take your hygienist as another example. Even though the hygienist might not answer the phones, they’re oftentimes asked to schedule follow-up appointments for re-cares, right? If they don’t have the proper verbiage, the patients are less likely gonna make an appointment and certainly they’re not gonna show up for their next appointment.

04:32

If we cannot build the proper rapport, understand the patient’s needs, we can’t overcome any objections, we can’t really share the value of your practice, and you’re not gonna succeed no matter if it’s over the phone or in person. So everybody needs to be trained on not just, let’s not call it phone skills, but more verbiage and communication skills. So basically to sum it all up for you all, it’s super important to have everyone in the practice trained on phones.

05:02

customer service and communication skills so that there is a consistent experience for everybody. I wanna thank everybody so much for tuning in. Again, my name is Heather Nottingham. And if you enjoyed this video, click the like button below, subscribe, and follow us for more helpful tips for your practice. And until next time, go out there and be an All-Star.

05:27

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at allstardentalacademy.com.

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