Is Your Front Office Keeping New Patients Away?


Picture this: your dental website is pristine – designed to move visitors through the perfect sales funnel, your online advertising is perfect and every bid maximizes your reach, and your social media is perfectly managed. Everything is great, except your receptionist in your front office stinks at their job.

No matter how well your marketing tools are perfected, it’s absolutely critical that your front office match the personality presented on your website. If you’re trying to tell visitors that your practice is the best choice because you care about your patients, then make sure every single person in your office is trained to delight each person they come in contact with.

This starts with your receptionist. He or she is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your reputation everything you want it to be. If a person calls you dental office only to have a poor initial experience with your receptionist, then it’s highly unlikely that they will convert to a patient or recommend you to others. In fact, it’s highly likely that they will go out of their way to tell other people about their interaction with your crabby receptionist.

Here is what you can do to train your receptionist to act as a positive representative of your practice:

  1. Make sure people can hear them smile
    Your receptionist should be cheerful, friendly, and welcoming when answering the phone. Make sure whoever is calling on the other end of the phone can picture your receptionist smiling and feel the warmth. They should reflect what your dentist website projects.People can tell within seconds of calling whether the person on the other end of the phone is truly happy to be talking to them. Create a happy culture in your office that can be felt over the telephone, as well as through other communication means and watch your practice blossom.
  2. Avoid answering machinesanswering machineEnsure your practice is set up so that callers will always have a person to talk to. No one wants to leave a message because it leaves them asking whether they will even get a callback.When a prospective patient calls your practice, they are in an ideal position to be converted into patients. You can do this by having a real person offer to make an appointment, discuss insurance questions with them, and ask any questions they might have.
  3. Be helpful
    No one wants to call a dental office only to hang up with more questions than answers. Your receptionist should be trained to have answers to the most common questions and be ready to get answers to questions they might not immediately have an answer to.Additionally, receptionists should be empowered to be helpful to those who contact your office. Ensure they understand and are equipped to make the call if need be to delight a potential patient who is either calling, emailing, or visiting in person.You can empower your receptionist to serve patients by allowing them to offer various remedies to complaints they might get, act as a salesperson for your practice, and take part in marketing brainstorming meetings. After all, they over anyone else will be able to tell you if traffic both in the office and on the phone has picked up since a campaign has launched. Learn more about dental marketing in this article.
  4. Empower them to close sales
    Because your receptionist is your first line of defense, they should also be trained in sales. Teach them and empower them to attempt to sell to those on the other end of the phone and to close sales for those who are calling and inquiring about a specific service.Part of this means your receptionist will have to be ready to identify needs of patients and respond accordingly. She or he will also need to be aware of all marketing offers and initiatives currently in effect.While your receptionist might be busy managing your practice, be sure they’re up to speed on things like dental SEO, PPC, and other internet marketing terms. They should understand the efforts that are being made to market so that they can play a role in providing feedback on both campaign materials and overall efficacy. Read more about SEO for your dental practice in this blog post.
  5. Be human
    human connection
    It’s important to “be human” when interacting with patients so they don’t feel like you’re a robot.

    While technology is great and we’re huge fans of allowing patients to schedule appointments online and send messages through secure HIPAA compliant email (read about HIPAA compliant emails in this blog post), real people are still the number one way to connect with other people. No one wants to feel like they’re being forced to jump through hoops to schedule an appointment, cancel an appointment, or just get answers to questions. Make sure humanity is a priority for everyone in your office and you’ll be golden when it comes to delighting anyone who comes in contact with your staff.

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