Dental Receptionist Training

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Dental Reception Training

It's a sad fact that dental reception training is something most dental practices either never or very seldom invest in. Despite the fact that your dental receptionist is the most important person in your practice for getting new patients and retaining those you have.

We all know how important training is, let's face it, you and your clinical staff have to complete a certain number of CPD hours every year simply to keep your professional status don't you?

There are quite literally thousands of training courses and exercises available for dentists, oral surgeons, hygienists, nurses etc. But what about the lowly receptionist when does she or maybe he ever get any dental reception training?

As I mentioned the fact is hardly ever, in fact most dental receptionists have never had any formal training whatsoever. They are taken on because they usually have a nice personality, they are outgoing and can work on their own, or at least that is what you thought when you employed them.

Unfortunately this isn't enough.

A modern dental receptionist has to multi-task, she or he has to be able to take money politely, to give advice on treatment plans and oral health plans, up-sell your treatment and make your patients feel relaxed and welcome.

All this whilst taking phone calls and trying to attract new patients when they call the practice.

As part of our dental reception training we usually make a secret shopper phone call before training commences and quite frankly we are often shocked when we hear what receptionists say and how we are dealt with on the telephone.

Just think about this. You spend a great deal of time and effort trying to attract new patients to your practice don't you? But if when a new patient calls they are immediately put on hold (this happens all the time). Or the receptionist isn't welcoming and knowledgable about your practice and what you offer, your investment on marketing is totally wasted.

Your receptionist is the first person a new patient will speak to and is the last person your existing patients speak to as they leave. I suspect you've heard the expression "You only have one chance to make a first impression." Well it's absolutely true and your receptionist is your first impression, that is why she or he has to have professional dental reception training, just as you and your clinical staff have to.

Let me give you a quick overview of what our training courses cover and you will then see just what your reception staff have to do every day.

  • Answering calls politely, warmly and professionally
  • Recognising the importance of creating an excellent first impression
  • Making patients feel welcome and at ease
  • Building a rapport with new and regular patients
  • How to deal with taking telephone calls and dealing with patients at the desk at the same time
  • Answering questions with the relevant answers
  • Asking for money
  • Making appropriate appointments
  • Understanding how a practice acceptance policy works
  • Understanding body language
  • Knowing what a WIN/WIN situation is and how to try and get more of them
  • Handling awkward questions and deflecting hostility
  • The FTA process
  • Giving excellent customer service
  • The recall process
  • Handling accounts
  • Up-selling both treatments and Oral Health Plans
  • Explaining and giving advice on treatment plans
  • Understanding the need for role play, team management, stress management and diary management
  • Your targets

So don't you see just how important it is for your receptionist to have proper professional dental reception training regularly.

If you aren't training your reception staff properly, not only are you letting them down, you are also letting your patients and potentially your business down too.

For more information on our dental training courses visit the website at www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or call us on 01767626398 or email us at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

 

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

10 Ways To Get A Patient Referral

I think just about everyone is in agreement that a patient referral is the best way to get new patients, even I as a marketeer would have to agree with that, however you can only get so many new patients by referral only, so I would still recommend a proper marketing strategy. That said if you are going to increase the number of referrals you get, here are a few hints and do's and don'ts.

Most dental practices have no patient referral strategy in place at all, getting patient referrals has to be ingrained into the philosophy of the practice, you should view every single patient you see as someone who is going to recommend your practice and services to someone else.

Obviously to do that you have to offer great dentistry, that goes without saying but simply doing this isn't good enough, because you patients expect you do deliver that anyway. Your services are no different to any other service or product that they are willing to spend their money on, you simply have to deliver quality.

So now we have that part out of the way how can you increase the number of patients who are willing to give you a patient referral?

  1. Strange as it may sound Social Media is becoming more and more important in this area. Quite literally social media is the new "word of mouth" marketing, so if you have an active Facebook and/or Twitter account which has lots of interesting content on it you are likely to increase the number of referrals you get.
  2. The appearance of your practice is incredibly important. If you have a practice that looks shabby, do you really think that your patients are going to refer you to their friends and relatives, I don't think so.
  3. Don't think that only long term patients will refer you, in fact quite the opposite is the case. You are just as likely to get a patient referral from a new patient than you are from someone who has been using you for years.
  4. You don't have to deliver fantastic results to get a patient referral either. Courtesy, smart appearance and attention to detail and giving them exactly what they want is just, if not more important.
  5. Just because a patient has referred you once don't think that they won't do it again, you should encourage your patients to refer you as often as possible and reward them for doing it.
  6. Your staff are incredibly important in getting patient referrals, you might be the best dentist in the world and offer a fantastic service, but if your patients don't have a great experience on reception, you won't get those much needed patient referrals, reception staff have to be well trained, just as you do.
  7. Communicate regularly with your patients, a newsletter is a great way to share things with your patients along with social media. It's not rocket science, the better they think they know you the more they'll give you a patient referral.
  8. Market your referral program everywhere in your practice. Tell them what you are prepared to offer in return for a patient referral, it could be a bottle of wine or a big thank you, but you need to have a rewards system of place and tell everyone about it.
  9. Every new patient that comes to your practice should be given a welcome pack and that should include information about your patient referral program and the benefits they can achieve if they refer a friend or relative to you.
  10. Finally and here's the real big one. ASK FOR THEM you'll be astounded the difference this simple little thing does.

If you would like more information on implementing a patient referral program or how to promote this using your social media or training your reception staff, call me on 01767 626 398 or email me at sales@dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk or visit the website www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk

Posted on by Neil Sanderson

Does Your Dental Receptionist Have The Training She Really Needs?

TrainingOver the last few months we've introduced dental receptionist training to our portfolio. We usually put call recording on the practice phone for a few weeks prior to this and see what is being said, in every case we have discovered that they needed extra training.

Most dental receptionists are very nice people, are sociable and pleasant, however it is also a sad truth that barely any of them have had any training whatsoever, other than from another member of staff.

This means that if a patient has specific objections that need handling, they often give the wrong information out, in one instance we heard a  receptionist recommend that the patient should visit another dental practice!

It's not that your receptionist is deliberately trying to sabotage your practice, quite the opposite, but it's equally true that because they have had no dental receptionist training, at times they are left floundering.

For instance, if you are a private practice and someone calls asking for an NHS appointment. We have heard time and again the receptionist saying sorry we are a private patient and don't take NHS patients. This is catastrophic and is easily remedied with some good training.

In sales we call this overcoming objections and your receptionist could easily turn what appeared to be a negative call from a prospective patient into a new long term patient simply by giving her some dental receptionist training.

You know that to do your job properly you have to be continually trained and the same applies to most of us, so why not your dental receptionist?

You may think that the roll she performs is a simple one, but just go and sit on reception for a couple of hours and you'll see that the job is very stressful. As well as having to deal with potentially difficult patients face to face, they also need to be able to deal with sales people calling, as well as existing and new patients, all wanting her attention.

A recent study showed that patients are much more likely to refer you to one of their friends or family if they had a good experience at reception, even more so than their experience with you the dentist, which I found quite extraordinary.

We offer two training courses, both of which are delivered on-site at a time to suit you. The first is:

Level 1  Fundamental  Dental Communication skills / “A dental Receptionists’ tool kit part 1″

this covers the following:

First impressions
“listening skills???
How to answer the telephone / welcome the patients into the practice
Making Appointments
Communication
New Patient Enquiries
What to say and What not to say
How to ask for money
Data Protection/confidentiality

What will you learn?

At the end of the session you will be confident in:

  • answering calls politely, warmly and professionally
  • recognising the importance of creating an excellent first impression
  • making patients feel welcome and at ease
  • building a rapport with new and regular patients
  • how to deal with taking telephone calls and dealing with patients at the desk at the same time
  • answering questions with the relevant answers
  • asking for money
  • making appropriate appointments

The second is:

Level 2  Advanced  Dental Communication skills  / “A dental Receptionists’ tool kit part 2″

Patient Acceptance Policies
Body language / Non verbal Communication
Win Win Situations
FTA’s/DNA’s
Handling awkward questions
Deflecting Hostility
Handling Complaints
Customer services
Recalls
Accounts
Upselling
Explanation of treatment plans
Role Play
Team management
Time Management
Stress Management
Diary Management
Targets

What will you learn?

At the end of this session you will be confident in:

  • understanding how a practice acceptance policy works
  • understanding body language
  • knowing what a WIN/WIN situation is and how to try and get more of them!
  • handling awkward questions and deflecting hostility
  • the FTA process
  • Giving excellent customer service
  • the recall process
  • handling accounts
  • Upselling: both treatments and OHP’s
  • explaining and giving advice on treatment plans
  • understanding the need for role play, team management, stress management and diary management
  • your targets

Both these courses are incredibly good value for money, the first is just £350 + VAT, the second £450 + VAT.

If you would like more information about these training courses that will pay for themselves with just one new patient, visit the website at http://www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk/dental-training-services/ or call me on 01767 626 398