Striking The Proper Tone In A Phone Call
Always identify yourself at the beginning of all calls.
To answer a call:
Thank you for calling the office of Big Smiles Dental. This is Laura. How may I help?”
When placing a call, always state your name along with the name of the person you are calling. Example: “Hello, my name is Laura from Big Smiles Dental. May I please speak with Ms. Jane Smith?”
If you must hand off a call, please let your teammate know who is on the line. Teach the team to pick up the phone with this information saying, “Hello Mrs. Smith, this is Lisa. How may I help you?” Or if you are able to capture the reason for the call, when you hand off, pass on the information so your teammate may pick up and say, “Hello Mrs. Smith. This is Lisa. I understand you are calling to check on your insurance payment.”
Sit up in your chair or stand during the conversation and have a calm, even tone to your voice.
Do not allow interruptions to occur during conversations.
Do not carry on side conversations with other people around you. The person on the telephone takes precedence over someone who happens to walk in your office or passes by while you are on the phone. Please make eye contact with someone who is polite enough to wait while you are continuing your conversation and hold up a “one second” finger to let them know you will be right with them.
Do not allow yourself to be distracted by other activities while speaking on the telephone, such as rustling papers, chewing and eating, working on the computer, or speaking with someone else.
Staying Pleasant And Helpful During Difficult Calls
It is bound to happen. You will be on the receiving end of an angry patient at some point. Don’t react. Remember Q-TIP (Quit Taking It Personally) Angry patients express their frustration by aiming their complaints at team members. Remaining calm, apologizing and offering productive solutions are the best course of action. There may even be times when you don’t have the immediate solution. Be conscientious not to say, “We can’t do that,” or “That’s not how we do things.” The best way to rephrase your responses may look like this, “I don’t have the answer right now. May I get back to you.” When calling back consider saying “Here is what we can do.”
I was witness to this type interaction recently. Jennifer phoned a patient who had been through an in-office orthodontic treatment and the patient was not happy with the end result. I listened as Jennifer patiently applied all of the above. It required 20 minutes of her time and surrounding teammates covered the phone while she paid full attention to the patient. The result was a happy patient by the end of the call.
Reassure the patient that you are listening and that their message is being heard. This goes a long way. Remain calm and empathetic. The quickest way to anger someone is to suggest that they are overreacting. Get on a personal level, try and relate to them and their feelings. Be patient and positive and take the time to de-stress yourself after a difficult call so you can put your best efforts in with the next patient.
If you have any questions about how you and your team should present yourselves over the phone, don’t hesitate to ask! We’re always here to answer any questions you have about improving your business. Never argue, show the patient that you care and you want to make it right for them. Remember, the patient is always right.