Great Dental Receptionists

How they can make your practice rock


Is your receptionist the most important person in your practice?

You better believe it!

The person that answers the phone at your practice IS your practice to the caller. It’s important that they LOVE their job and that patients can HEAR that over the phone. It’s also important that you’ve given them the right tools and training, GOALS, AND SUPPORT to excel in the role.

Here’s why. It’s not good enough just to be nice on the phone. It’s sales. Your receptionist needs to know the importance of each call and how to convert it to an appointment. The difference this makes can DOUBLE your new-patient flow.

Goal #1: Answer every call live – get more than 90%

Goal #2: Convert them to appointment – more than 75%

That’s why it’s key that your team is trained and working on the full range of call handling skills, greeting, and product knowledge, and are ASKING for the appointment – critical skills for everyone who answers the phone at your practice. 

One of the tools you can provide to your team so that they can do this is consistent telephone training, and our Phone Power program, $1999 per year, is included FREE with your marketing campaigns. 

Years ago we had a power point presentation training session where one of the components was voice inflection and I’ve blogged about this before. When you deal with clients over the phone, it’s all about tone and words and energy. A great way to understand how you’re delivering your message over the phone is to practice with something silly so you can hear the difference.

Say “turkey sandwich.”

Now say it with your:

  • Happy to see someone voice
  • Bored monotone voice
  • Slow and low energy voice
  • Sexy voice
  • Excited voice
  • Loud rapid voice
  • Enthusiastic voice.

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It doesn’t take long with this little exercise to see how your caller may judge your attitude over the phone and change their mind about scheduling an appointment. Tone and how to use it is what top receptionists know how to pull out at the right moments.

Your receptionists are the face, the first welcome, the first impression, the trust builder. They must handle tricky patients, deal with multiple egos, demanding clients, and diva team members.

They must be organized, efficient, and be adept at keeping everyone’s schedules on track. It’s a high-pressure role that’s often under respected.

Another tool is to have great dental marketing going into your area, with a competitive and easy-to-consume new-patient offer. And don’t sweat that discounted new-patient offer. On average, for every dental practice we analyze, the average first year new-patient value is double the active-patient value – despite the first appointment give. You’ll get a big bump to production if you add more new patients.

The biggest tool you can provide is visibility into results. Track calls and have them scored so you can look at the reasons patients don’t book. Are there ways you can change how you do this to make it easier for your receptionist to book more new patient calls.

Top candidates are hard to find, so when you find or have a great one, invest in them. They’re so great they’ll embrace training, they’ll want to work to be the best they can be. And be generous. Don’t underestimate the thousands in production that person is driving to your bottom line.

On that note, shout out to two PNP clients who are doing an amazing job: Thao at Skyview Family Dental and Kristin at Dr. Jeff Weinberg’s office. Their Account Success Manager, Amber McAlpine, says, “the BEST receptionists LISTEN when you speak and treat you with their full attention. They take accurate messages, remember and say names … they build rapport. You can hear in their voice how much they love what they do. When done right, it sounds like you’re catching up with an old friend.”

Our team was at Townie last month and Dr. Howard Farran’s opening address talked about the importance of knowing your practice data. One of your top key performance metrics, he said, is call conversion. His stat indicated that 39% of new-patient calls are missed. After scoring 250,000 dental calls, I can tell you that’s bang on without visibility and training. We help our clients work on those metrics and help your receptionists improve their skills.

A recent interaction with one of my medical specialists reminded me of the impact of a great reception. The previous receptionist never made it easy for me to schedule my appointments. She had “rules.” I could only make appointments by telephone (and I’m busy; this was a hassle) and then, of course, their phone line was always busy. Calls were abrupt and unfriendly. When I would arrive at the office, she was the type who didn’t look up and greet me. I would have to stand at the desk until she finished her super-important paperwork, and only then would she acknowledge me. I wanted this doctor as he’s a leader in his field, but had this gone on for long, I might have started looking for another option.

Then he hired a new receptionist, Mary … an angel. However I want to communicate she works with it. She always greets me with a smile when I arrive. Last week, I arrived on Thursday (on time) for my Friday appointment – ruh roh. She got me in, made me feel completely comfortable, and didn’t let me know that it was any fuss. And I’m sure it was a huge hassle in their tight schedule. She was gracious. It reminded me of when you are served and eat that yucky dish at a house party. That is gracious and polite, and you don’t make the host feel terrible. That’s what a great receptionist can do for you and your patients. It makes your entire practice look great.

The better your call-answer and conversion rates, the better your marketing ROI and the better your practice performance. To know your KPIs (key performance indicators) you must book a free live demo of Practice ZEBRA™. If you’re really into technology – and I know most of you are – you have to get a live demo of Practice ZEBRA™. It will blow you away.

For free, you’ll get a tour of your practice KPIs through this amazing technology, you’ll see your numbers and be able to quickly identify areas for improvement, and you’ll realize an instant improvement in patient reactivation and scheduling. We always provide a free bonus list of your top-50 high-value patients that aren’t currently scheduled to come back. Meaning those high-value patients aren’t connected to your practice RIGHT NOW. You need to see this.


Book a FREE LIVE DEMO today