How To Be An Exceptional Customer Care Provider Post COVID-19

June 16, 2020

Once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, people will once again call their dental offices to set appointments and express health concerns. Through it all, there will be an air of uncertainty and empathy is needed while communicating, especially when it comes to patients.

Effect of Scripted vs. Non-Scripted Spiels
For call centers, scripts are made to convey consistency across all locations. Similarly, some dental practices have multiple locations, and having a script guarantees that responses are uniform. While a script may convey prepared sentiments to the listener, it may also come off stiff or insincere. The numbers from countless surveys are clear on this matter, customers prefer sincerity. So the challenge is, how will not having a script convey an organized message to the audience while maintaining authenticity?

Instead of scripts, you need to develop frameworks. By abiding by your framework, you will be able to say things at exactly the time you need to say them. In that manner, you can leverage your personality while communicating to your audience. Additionally, with a framework you will know where you are at anytime in the conversation, and you can adapt your conversation to the circumstances experienced by the person. Ideally, your framework should contain 5 steps, with 6 at the most.

Why Call Based Patient Conversion is Important
According to Katherine Eitel Belt, founder of renowned communications coaching firm LionSpeak, around 30 new patients will come into a dental clinic each month. In addition, dental practices in the country convert 25% of total patients. This means that in order to get 30 new patients, you should have at least 120 total callers. Having that in mind, even just a modest emphasis on the customer experience could have a tangible impact on your over the phone conversion ratio, which will ultimately boost your bottom line.

COVID-19 Must-Haves
During COVID-19, there are certain scripts that you have to follow when you are talking to people. Here are the methods that you could use to call customers:

  • Voice Mail
    Recording a voicemail message that expresses interest in gathering more information from the patient shows that you are looking forward to talking to them. This will make your prospective clients look forward to going to your clinic again.
  • Patient Outreach Message
    Always remind them of your presence during a crisis. In the wake of COVID-19, make sure that your messages convey that you care for them. Check on their condition and let them know that you are willing to answer their questions. Be there for them!

Tips That Will Improve Every Call

  • Put as many caring words as you can into your call

Try to include how much you are looking forward to talking to your client again. The world will be different. You need to be prepared to answer a whole new set of questions. If your store is closed temporarily, don’t just say that your clinic is closed–this gives off an aura of disconnection. Say something along the lines of how you are looking forward to reopening and seeing them again.

  • Get a people person from your staff to help you construct your framework

This can add to the personality of your overall approach and it will guide you in the construction of your sentences.

  • Make a master list of possible questions and answers

Similar to constructing an FAQ page, you and your team should brainstorm about possible questions and make a master list. That way you will have responses ready when you need them. From Day 1, take note of these questions and have a conference meeting with your team to strategize possible answers to these hypothetical questions from your patients. Stay updated with your state’s regulations regarding these questions as well.

After COVID-19, we should all make the extra effort to provide service with a smile. By fostering more people-oriented contact with patients through our communication channels, we can leverage our unique personalities and offer exceptional medical care at the same time.

 

Creating a Framework for Incoming Calls in the Medical Practice Post-COVID-19

The way we communicate has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever you need to get your dental patient’s trust. Dental care is about more than just getting a patient to jump into your dental chair. Showing sympathy in today’s environment is delicate, so you should spend quite a bit of time building this effort into your standard operating protocol.

How Unscripted Calls Make a Difference

Communicating with a person spontaneously is more ideal than using a script because of the following factors:

  • It makes people feel that they are talking to an actual person
  • It sounds more sincere
  • It assures them that their issue will be resolved in the best way possible

An incoming call helps develop the reputation of the company, so you need to show that you are capable from the start.

Framework for an Extraordinary Incoming Call Response

Delivering a sincere unscripted call is critical. Here are the rules that can set your call apart from the others. Katherine Eitel Belt, founder of Lionspeak, shares the essential four-steps of an extraordinary call framework for patient calls:

  1. Relationship
    First, establish a closeness with the person you are talking to. Don’t begin with the facts about toothaches. Show empathy about the urgency. Let them know how you feel in this time of crisis, and that you are willing to help them. It is important that you make this a non-negotiable step in your framework.
  2. Discovery
    Once you establish rapport with the caller, discuss their concerns with them. Discover if you are addressing a toothache, etc. Instead of answering directly, ask clarifying questions to be able to provide them with the best solution possible.
  3. Solutions
    Get to the bottom of what your client really needs, based on the discovery step mentioned above. For example, if it is for a tooth extraction, gently inform them about the process.
  4. Details
    This step is like the discovery step, except it involves collecting and providing information pertaining to the practice. You need to get the identification details right after the conversation, not before it. You need to get the information from your client without them feeling like you are rushing them.

All these steps take time to master, but through practice, these changes to the calls you engage in can make a difference.

Metrics

How do we know if our framework is working? Here are the following metrics you can use to know if you are handling inbound calls effectively.

  1. Conversion Rate
    If you are managing a practice that primarily advertises online (clients from web searches), your conversion rate should be around 60%. For a media based practice, the ideal rate is 90% conversion.
  2. New Patient No-Show Rate
    The rate that is ideal for no-show appointments should be in the 3-5% range. If the practice is actively advertising, the ideal no-show rate is in the 10-20% range.
  3. Investment Ratio
    For every dollar spent on advertising, you should get 3 dollars in return. (3:1)

Call Recording

Here are some methods you can employ so that your clinic continually improves your patients’ experience.

  1. Evaluation
    Encourage the recording of inbound calls so that you can evaluate possible areas for improvement each week. As much as we all hate listening to our own recorded voice, it is essential for us so we can optimize the overall engagement.
  2. Training
    Once you have a file full of recordings, play the calls and single out the individual areas for improvement. From there, train yourself to engage more empathetically, clearly, and precisely.

Change the way you respond to patients, and provide customer support that will leave an impression without sounding scripted. Through constant practice, you can create a response system that will result in a higher conversion ratio, happier clients, and a more profitable clinic.