Stop being undersold with reception staff training
How do your staff handle new patient enquiries? With just one day of reception staff training from Dental Partner Jacqui Goss, your team will learn how to clearly sell your practice and the services you offer so they don’t go anywhere else.
In the second of her articles, Dental Partner Jacqui Goss explains how reception staff training will ensure that your team will ‘sell’ your practice, promote your services and encourage business growth. You’ll never be unknowingly undersold as a practice again.
Try this for an exercise.
Imagine your dental practice became a different retail business overnight – a car garage say. To which of your existing staff would you allocate the new roles? Hygienists should be good at vehicle preparation. Dentists? Well, they would obviously become the mechanics. The practice manager would definitely become the garage manager.
So that only leaves the garage’s sales staff roles to be filled and your reception staff unallocated. Not a good fit? I suggest you think again. Who better to show customers around, extol the virtues of your staff (highly trained mechanics, experienced vehicle preppers) and sell loads of cars?
Sceptical? I’ll prove it with two contrasting mystery telephone calls I was commissioned to undertake recently by ABC Dental Practice (not its real name). I was acting the role of a potential new patient.
Call Number One
Receptionist: Good afternoon, ABC Dental Practice.
Patient: Good afternoon! I’m moving into the area and am looking for a new dentist. I wonder if you can help me?
Receptionist: Erm, yes… are you having any problems at the moment or is it for just a routine check-up?
Patient: Just routine.
Receptionist: Right, okay… we are booking towards the end of September at the moment. Is that okay for you?
Patient: It should be, but I’m just ringing around practices at the moment so I can decide which one I want to go to. Perhaps you could give me some idea about you?
Receptionist: We are a private practice. We don’t do any NHS treatments. Your initial consultation fee would be £39 to see the dentist for the first appointment and, after that, it would be £34. Erm… what else would you need to know?
Patient: Any information, because as I said I am ringing around other practices to make a decision as to which practice I want to go to.
Receptionist: Well, we are a single-handed practice with one dentist and we have a hygienist who works here on a Thursday. So it is a very small practice.
Patient: Mmm… okay then thanks very much.
Sale? Unlikely, I think.
I rang again the next morning knowing a different receptionist would answer the phone.
Call Number Two
Receptionist: Good morning, ABC Dental Practice.
Patient: Good morning! I’m moving into the area and I’m looking for a new dentist and I wondered whether you could help me?
Receptionist: Okay, of course you can register here as a private patient. If you get any benefits or anything which exempts you from paying for dental treatments, we can register you towards the end of November. Basically, what we do is private dental treatment and, if you are dentally fit, you could join our scheme and pay monthly towards your dental appointment.
Patient: Oh right! And what scheme is that?
Receptionist: It is a scheme called XX and, if you are dentally fit and you don’t need any treatment at the moment, you can join and there are different bands for it. The first band is Band A at £14 and you pay monthly which covers your check-up, x-rays and whatever Dr XX does here. Then you just pay, for example, for a denture or a crown, something that was going to be done outside of this dental practice, you must pay for the lab bills.
Patient: That sounds a bit like XX?
Receptionist: It is similar to XX, but is slightly cheaper than XX as it is with a different company. It depends on which band you would fall into, but usually it is Band B. Most of our patients are Band B which I think is £19 and, as I said, it depends on how much dental work you have had done.
If you would like I can just book you in for an initial consultation at £39 and, if you needed any treatment for anything, we would quote you before so that you wouldn’t be surprised by the prices – you would know how much you would be going to pay before. You could then decide if you wanted to go ahead with it or not.
Patient: That sounds alright.
Receptionist: Do you want me to register you or take details from you or…?
Patient: I will come back to you if I may.
Receptionist: Yes, sure.
Why you need reception staff training
Okay, so this second receptionist confused me when talking about benefits and exemptions from payments having said it was a private practice, but I was much more engaged than with the first call.
She missed a few sales techniques, such as giving her name and finding out mine, but on balance, I would probably have telephoned again to make an appointment.
Both receptionists spoke clearly and had pleasant voices. With a just a small level of reception staff training each could become a candidate for ‘salesperson of the month’.
The good news is that most of what reception staff need to know and practice with respect to dealing with a patient’s first (and lasting) impression, is covered in my one-day on-site reception staff training. You can find out more about this training by contacting Dental Partner through our contact form or by phone on 01234 888 779.
For broader training for front of house staff (best done by distance learning over a number of months), we suggest you consider NVQ, City & Guilds or NCFE provision. We can help you with this too.
In the next article, Jacqui discusses team training and the importance of staff meetings.
About Jacqui Goss
A proven manager of change and driver of dramatic business growth, Jacqui Goss is the managing partner of Yes!RESULTS. By using Yes!RESULTS for staff training on Front of House, Treatment Coordination, Chairside Conversation and whole team training, dental practices see a return on their investment as an increase in treatment plan take-up, improved patient satisfaction and more appointments resulting from general enquiries. Yes!RESULTS turns good practices into great practices.
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