You can get the patient-practice relationship off to a great start by giving your team the verbal skills they need to impress potential patients/parents. In the age of increased orthodontic shopping, parents are scrutinizing orthodontic practices more than ever before. When your front office team builds value for the practice, patients/parents are more likely to schedule an appointment and accept your recommended treatment.

If front desk staff members sound bored or rushed on the phone, they are sending a message that they have more important things to do. Remember, every new patient/parent who calls the office must be seen as a major opportunity.

Levin Group teaches clients that scripting needs to be in place for every routine conversation, including the first phone call. A successful new patient phone call requires scripts, benefit statements, and the following steps:

• answering the phone within two rings;
• thanking the patient/parent for calling;
• asking who referred the patient;
• complimenting the referring individual;
• making the appointment;
• transferring trust by talking about the orthodontist’s expertise;
• building value for orthodontic treatment;
• answering questions about aligners and other popular options;
• creating a positive relationship with the patient/parent;
• explaining tastefully why this is the orthodontic office of choice;
• restating the appointment date and time;
• explaining the appointment confirmation process; and
• asking if there are any other questions that the patient/parent may have.

In conclusion, the new-patient call needs to be more of an interpersonal and informative experience than it is in most offices today. An effective first phone call sets the stage for a long-term practice-patient relationship that leads to increased growth, production, and profitability.

Roger P. Levin, DDS