Your clinical skills serve as the foundation for your practice, but communication skills—yours and those of your staff members—play a major role in your success. Saying the right thing to patients at the right time has a tremendous influence on case acceptance, patient and parent satisfaction, referrals, scheduling compliance, collections, and more.
By any measure, the most powerful communication tool you can use is scripting. Serving as guidelines for all interactions with parents and patients, scripts make it easy for you and your team to:
- Stay on message consistently
- Build value and strengthen relationships with every conversation
- Emphasize patient-parent benefits
- Cope with challenges more effectively
- Express your commitment to providing excellent customer service
Types of Scripts You Need
Eventually, you should develop scripts for all interactions that commonly occur at your office. Ultimately, your scripts will reflect your unique situation and needs, but you should focus initially on these key areas:
- Phone Conversations. When the phone rings in the practice, whoever answers it must be prepared (by training with scripts) to respond effectively based on who’s calling. For parents of prospective patients, the overriding objective is to schedule a consult within 7 to 10 days. In addition, value should be built for the doctor, practice, and appointment, a warm manner should be projected, the referral source identified, and interesting personal details gathered.
- Welcoming New Parents and Patients. The first visit to the practice must be a great experience, and scripting helps make that happen. The right words will convey enthusiasm, professionalism, and—for the young visitors—fun.
- Case Presentation. Doctors tend to dwell on clinical matters, but you should use scripting to help you focus on what really matters to parents and patients…the benefits of accepting treatment at your practice.
- Financing Options. The cost of treatment can be a barrier for many people these days, so use scripting to explain your range of payment plans with all parents and adult patients.
- Scheduling. You need to be able to schedule patients efficiently in order to maximize production with minimal stress. With excellent scripting, you’ll be able to guide patients into the desired time slots.
- Collections. Many ortho teams have trouble asking for payment. Scripts make it easy for anyone to deal with this subject firmly, pleasantly, and convincingly.
- Asking for Referrals. Happy parents will gladly make referrals if you ask them to do so…following scripts.
There are many other areas where scripts can help build your practice. Start with these and you’ll soon be anxious to implement scripting in all types of verbal interactions.
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