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Making a Great 1st Impression – The Phone Call

A positive patient experience extends beyond your office doors. While you probably (hopefully) place a great deal of effort to make patients in your office feel welcome and comfortable, some practices neglect to extend that same feeling into their phone interactions. The truth is that the majority of people are quite nervous to call your office; they may feel unsure about pursuing a medical procedure that they don’t necessarily “need.” They may be very anxious about asking how much a procedure costs. And they may not really know what they want – and just know that they aren’t happy with their current situation (the state of their vision, their body image, their appearance, etc.).

All of these different scenarios require your staff to get to the real root of the call, provide as much detailed information as possible and give the caller the opportunity for success – all with a friendly, caring attitude. This is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally to people, but it can be learned through training and practice.  Every staff member who interacts with prospects or patients on the phone needs to have the right phone skills in her arsenal to encourage a person to schedule a consultation or surgery.

What does the “right phone skills” look like? There is no singular answer to this question. It differs from practice-to-practice and person-to-person. However, there are basic skills your staff needs to assess each caller and provide the right information to aid in the decision-making process.

Possible Types of Elective Surgery Callers

Your staff can’t treat every caller exactly the same. Your staff may come into contact with callers who are:

  • Fishing for information about price
  • In the very initial phases of their research
  • Ready to schedule a consultation
  • Convinced that they want to schedule a particular surgery…without having had a consultation first
  • Completely confused about their options
  • Considering elective surgery for the wrong reasons
  • Calling on a whim and aren’t really convinced they want a procedure

It’s your staff’s job to quickly assess where the caller is on their “educational journey” with your medical specialty, provide the right information and gather appropriate information for follow-up…all without being pushy and without seeing that person face-to-face. In personal interactions, it’s often easier to gauge how a person is responding to the information you are providing. Body language, eye contact and facial expressions can provide insight to show that a potential patient is uncomfortable with the whole idea of a certain procedure, is untrusting of your surgeon or needs the support of another person before he can make a concrete decision. It’s also much easier for a person to end an interaction with your practice on the phone.

Telephone interactions in your elective surgery practice are vitally important to your reputation and your bottom line.  Even with the ease and convenience of the internet, the phone is still one of the most powerful components of an elective surgery practice.

To have a free phone analysis or to learn more about our training options, contact Brandi Musgrave at 303-731-2634 or