how the best dental offices answer a new patient call

How The Best Dental Offices Answer A New Patient Call

Everybody can communicate, but few can connect.

John Maxwell.

Having a telephone in your dental office is a must-have communication piece of equipment to bridge the connection between your upcoming and existing patients. 

Though it is a standard procedure for your office to accept calls daily, how you communicate and handle incoming telephone calls impacts the success rates of dental appointments for your practice.  


Why Can Telephone Communication Make Or Break An Appointment?


Let us say your new patient has seen your social media ads or Google My Business profile through your dental marketing efforts. 


They love your online presence and decided to contact your dental office. 


 When your patient calls your dental office to inquire, their first point of communication is the one who answers the phone.


When greeted with disinterest, they might have a strong impression that your dental clinic will welcome them in the same manner on the phone. 


 Though this might not be entirely true, your tone can clarify, justify and convey meanings to your words. 


It affects how your patient perceives your dental office and whether or not they will push through in scheduling a dental appointment. 


First Impression Truly Lasts


First impressions during your first contact over the phone have almost the same significance when having a face-to-face conversation.


Studies led by Dr. Mehrabian show that your message interpretation is composed38 percent tonality, 7 percent verbal, and 55 percent is visual.


Even though you are only talking over the phone, the way you communicate (your body language, the tone of voice, and how you answer your patient) shows how professional your dental office is.


That is why getting it right over the phone is important because first impressions last.


Today, we will discuss how the best dental offices answer a new patient call, create a great first impression, and potentially book a dental appointment over the phone.


1. They Cultivate Positive Energy and Enthusiasm


Even when dealing with the worst days at the office, the best dentists know how to rise and go beyond any negative energy to answer their patient calls as enthusiastically as possible. 


The best dental practitioners know that physiology can affect your psychology and mood. 


They practise positive body language like smiling before they answer the phone. 


Most importantly, they know how to end their calls with positive lines: 


We cannot wait to see you at your first dental appointment.


This form of warm welcome that they anticipate before and during their dental visit. 


2. They Address Different Types of Phone Inquiries Effectively


 There are different phone calls that you might be receiving in your dental office. 

Different types of calls have various goals.


Answering each inquiry appropriately will help you increase your appointment turnover. 


Here are examples of phone inquiries and your goal on each call:


Call Category 1: New Patient Emergency Inquiry

Goal: Create a priority appointment for the new patient. 


Call Category 2: New Patient Dental Care Inquiry

Goal: Since the patient has no urgent inquiry and just inquiring about your dental cleaning, encourage them to visit the dental office for a new patient exam and then have regular dental cleaning services done afterwards.  


Your reply:  It is nice to hear that you decided to set a dental cleaning appointment here in our office. We suggest that it is better to have a comprehensive dental exam to assess which dental treatment suits best for you in addition to your dental cleaning.


Call Category 3: New Patient With Too Many Questions Inquiry 

Goal: Since this caller asks too many questions, try scheduling a no-charge consultation. 

Some dental offices might think it is a waste of time entertaining this inquiry. You never know it might be a $10,000 dental case in waiting.

It does not mean that your dentist is the actual person who will accommodate them for one hour. 

Ask your admin office to give them a tour and answer their questions. 


Your reply:

It’s great to know that you are curious about our dental services and the actual costs. When you have time, you can come to and visit us! We would love to accommodate and provide dental consultation at no charge. Come and visit us to see if we’re the right fit for you and vice versa. What do you say?


3. They ask how callers heard about their practice


In marketing for dentists, trial and error is part of the process of which dental marketing strategies work well with your practice.


So knowing this type of information from your callers is a vital part of the data collection needed by your dental marketing agency.   


When a patient mentioned that an existing patient recommended you, you can reply: Can we ask who we can thank in recommending our dental practice?


It also creates a positive impression and gratitude to your existing and new patients.


4. They Establish Value About The Team and the Practice


The best dental offices know how to build their credibility over telephone conversations.


You have a few seconds to establish what type of value you can bring throughout the conversation.


Make them realize that they made the right decision to visit your practice. 


You can use lines like: Our dentists here are board-certified or, Our staff treats our patients as part of our community.


Showcase your office: We recently have our 3D Printing available to produce orthodontic models.


Make sure that you listen to your patient inquiries first and only mention your value incongruent to what was currently inquiring about their dental needs. It will make you sound more genuine with their needs rather than just throwing some humblebrag.


5. They Schedule Your First Appointment Within Seven Days


Lastly, on every end of the call, the best dental offices know how to schedule new patients as soon as possible.  


Being proactive in booking your patients creates a great impression on your new patients. 


Creating seamless scripts for your front desk will smoothen the booking process and book more patients effectively. 


Creating scripts crafted specifically in booking appointments might not be your area of expertise. Dental marketing agencies can help you write call scripts for your office.   


Are You Ready To Rise? 

Creating a great impression in a telephone conversation with a new patient is a gateway to building a new patient list and accommodating their needs effectively. We have discussed how the best dental offices answer a patient call and provided tips for your practice to apply. If you are looking for in-depth call training for your front desk admin and staff, you can book a 30-minute free consultation with us.