Dos and don'ts for telephone management

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Handling the new patient's first call

We all know how important first impressions are. You need to control what impression your practice is making -- and what is being accomplished -- during a new patient's first call.

Do

Script front desk staff to schedule the patient during the first call. Be pleasant and helpful on the phone. That conveys a good impression of the practice. In addition, the front desk coordinator should use excellent scripting to always guide the caller to make the first appointment -- within seven days, while motivation is still high.

Don't

Don't let the new patient slip away. It's a mistake to assume that the first new patient call will yield the desired results without scripting. Studies conducted by Levin Group found that unscripted front desk staff often waited for the caller to bring up the subject of scheduling an appointment.

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