3 reasons you need a wake-up, I mean, a mystery call

2015 05 12 15 59 09 147 Geier Jay 200

If you are like most Americans, you (or your spouse) are in the throws of the holiday shopping season. Thanks to the Internet, even if you didn't step foot in the mall, you've had the chance to experience a variety of levels of service from various retailers. As far as customer satisfaction goes, I'll bet you can name the best and the worst experience you've had without giving it much thought. They were either that good or that bad.

As far back as the early 1940s, retail stores hired anonymous shoppers to evaluate their customer service. This person went in the store, bought something, and then reported back on the shopping experience. This way of getting valuable customer service feedback quickly took off and soon the name "mystery shopper" was coined. Today, most major retailers hire mystery shoppers (now a $1.5 billion business, according to jobmonkey.com) to shed light on the type of shopping experience their employees are creating for their customers.

Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.

Mystery calls are like mystery shoppers. We created the mystery call 17 years ago, and the success of the Scheduling Institute was built on it.

Here's how it works: During a mystery call, we anonymously play the role of a potential new patient, ask a series of challenging but not uncommon questions, and then evaluate the experience based on a five-star system we have determined essential for maximizing new patient phone interactions. Then we share it with the dentist.

I'm not going to lie -- sometimes it doesn't go over too well.

Why not? Well, for many offices, mystery calls shine a giant spotlight on a part of your practice that's been pretty content sitting in the dark.

Your front desk team might only be 15 feet away from you, but you probably have no idea what's actually going on when they pick up the phone to speak to a patient. That's where mystery calls come in.

1. Mystery calls are a reality check

We conduct mystery calls because, like mystery shopping, we want to provide you with an objective evaluation of your front desk's ability to turn a potential new patient into a scheduled appointment -- a shopper into a buyer. We want you to see how a new patient is being handled on the phone and if they end up on your schedule. And, unlike mystery shopping where businesses pay for this evaluation, we provide this same service for free!

For the many dentists who take the time to listen objectively to our mystery call recordings, it's pretty eye opening. In fact, it is often the kick in the pants they need to make some changes -- a reality check. This is what's happening on your phones right now. It can be pretty ugly, but the good news is that, once it is identified and addressed, it easily can be changed.

2. Everyone needs to be held accountable

If you were trying to make a positive change in your life -- let's say you wanted to start exercising more -- but you had no one to hold you accountable and no way to measure your progress, do you think you'd be successful? Chances are you wouldn't. I know it wouldn't work for me. Why do you think Weight Watchers is so successful? It's all in the name. You, along with a room full of supporters, are watching and recording the numbers every time you step on that scale. Your guard is down, and your level of transparency is way up -- there's no fudging allowed.

Mystery calls provide transparency for your practice. They are recorded and unedited. And with transparency comes accountability. I don't know anyone who would even attempt to argue against the benefits of accountability. It is the momentum behind improved performance, higher level of employee engagement and creativity, increased feelings of competency and worth, higher morale, and satisfaction with work. And don't you want that for your employees and your practice?

3. Identify lost revenue opportunities

“You likely are losing five to 10 new patients every week.”

Mystery calls expose a major area for lost revenue. Let’s do the math using some very conservative estimates. The average lifetime value of a new patient is about $1,800-$2,000. If your front desk mishandles just one new patient call a week (no appointment scheduled), that’s $9,000-$10,000 lost per month. Twelve months per year equals $108,000 - $120,000 a year in lost revenue opportunities. And if that is the bottom of the barrel in estimates, the potential for a much higher loss is so much greater!

The worst part is that it's happening more than you want to believe. You likely are losing five to 10 new patients every week. Mystery calls assess areas for improvement, and, with proper training, give your practice the tools it needs to break out of your rut and into a phase of rapid growth.

So, those are the facts. Would you rather stay in the dark about the state of your telephones? Or, will you use these mystery calls to expose your weaknesses so you can take the next step to train your staff to schedule patients, generate revenue, improve your practice, and change the outlook of your future? What have you got to lose?

Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute. Take the institute's free 5 Star Challenge.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Page 1 of 534
Next Page