Do's and don'ts for answering the phone

2016 11 18 14 42 01 206 Practice Success2 400

Even in the age of texts and emails, phone calls are still the practice's lifeline for new patients. A practice should make new and prospective patients feel welcome when they call. Powerful verbal skills will help win over patients and turn calls into scheduled appointments.


Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing patients to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice -- a bad one. Calls going unanswered quickly suggests a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients. You never know when a new patient will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, the new patient must be given a positive first impression.


Don't forget about the power of scripting. Knowing what to say greatly enhances every interaction with patients. Use staff meetings to review and role-play training scripts. Scripts make everyone more confident about answering the phone and addressing patient questions and concerns.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email

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

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