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Ep.68: Easy Way to Convert 30 Percent More Callers


If you were to listen in on your receptionist handling new caller leads, would you smile with satisfaction listening to her professionally credential you and book the consultation?

Or, would you cringe as she loses the callers and hurt your image all at the same time?

Just by fixing your phones, your front desk staff can easily convert 30% more callers to consultations.

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Beauty and the Biz

Ep.68: Easy Way to Convert 30 Percent More Callers

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits. Now in this episode, we’re going to talk about an Easy Way to Convert 30 Percent More Callers. And let me ask you this. If you were to listen in on new caller leads your receptionist was handling, would you smile with satisfaction listening to her professionally credential you and book the consultation? Or would you cringe hearing her lose the callers and hurt your image all at the same time? Now just by fixing your phones, your front desk staff can easily convert 30% more callers to consultations. And then I would say well, so what’s that worth to you? Well, let’s do the math. If your front desk loses a prospective surgical patient that would have been worth $1,000 to you. And it happens just once a week, do you realize you lose $400,000 in revenues per year? Now unfortunately, it doesn’t happen only once a week, it happens way more often than you know. So here are three things you can do to fix this area of your practice.

Now, here’s number one, get the right person answering your phones, too many of you have just stuck anybody out there. And boy, that is the wrong approach. It takes the right person answering your phones who can professionally credential you and book the appointment, that person can increase your revenues by 30%, literally within 48 hours. Now the wrong person answering your phones can decrease your converting ratio by more than 30% and hurt your image permanently. This position should be taken as seriously as every other position in your practice. Since callers are never going to meet any of you if your receptionist can’t book them. You do know your receptionist is like the guard at the door, the gate of your practice. If they can’t get past that receptionist, they’re never going to meet any of you, I hope you can take that or I hope you hear that. So, you’re looking for someone who’s innately friendly, and they love helping other people. And they also need to have a strong confident voice that instantly bond with your callers. And it doesn’t matter if she has experience, you can train for that. But you can’t train personality. So where do you find this phone guru? Well, I would start with who you know or who your staff knows. And then think about your own happenings throughout your community. Maybe it’s that friendly female at the coffee shop or at the front desk of your gym, or the receptionist where you get your haircut who’s looking to make a change. And you’re not trying to poach people as much as you are trying to be friendly or be outgoing, talk to other people who are also– you’re trying to find somebody who’s friendly and outgoing. And then you’re just talking with them and finding out where they’re at in life and then if that subject comes up, you just happen to have an opening. Or if you place an ad on indeed or zip recruiter or one of those, just please be super specific what you want so the right person answers your ad. Because here’s the thing, you don’t need 100 resumes, you need five solid ones who read your resume, I’m sorry, read your ad and say oh my god, that’s me. So, here’s an example of an ad that I have used quite a bit for plastic surgery practices to find them a phone Rockstar and here’s what I say it starts the heading, exceptional receptionist needed for busy plastic surgery office. Now here’s the copy. Are you confident, reliable, professional and resourceful? Do you have an outgoing friendly personality, a great work ethic and exceptional people skills to provide five-star customer service? If so, we may have a fit. A highly regarded plastic surgeon in the area is looking for a true professional to represent him on the telephone and in person when greeting cosmetic patients. Now here’s what is expected of you, answer the telephone cheerfully and book appointments professionally and you’ll be given the training skills and scripts. Greet visitors and make them feel welcomed. Schedule patients and make reminder calls to ensure they keep their appointments. Keep the reception area presentable and assist other team members when needed. Now you must be quick on your feet, computer savvy, a fast learner and responsible since you’ll be pivotal in helping us grow. Now this is a full-time position. Please provide a cover letter outlining why this position is Ideal for your skill set. And then, of course, the compensation. One secret about compensation, it’s not always just about the money. It’s also about training plus health benefits plus dental benefits plus, personal time off plus vacation, plus complimentary treatments. Add up everything because a lot of the applicants are looking for more than just that salary.

And then I do recommend having a 30-day probationary period, I just think it’s helpful for both of you to decide if you’re a good fit or not without a bunch of drama. So, I would add that as well. Okay, now, here’s number two, professionally train the phone staff to book consultations. Nobody is a born star, it takes the right person with the right attitude, who’s open to learning how to be the best. So, if you found that person, train them until they succeed, then set expectations so they understand the boundaries, that tell them exactly what you want them to say and not to say. For example, instead of using the word pain, use discomfort and instead of saying, I’m not sure where he is, say Dr. Smith not available, but I’d be happy to take a message instead of saying, Oh, that’s not possible. No, we can’t do that. Say, let me see what I can do for you. And here’s a little-known secret for great phones, talk less and ask more questions. We do a lot of mystery shopping and it’s amazing what receptionist will say when they’re winging it, please don’t leave this to chance, give them a structure to follow. So, download my five phone fixes guide. It’s a free guide I have on my website. Well, it’s a long URL, I’ll put it in the show notes. But it’s catherinemaley.com, forward slash, five dash, phone dash fixes dash guide. And then please be sure the front desk, prints that out, keeps it in front of them and at least covers these five phone areas. And it’s a little more comprehensive than this. But in a nutshell, the five phone fixes are number one, answer the phone by the third ring with a human being that has a friendly tone of voice.

And then number two, you have to find out what the caller’s name is so you use it throughout the call for bonding. And then find out how they heard about you, that helps the call a lot because you want to know where they’re at in their journey for cosmetic rejuvenation. Number three, you want to control the call with questions. And they absolutely must know how to pre frame you as the best choice because it’s just too competitive. And too many of these cosmetic patients are online, clicking and calling everybody so you want to be really on your game when they call you. And then number four, ask for the appointment. This one is so overlooked; you’ve got to ask for the appointment. And there are many ways to do it without pushing or feeling grungy about it. And then number five, of course, get the contact information no matter what. Because one thing we all know about cosmetic patients because I am one of them, if we care about how we look today, we’re going to always care how we look, you don’t just stop that little vanity gene. If you want to look your best you want to look at forever. So maybe during the call, it didn’t go exactly as you wanted. But get that contact information and always stay in touch because you just never know.

Now, one thing I hear over and over is the resistance to scripts. Surgeons will say to me scripts make my staff sound stiff and robotic. And I prefer they sound more natural. And I say Really? Are you sure? When you let your reception is [inaudible 08:44] callers hear things like this, Hello, doctor’s office? Silence or I’m not sure about that. More silent, or he’s not in so can you call back Tuesday? Oh, wait, this is real stuff we hear. Or hmm and I think that downtime for that procedure. I think it’s around six weeks. All right. That can’t happen. You can’t afford those kinds of responses, please use scripts. The reason they sound robotic is because they haven’t practiced enough. They need to integrate the scripts and then make them their own while following a course. Because scripts give your receptionist the structure of the call. So, she can be the control tower and not the information booth.

By the way, what is your receptionist environment like? Is she sitting out in the open? Is she checking people in and out and answering the phones? Is she also doing other admin duties in between? Please don’t burden your receptionist with all sorts of other tasks other than the phones, or she won’t be focused on booking consultations for new prospective patients calling. And If you do have heavy call volume, the noise of the ringing phones adds so much stress to the environment, callers can hear the background noise, they can hear the phone ringing, they can hear the receptionist is distracted. So, consider moving the phones to the back. And headphones can also help free up your receptionist hands. So, she can type information into your system about the caller. The point is to set up your receptionist for success and then give her the tools she needs to do a great job for you.

And then here’s number three, hold your staff accountable. Now your receptionist may use the five phone fixes guide and she might get great results and then right back to bad phone habits. That’s just what humans do. They just go back to the path of least resistance. So, to ensure she is trained and stays trained, it takes repetition, practice and accountability. Now the way we all learn is to do something, get feedback, do it again, get more feedback and then do it again until it becomes natural. And it’s the same thing here, somebody should be listening to the calls and giving her feedback so she stays on her A game.

Now there are a ton of vendors who have software to record these calls. And they note the caller’s phone number, the name, the time, day, and so on. So not only will your receptionist do better knowing she’s being held accountable and getting regular feedback, good phone habits will become second nature to her. And now you have a rock star. And that the easy way to convert 30% more callers. So, download the five phone fixes and give it to your receptionist or contact me if you need additional help with the phones because I’ll tell you what, most of you are spending an absolute fortune on SEO, website redesign, Google AdWords or you’re spending a ton of time on Instagram to become a social media star. And now you’ve got this beautiful image that you have created. But what happens when that person who thinks you’re the bomb calls your office and here’s a drab receptionist who has no clue how to handle that call. You just blew all that time, money and effort is gone now because of your receptionist so please take this seriously. Okay, so that’s wrap for this episode. And I would love for us to subscribe to Beauty and the Biz if you haven’t already. And of course, a five-star review would be terrific. And then if you’ve got any feedback or questions or other topics you want me to cover, I’d be happy to so just leave me a message at catherinemaley.com or you can always DM me on Instagram at catherinemaleymba. Thanks so much, and we’ll talk soon.

Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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