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Ep.20: Fix Your Phones with Flip Scripts

Ep.20: Fix Your Phones with Flip Scripts

In-depth advice on what your receptionist should be doing and saying!

Easy dialogue transitions to keep your receptionist in control of the call to get more consultations!

Practical overview of the importance of mystery shopping your own practice!

…And much more!

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FREE advice call with Catherine

Episode transcript:

Beauty and the Biz

Ep.20: Fix Your Phones with Flip Scripts

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of the cosmetic practice. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients are Saying, as well as consultant to cosmetic practices to get them more patients and more profits. So, it just turned fall. Although it’s funny in Sausalito, fall is summer because finally the fog goes away, the sun comes out, it’s clear, it’s gorgeous. So, this past summer, actually in August, I had a facelift. And it wasn’t just a facelift, it was a 61-year-old version of facial reconstruction, like it was, it wasn’t just rejuvenation, it was like renovation. And I’m not ready yet to talk about my journey because I’m still healing, it’s been seven weeks. It’s been a long journey. And I love doing this because I am a cosmetic patient. I’m not just a consultant to plastic surgeons, I am that patient that you want. Because I’ve got the, you know, the financial wherewithal, I’ve got the mental capacity. So, I can understand every side of this, from the surgeon side to the patient side. And what it’s like to spend money on things like this, make rational decisions out of irrational thinking. It’s so emotional, it’s crazy. But the reason I’m waiting on this is number one, I want to wait till I’m completely healed and ecstatic about my result. And there are so many lessons to learn there. And that’s why I want to dissect this to give you more value. Because the more you understand how the patient experience is and what they go through and the emotional ups and downs, the more we dissect that, the more you’re going to have tools, and the background to help that patient through their journey, so they love you. Especially when they’re looking really beat up. And they’re starting to question Why did I do this? Why did I spend this kind of money? What the heck was I thinking? I’m not at that stage, just because I trust the process so much, because I understand it. But because I understand it, can you imagine people who don’t, if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, because you, you know, you think you know until you’re in the middle of it. And then you’re like, holy cow, there’s a lot more to this than I realized, which is kind of good. Because most of the time, quite frankly, if we knew you know, how difficult anything was going to be, we probably wouldn’t do it.

So anyway, I’ll be talking more about that but I’m about let’s say 85% there. And I want to wait though, because I want to really feel the emotions of what I’ve been going through. And then when you get to the point where you say, Oh, my gosh, I love this, that. Now that’s the Holy Grail. So, we’ll talk about that soon. But in the meantime, today’s episode is kind of a continuation and it’s called ‘Fix Your Phones with Flip Scripts’. I’ve been talking about phones, I talked about last week and this week, because they’re so darn important. And also, because I want to help you with your phones, because most of you are losing a lot of money on the phones. So, I want to give you a raise. And the beauty of this is you can get a raise this year without adding more staff, without spending more on advertising, if you would just fix your phones. And you can use my popular flip scripts, I call them flip scripts, and their hardcopy flip scripts for your receptionist to keep by the phones and you get it for free when you let me train your staff for you. So, I have a new converting club for receptionist and all the details are at I’m really surprised I got that URL; do you believe that? I got, surprising. Anyway, I’m going to train them to professionally represent you on the phone and convert more callers to appointments because nothing’s going to happen until somebody is able to convert this patient to an appointment. And then they’re also going to be held accountable. You know, you can train your staff, you know one day or send them to a conference, but what are the chances that they’re going to retain any of that and keep up good habits that they only learned for one day. So, I want to hold them accountable by watching my training videos, and then taking quizzes after each video. And then my staffs are actually going to be mystery shopping them monthly and sending you report cards so you can see their improvement because quite honestly, life in general is all about never ending improvement and if you don’t stay on it and watch numbers and watch behavior, we all have a tendency to go back to our comfort zone. And what you want to do is up your game and really stand out because that’s what’s going to make all the difference in the world. Because here’s what I do know, that’s really true, every single cosmetic practice can use help with their phones, I have never met a practice who didn’t need help with their phones. So even when you think you’re good to go, are you sure about that? Are you really sure? Does your staff answer those phones the same way when you’re not there? I’m sure you’ve– I don’t even know if you’ve ever mystery shop your office, because oftentimes most of you call the back line, because you want to get in right away. Well, you should try getting in the regular way, like a caller has to, you know, is that a good experience? And also, is your staff consistent or do they go back to their bad habits, and that’s what I have found. The reality is, nobody’s a born Rockstar receptionist. Now there are certain people who have a knack for the phones. And I love them, they’re fantastic. When you get them, hang on to them because they sound great but they still need scripts and strategies, to bond with your callers and ask for the appointment. So, I put together a quick list of the biggest mistakes I hear made on the phones. And I’m not saying this flippantly. I mean, we’ve been at this, I’ve been at this 19 year, I’ve been mystery shopping forever all over the nation. I’ve done a little mystery shopping internationally, but it doesn’t work as well, so it’s just I usually stick with the US. However, you can join my club if you’re International, it’s just I’m not going to be mystery shopping probably internationally, because they’re going to catch that we’re American. Anyway, here are the biggest mistakes I hear made on the phones, awful phone trees, oh, God forbid, the goal, just so you know, the goal is to have a caller reach a real human being within three rings, these phone trees are going to be the end of me. Also, getting a receptionist who has zero enthusiasm. You might as well not even have run to the phone at that point. Another big one is the receptionist doesn’t ask any questions, so they never engage with the caller. They just answered the questions, so they never actually take control of the call. Another big one is they put patients on hold way too long. I’ve called practices that literally, they put the patient on hold three times in less than three minutes, that’s not good for you. Not good for your business. And then another big one is they just never asked for the appointment. It’s really amazing. The objective of a receptionist, sometimes I don’t think they’ve even been told this, the objective is number one, to book the appointment, or number two is to get the contact information, so you can nurture them so they’ll eventually book an appointment later.

So, using some of my flip scripts, I just wanted to give you a taste of the flip scripts that you’re going to get when you join my club at So here are a couple quick tips. You want to first think about the caller’s point of view. Because you want to keep in mind the caller, you know, their prospective cosmetic patient, they’re most likely calling around others in your area, because they’re looking for a safe haven or a practice where they feel comfortable. And that all starts with your web presence or your social media, you know, actually your internet presence, like who you are on the internet. And now the second vital step in that experience is when they call their office, is your internet presence congruent with that person who’s going to pick up the phone and help the caller get to an appointment with you? Boy, I will tell you, it’s often very incongruent. So, this is, by the way, this is a super serious prospective patient. I know your receptionists often say, Oh, they were just price shopping, they were just looking around. Well, of course they were because look how we have to market. We have to be everywhere in today’s world, you have to be entertaining and informative, and it’s exhausting. And so, there’s a good chance you have a lot of polls in the pond as they say. So, there’s a chance these prospective patients found you on real self, bumped over to your website, went over to your social media. So, they’re clicking like crazy. And so, if they’re actually serious enough to pick up the phone, that’s unusual, because what can they do? They can now dm you on social media, they can fill out a webform asking questions. They’re not dying to pick up the phone. That’s why you get so many of these leads that you say are flaky, those are the flaky release when they’re just typing something to you. But when someone literally picks up the telephone to call you, that’s huge and you want to do everything humanly possible to get them through that process. So then let’s start with the greeting because the greeting really does set the tone for the entire discussion. And your image is determined by your receptionist, voice, tone and energy. And then by the words they say, because if you think about it, that’s all you have to go on when you’re making a phone call to somebody that you don’t know from Adam, what are you basing it on? you’re basing it on their voice, their energy. And then what you know, obviously, the words they’re saying, but first, your feeling amount, which is what you’re hearing, right? So, your staff has got to be smiling when they pick up the phone. They’ve got to be enthusiastic; they’ve got to be friendly. And then they’ve got to have a good greeting. So, a typical everyday standard greeting is Hello, Dr. Grate’s office, Sheila’s speaking, how may I help you? Now, you can bump that up just a little bit by adding a couple little nuances. For example. Good afternoon, thank you for choosing Dr. Grate’s office. Sheila’s speaking, how may I assist you? There’s some psychology there, when you say thank you for choosing Dr. Grate’s office, now they’re thinking to themselves oh, okay. Yes, I chose their office. Uh huh. So, it helps.

Now, if you want to stand out, you want to add even more. So, here’s another idea, Good afternoon. Thank you for choosing Dr. Grate’s office, the premier practice in the area, Sheila’s speaking, how may I assist you today? Okay. And now that was 1 2 3 4 5 sentences, but you’re saying them very quickly but you’re, again, you’re anchoring yourself as the premier practice. So that helps set the tone for the caller to know oh, okay, I’m calling someone special. Now, you can also, I call this add an ad. So, you can also introduce a new procedure by adding a different line. So, let’s say you don’t want to say the premier practice in the area, what you could say is good afternoon. Thank you for choosing Dr. Grate’s office now offering skin tightening, Sheila’s speaking, how may I assist you? Okay. So, you have lots of ways of to greet a caller. However, here’s the caveat, just be consistent. If you’re gonna say something cool, or neat or different, be consistent with it but then you’ve got to bring your voice. I called an office once and girl said, Good afternoon, you’ve reached Dr. Grate’s office where we make dreams come true, how may I help you? And she said it like that really flat, and you can’t have a greeting, where we make dreams come true and talk flat, it just doesn’t make sense. And that’s an office that the surgeon has the right idea, but they haven’t implemented it correctly. Because you can’t, you’ve got to have it all. If you’re going to have a really cool greeting, you have to bring it on every single call. And I don’t care if you get 50 calls or 500 calls, it’s got to be consistent.

Now the next big one is you’ve got to track the referral source of where they’re coming from. So, you can have the receptionist say I’d be happy to answer your question, Sarah, and first, can you tell me how you heard about us? Because you’re trying to figure out number one where this caller came from to help you with your marketing efforts. But also, how far along are they in their process? Because there’s a good chance she’s gonna say, a girlfriend told me about you and I wanted to have what she had done. That’s a much different phone call or phone discussion than the patient who says, Well, I saw you on your in the internet. And I’m trying to figure out what is a deep plane facelift. You know, that’s somebody who’s still very much in the research mode and you want to figure that out. Now, here’s the good news, we have so much technology at our disposal in today’s world, you literally can track every call, you can record every call, the technology can pick up the caller’s name, phone number, the date of the call, how long the call lasted. There’s a lot you can do now with technology, I highly recommend setting that up because the phones are so important. And of course, if you need help with that, just, you know, hit me up on my own website, ask me a question I can tell you about that. Now, here’s another caveat. A lot of you are not using on hold messaging. A lot of you are still using the radio, God forbid, because it’s got like, you don’t want to use the radio. It’s got advertising on there and oftentimes your competitor will be on there. You want to use some kind of on hold messaging. And again, if you need help with that you let me know. But there are lots of places who can customize some on-hold messaging for you. And what I like about it, you’re using on hold messaging to distract, but also to educate and most of all to brag about you because if you let your on-hold messaging brag about you, then you don’t feel like you have to do it. And it just giving your callers more ammunition for why they want to choose you versus somebody else. And I will tell you, I’ve noticed all the mystery shopping we do, patients will wait like two to three minutes if there’s on hold messaging, but they’ll wait less than one minute without it. So, I highly recommend it, it’s well worth the money, I don’t even think it’s that expensive.

And then when it comes to transferring calls, here’s another big caveat number, there are two things here. Number one, you want to make sure you get their name and number, if you don’t have technology tracking all that, just make sure you get their name and number before you transfer them. So, it’s very simple. You just say, Peggy, I mean, our coordinator, Peggy can just answer your question, so let me get her for you. May I get your name and number in case I lose you. And so, you’ve got that. Otherwise, if you transfer somebody never make the caller repeat themselves, you know, you’ve called Big companies before where you’ve had to say your story three times, because they keep transferring you. And I hear this a lot on calls where the receptionist has transferred the call. She doesn’t bother telling, you know, passing the call off professionally, she just passes to call off. Now the coordinator picks up and says hello, Elizabeth. And now the caller says, Yes, this is Sheila and Elizabeth will say Oh, sure. What can I help you with? And she’s like, are you kidding me? I just told everything to the receptionist. It’s those little things that are the difference between an okay practice and a premier practice, you have to decide if these little things are important enough to perfect than not? And here’s my answer. You want to perfect these little things because as we get commoditized in this industry, it’s the little things that are going to make the biggest difference.

All right. Now another big area is how can you be helpful to the caller, because you’ve got to have some of the answers they want. So, they can move forward. However, and this is a really big one, and this is what I train on in my converting club for receptionist, you’ve got to be helpful, but you are not the information booth. You are the control tower when you’re the receptionist at a desk. And you’re the ambassador to the surgery practice. And you want to have some very tight guidelines about the questions you are going to answer and the ones that you’re not. But here’s the real tip here, whoever’s asking the questions controls the call. So, here’s what I would do as the surgeon, I would get your team together and I would decide as a team, what questions are you okay with the receptionist answering and which ones aren’t you? So typically, I would say the boundary is when they start getting clinical? That’s when the receptionist gets out of that discussion. But if it’s something very simple, like, how long does it last or is it painful or what’s the downtime? How much is it? That kind of stuff, the caveat is, you’ve all got to be clear what is the answer, and then everybody has to be consistent with it. Because that perspective, caller will ask the receptionist, then when they arrive, they’re going to ask the MA who escorts them to the room, then they’re going to ask the coordinator again, then they’re going to ask you the surgeon again. So, it’s really important that you all be very consistent with that. Now, here’s my other big tip. You want to answer a question with a question, and there will be no pausing. What I find in all of this mystery shopping is the caller says something, how many treatments will I need? The receptionist says four, and there’s this pause. Well, that’s not being a professional receptionist, you never pause, you just answer the question and jump back in with your own question, which is when can we see you?

So, here’s what I recommend when you’re going to be the control tower and not the information booth? If it’s an easy question, you answer it, no pause and go straight on to when can we see you? So, for example, if the caller says, how long am I going to need for recovery? Well, the receptionist says, Oh, sure, Sarah, so you typically need four to seven days, and then some patients take a bit longer. Now my next available appointment is Thursday, October 14th at 3pm. Does that work for you? Do you see how I put all of that together and I nicely kept the call going to when can we see you? I’m telling you; it works beautifully when you’ve got the right receptionist with the right voice, with the confidence and with the scripts and strategies. It blends in smoothly. So, you stop all the questions and you go straight to ‘when can we see you’ it works really nicely.

Now, if a question comes up and you know it’s going to and it’s going clinical because it’s coming, that’s what they do, they ask about scarring and anesthesia and how long am I going to be under and you know, goes on and on. The minute it gets clinical, your receptionist should just be ready to say, that’s a great question for Dr. Grate and answer personally at your consultation. So, does October 14 at 3pm work for you? Do you see how I’m just going to smoothly keep going to where I want to go? Which is when can we see you? Now we all know they’re going to ask about price. That’s what we all want to know how much is it? The tip there and it needs to be tattooed on everybody is pre framed before price. Here’s what’s happened in our industry. If this were all about price, then patients could go anywhere, they could go to Mexico, they could go to, you know, Taiwan, they can go to Ohio, they can go to Miami, they can go anywhere they want because everyone’s all the same. And we all know that’s not true. But we know that but the prospective patient who doesn’t know our industry doesn’t know that. So, if you don’t talk about more than just price, you’re going to get stuck there because that’s all they have to go on. The reason their price shopping is nobody told them what else they should be looking for. Even though you think you tell them on your website and you think you say it to them and social media, they’re not hearing it until it’s their turn, they’re on the phone saying how much is it? Now you want to give them some reasons why the price is what it is. So, here’s a super simple example. So, the you know, the young breast Doc patient, by the way, that’s the toughest patient because they’re the most price sensitive. And they frankly, nowadays almost don’t care. They just hear what they hear. But you don’t actually want that kind of patient. You want somebody who cares about you, you know, and what your skill and expertise is. So, for example, if they call, your receptionist would say, Oh, sure, Sarah, I can help you with that. And just so you know, Dr. Grate performed more than 900 breast [inaudible] with great results. And he was voted top back this year by our local magazine. Now [inaudible][22:05] starts at 6500 or only $120 a month if you use our affordable pay plan. Now our next available appointment is Thursday, October 4 at 3pm. Does that work for you? Now, I said an awful lot in that response. We bragged about you because you’ve done 900 breast Docs, so that should tell them something, oh, this person’s done a lot of these. And you were voted top Doc because quite frankly, the younger demographic, they do care that you’re popular. And if you’re voted top Doc, that’s why I threw that one in. And then you’ve got to deal with this price. I don’t know how in today’s world, you can say I can’t tell you until you get here, I think you have to tell them something. So, it could start at or range from. And then I do like to buffer it by also throwing in the trailer that, and it could be only $120 a month because we offer affordable pay plans. And I use the word affordable instead of financing plans because financing is scary, but affordable pay plan is easier. And then we go right on, no pausing, just go right on. And our next available does that work for you?

Now, if you do charge a consultation fee, which I highly recommend in today’s world, because it’s gotten so flaky out there, but you also don’t want to take that for granted either, you’ve got to pre frame a consultation fee, because they’re gonna, you know, that can go sideways pretty quickly, especially if your competitors don’t charge it. You know, there are still plenty of practices that still have that mindset, you know what, I’ll just take anybody who comes in, no problem, we’ll close them when they get here. But you know, the no show rate can be awful, and it can ruin your day, it can ruin your mental stress level. And it always happens in threes, doesn’t it? You can have three in a row on one day. And then you’re like, that’s it. That’s it, we’re charging consult fee. I actually would go ahead and charge a consult fee, but pre frame it. So, you’re just going to say, and Sarah because Doc. Grate’s so busy and in high demand, we do charge a $100 consult fee and that does go towards your procedure. Do you see how I always frame it ahead of time, and then I buffer it after? So, it’s kind of like a sandwich. Okay. And then what’s the big one, the big one, the number one skill that will turn your receptionist into an exceptional receptionist. And I spend a lot of time training them on this, is to ask for the appointment, you’ve got to ask to get. So just give them the scripts and the skills to do so. So, here’s an example, when you’re going to convert the call, we’re going right back to answer the question with a question. So, you can say Helen, you answer her question, Helen, is there a certain day of the week that works better for you or should I just tell you our next available appointment? And then I do love scarcity. we human beings are funny about certain triggers, and one of them is scarcity, we want what we can’t have, it just is the way we are. So, use that to your advantage. So, you could easily have your receptionist, say, Sally, you should know Dr. Grate is very popular and he’s typically booked out two to four weeks. However, I see next Tuesday at 3pm just opened up if you’re interested. Little things like that can make all the difference in the world from converting 30% of the callers to converting 50, 60 70% of the callers. And then if nothing else, please get the contact information. A cosmetic patient is a moving target. They called you today, I guarantee for a reason. They weren’t just sitting around doing nothing. But let’s say they didn’t book, they still have a pain that they want a solution too, so you might have missed it on this one. But all is not lost. You can get their information, and then add them to your email list, keep in touch with them somehow, let them know when things are coming up. So, for example, to get your contact information, just have a script ready. And this is what you get in my club. Well, Sarah, it seems you’re not quite ready to book a consultation. But I’d be happy to send you our E newsletter with exclusive web offers, if you give me your email address, or would you prefer I mail it to you. And so, either way, they’re going to say email or mail. And if you mail it, but you do an E newsletter, no problem, you just print it out and put it in the mail to them. And then you call them and say, by the way, I can email this to you if you prefer. But you know, quite frankly, in today’s world, if they want hardcopy that’s almost better because it’ll last longer than an email. So, keep that in mind. And then you can always make sure to invite everybody to your event, to if you have collected a bunch of contact information from people who called you, and they didn’t move forward, what a great opportunity to call back and say, Hey, we have an event coming up this this month. And I thought of you because you weren’t quite ready to schedule with this, so this is a fun way to get to know us better. And the doctor is going to be there. And we’ll have food and wine and we give away samples, the doctor gives many presentations. And we even have very special pricing that evening. And again, you want to ask, you know what I can mail or email invitation for you and a friend. But frankly, in today’s world, I would probably say I can text this to you if you’re interested. And then now you’ve got their cell phone, which is even better. But the reason you’re throwing in for you and a friend is, nobody wants to go to an event where they don’t know anybody, it’s not fun for them. So, if they bring a friend, this becomes a fun night out. And now you’ve got two prospective patients.

So that is a sampling of what your receptionist is going to learn when she joins my converting club for receptionist. Now the details are at and here’s what they get, there are 18 training videos where I personally laid out the strategies and the scripts that they need to effectively convert the call to appointments. But then they have to complete a very simple quiz after each training. By the way, the training videos are very short, because everyone has such short attention spans today. So, I keep them short, like three to five minutes, then they answer quizzes with important information because I need them to learn and retain the most important points. And then we make two mystery calls each month. And it’ll be on the various services you offer. And then I have my staff fill out a report card and it has criteria that they follow that they learn in my converting club, and then I have my staff answer the question would you have booked. And that’s really important to know, because my staffs doing it from a consumer point of view. And that’s what we want to hear. And then I also critique it from a more professional point of view. So, then we send you the monthly report cards and the call recordings. And then you get to decide if you want to share that with your staff or you just want them to know that they are being monitored. It’s so true when we know we’re being watched; we certainly act better, so it is true here is anywhere else. So, the report cards are fantastic, the call recordings are great. And you can also monitor their progress, you can see for yourself, what a difference it makes when you have staff that’s professionally trained, and held accountable. Regarding accountability, our technology allows us to know how many times they’ve gone online to learn and grow, how many videos they’ve watched, how many quizzes they’ve taken. And if they’re not doing it, that’s when I get a hold of you and say either they don’t have the time to do it or they don’t have the interest. But either way, we need to fix that and you’ll be happy to know you know, how things are going at your front desk, you need to know things like that. And then by the end of their training, by the way, the trainings are only three months and six months. Although what I find is a lot of people renew because either they’ve got new staff or their staff has been doing so much better with accountability that they just don’t want to mess with it, and they want to keep it up. But once they’re done with the training, and they watch the videos, and they pass all the quizzes, we do, give them a certificate, it’s very nice. It’s called the best practices certified telephone ambassador. And they can proudly display it, and it makes them feel more professional, and it makes them up their game. And isn’t that what we’re all trying to do here. And then of course, while the supplies last, I’m going to give you my popular hardcopy flip scripts for receptionist, will ship it to you. And it’s really great, you keep it at the front desk, and they just flip through the scripts that they need. So not only were they trained on it, but now they’ve got something right in front of them, kind of like little index cards that are flip scripts, and it can help them with the cause.

Now, because of this, this is how you give yourself a raise this year without adding more staff or spending more on advertising. I’m telling you, sometimes it’s that simple. Rather than throwing more money at advertising or paper click, spend a very small amount getting your staff trained, and when she’s converting, you know, I guarantee she’ll convert at least I guarantee at least 15%. But usually, it’s 15% to 30% in a very short amount of time. Do you realize right there could be a fortune for you, if you’ve been losing callers that are worth– I mean, what if– let’s say you’re doing a lot of body work. And let’s say your average account is like, your average order size is like $8,000 for surgery. I mean, if you just gain one more caller a day, that’s 40,000 a week times, let’s just say 50 weeks a year. Wow, that’s a lot. But please go to and then let me train your receptionist to be an exceptional receptionist, that’s the whole point. You want to up their game and up level your practice. So, I hope that was helpful. I’d love for you to subscribe if you haven’t already to Beauty and the Biz, and share this with your staff with your colleagues. And of course, go to and leave me comments or questions or other topics you’d like to hear about. And then of course, you can always follow me on Instagram, I am going to be showing my facelift journey. So, if you’re not following me now, you might want to because I’ll be showing the photos. And that is Catherine Maley, MBA. And with that, I hope that was super helpful and I will talk to you soon.

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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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