Tips for Terrific Telephone Technique

  1. Internal marketing starts with the initial phone contact with your practice.
  2. Be friendly (as if other patients are listening and watching you; as if your boss is evaluating you and you are very confident in your performance; as if God is watching and you are giving him a good show!)
  3. Develop a style and “sound” that says “I’m on”..a rhythm like an experienced telemarketer …dance with them.
  4. LISTEN to the caller. Be calm and attentive. Don’t talk while they do. Wait your turn. Acknowledge what he has said. In certain situations, repeat back to him what he just said to you. This draws him out and gets more information for you to work with.
  5. Always let the patient know you understand what they want. Don’t spare conversation. Use verbal and emotional “mortar” to strengthen the conversation. Practice this…it is a learned skill.
  6. Be calm, courteous, attentive and fresh. Give the impression that this call is the only one you had answered today. You’ve been sitting around waiting for someone to talk with..
  7. Change words, phrases, sentences occasionally.  Keep your conversation fresh and lively. Remember the patients listening to you from the reception area. You don’t want them to hear you sound like a recording.
  8. Polish your style. Be confident and sure of yourself.  Know the names of important people,.referral docs, nearby physicians, offices, restaraunts, know your own geography, behave like you know what you are doing…beware the airhead stigma.
  9. ALWAYS use good manners, say please and thank- you. Don’t use the hold button frivolously.  Ask permission first and explain why you are having to use it. Be polite to everyone, you never know who you may be talking with.
  10. If you have to deny someone what they want (i.e. to talk to the doctor) be especially polite and gracious. That makes you look  good and professional…think about it.
  11. Take your cues from each caller. Change gears for each one.  Talk with each caller one-on-one.
  12. Address the caller by name when you return to their call and  thank them for holding.
  13. Assume a partnership with caller, have a”let’s figure this out together..” attitude. (The results from this will amaze you!)
  14. Although honesty and candor are to be admired, never say “I don’t know” and leave it at that. Always add “..but I can find out for you” or “but I know who does know..” etc.
  15. Think…use your brains! You are there to serve the patient…do what it takes..That’s how you earn your pay.
  16. Eliminate all the negative phrases you can think of…there is almost always a better, more positive, way to say it..
  17. Follow through all your promises
  18. Treat your co-workers as politely as the callers…don’t have two faces.
  19. Use the patient’s name often.
  20. Use the doctor’s name often.
  21. Get the messages recorded accurately, confirm, don’t assume.
  22. SAY THANK YOU.
  23. Don’t talk down to other people…they may be old, but not stupid.
  24. Pull the chart.
  25. Guard against earshot conversation…interoffice, personal or about other patients.
  26. Guard against excessive laughter…patients will wonder if you are laughing at them or other patients.
  27. Know the doctor’s schedule in your head,,.you never know when the computer will be down and you will need to wing it.
  28. Learn to tap dance so you can entertain the audience on those days that never end.
  29. Be calm…no need to panic..it spreads like the plague.
  30. Use your own best judgment at all times.

Source: Sandy Longstreth Boles