April 1, 2020
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How does your team sound answering the phone? Special Feature with our Advanced Phone Mastery Coach!

As I said at the beginning of the call
last week, I think sometimes that we forget that how we sound on the phone is
really important and I think etiquette is one of those words that people are
like, I’m very polite on the phone I know I am, I know I’m handling it well. I don’t
need an etiquette lesson, and I am NOT saying that anyone needs an etiquette
lesson. I’m just sort of, want to give some gentle reminders about some sort of
nuances of how we deal with people on the phone because I think it can be very
easy to forget that that is a person in need who is calling our office because
every time the phone rings there’s a reason why that person is calling in
that moment and we need to do everything we can to take advantage of that small
window of time and help convert those callers to new patients and get them in
the schedule. So. the first thing I started with the call last week was
asking for what annoys you when you call a medical office or a business. What’s
the most annoying thing that happens when you call and mine was when I call
and someone says, “Doctor’s office, please hold.” and puts me on hold immediately. To
me that’s rude. I would appreciate it if they at least said, “could you please hold?”, so I had the chance to answer. For a couple reasons. One, because that just
seems appropriate it seems polite and also what if I can’t
hold? What if it’s an emergency? That person didn’t even take the time to
think about me as a person. They’re just answering the phone to get it stop
ringing. So I would just appreciate if you do need to put someone on hold
quickly after answering the phone either saying, “would you mind if I put you on a
brief hold?”. And 99% of the time someone is going to say that’s fine. If you feel
like you can take a moment to say or if you think that it’s gonna you know be a
long hold, then what you could say is instead of keep you on hold would you mind
if I took your name and number? I will call you back in the next 10 minutes and
give them an appropriate amount of time because I think that way the person
understand that you’re busy they don’t want to be sitting on hold waiting,
thinking you’re not going to take care of them and then everyone’s bases are covered. So,
for me it’s a huge pet peeve. I cannot stand it. I think it comes off very
rushed and very rude and we don’t want anyone to feel like we don’t have time
for them right. We want every person who calls to feel like we
are going to take care of them, we will make time for them, make time to
take care of them. So that’s my annoyance. I think a couple other people said that
was annoying, a lot of people said they didn’t like if the phone wasn’t answered
and it just went to voicemail. I completely understand that too – that would
be, I guess, number two or in in the running, front running, with um putting me
immediately on hold hopefully and I think every office that I spoke with
last week said they were able to stagger their schedule in a way or stagger their
lunches in a way, however they do it so that the phone is always answered. I
think it’s really important that you find a way in your practice to always
answer the calls. I understand after hours that’s a whole other conversation
to have, whether you have an emergency line or you’re outsourcing to a call
center, but during your office hours the phone needs to be answered.
For a couple reasons, one because if it’s during lunch, I understand your team
needs a break but guess what, the majority people who are calling to try
to find a dentist or make an appointment, they’re calling in their free time
during their day which is usually during lunch. So, if they call and your closed,
they’re thinking, hmm, so they’re closed for lunch, I only have half an hour, I’m
just gonna call the next person on the list because I need to get through this.
I have it in my mind now that I want to make this appointment and I want to take
this chance to just get it done. So, ideally your staggering lunches so that you can
answer the phone. I have worked with an office before who never answered the
phone, every call went to voicemail, because they always had a patient
standing in front of them. It felt like it was more important to deal with the
person standing in front of them than the person who was calling and I
disagree with that. I feel like both of those people are equally important and
there is a way to handle that situation. So I think that the first part of this
is making sure you can stagger your schedule. I know we had an office last
week that I’m going to talk to separately offline because they said
they stagger lunches and they still feel like they’re having a hard time
answering, so we need to work on that because that could be maybe too many
things are happening during while you’re answering too many questions, or
you are allowing the caller to control the call instead of you controlling the
call. And all that is something we’ll deal with in the next, you know, couple weeks.
I’m here to help you figure out what the sort of roadblocks are and find ways to
fix them.

Robin Kshlerin



  1. Leah Chandler Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Wow! Great reminder.