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"Do-ya-wanna" turn callers into clients?


Fill your appointment book by asking front desk team members to follow these phone tips.

One of your front desk team's main goals is to convert phone shoppers to clients—that is, to schedule an appointment. If receptionists spend time talking on the phone without a practice visit as the result, they're wasting time, as well as the practice's money. So what's the top no-no during a client call? The "do-ya-wanna" question.

Go right now to your front desk and listen to the receptionist talking on the phone. If I were a betting woman, I'd wager you'll hear something like this: "Do you want to schedule that recheck?" Or this: "Do you want heartworm preventives today?" Or, while not a "do-ya-wanna," still a problem: "Thank you; have a good day!" So what should you hear instead? Something like this:

  • "Dr. Jones needs to see Whiskers back in two weeks for a medical progress evaluation to be sure that ear infection is completely gone. Dr. Jones has a 4:15 appointment on Monday or a 9 a.m. on Thursday. Which time works best with your schedule?"

  • "Congratulations—Wrigley was negative on the heartworm test! It looks like you purchased four heartworm pills in April, so this month is the last of those. Would you like a six months' supply with a $3 rebate or a 12 months' supply with a $5 rebate?

  • "Have I answered all of your questions? Great. We can schedule that new puppy visit we just discussed on Friday morning at 10:15 or Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Which of those times is best for you, Mrs. Bauman?"

Do you see the difference? When questions are asked correctly, they present clients with options—and none of the options is "no." If the client says that neither appointment time works, have the receptionist say, "Well, let's find something that does work. Is morning or afternoon better for you?"

If you change the way your team asks questions, you'll also change client satisfaction, income, and client referrals—all for the better. Nobody likes to hear "no" all day, so ask the questions that lead to "yes" instead.

Donna Bauman, cvpm, is the practice manager at Ottawa Animal Hospital in Holland, Mich., and owner of Visions Consulting.

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