First Impressions Count

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The telephone is usually the first interaction that your patients will have with your practice. If the telephone isn’t answered properly with an energized and enthusiastic receptionist, you may find patients not keeping appointments, and there will be holes in your schedule like Swiss cheese. There’s a world of difference between “Doctor’s office, please hold” and “This is Dr. Baum’s office. This is Maria speaking. How may I help you?” The first method is likely to discourage patients from becoming a part of your practice, and the latter is likely to make them feel important and appreciated. In order to ensure that the phone is answered with the appropriate etiquette, I suggest that you have a printed script (see sample below) in front of each phone and that and everyone who answers the phone follow that script. The script begins with identifying the time of day, the practice, and the person answering the phone stating his/her name. The phone conversation ends with the receptionist using the caller’s name, as each person likes to hear the sound of his/her own name. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you have any suggestions on improving your patients’ first impressions with your practice that you would be willing to share with your colleagues, please leave a comment and let us know.

Sample Script for Receptionist

  1. Smile, be enthusiastic (a smile can be heard on the other end of the line)
  2. “Good [time of day], this is Dr. [name of doctor] office”
  3. “This is [the receptionist’s name] speaking”
  4. “May I help you?”
  5. Use caller's name