Becoming a Top-Notch Scheduler
A dental office is similar to many other businesses in that it also has a salesperson. That person is the one who calls and schedules the patients for their dental care, which includes recall visits‐‐the Scheduler.
It takes a tremendous amount of skill, acquired through knowledge and practice, to be a highly effective recall scheduler. This skill is best acquired while you are seated in a chair calling patients, with a tape recorder hooked up to the phone*, and then going back over each call to see what worked and what didn’t. This type of learning is very real. There are some mighty good sales courses around and one can learn an awful lot from them, but the application and practice of what you’ve learned is what is effective. This is because “simulated” selling oftentimes doesn’t give you enough experience with the real‐life objections and “escape‐and‐evasion” maneuvers that patients sometimes use when you are attempting to appoint them.
The communication techniques on how to schedule patients, as outlined in this section, can instruct you on well‐proven ways to make your scheduling successful and rewarding.
How many times have you heard someone say to you: ʺOffer them a choice,ʺ as in the question
Would you prefer Tuesday or is Thursday the best? Small minor points, like these, will not give you the ability to make your practice boom. Most people, especially the more professional people, do not buy things or schedule and keep appointments because of minor points like the one just mentioned. They buy or respond because of the service and the benefits that they feel could be worth their investment of time, money and inconvenience to go to the appointment.
The remainder of this section focuses on exactly what to say, and how to fully schedule your practice.
The first major step in becoming an effective recall scheduler is to assume full responsibility for the job and realize that the financial well‐being of the entire office is on your shoulders. This is why the recall scheduler must be a perpetual student of communication skills and techniques (sales techniques, if you will). Without these skills, your batting average will be so low and your communications to your patients so irritating, that you may be actually hurting the office instead of helping it.
One of the first things to know about the job is that you are selling the benefits of the dental services rendered in the office, not the services themselves. One would be crazy to think that people want to come to the dentist to have dentistry done! They don’t come to have the work done as there is not always pleasure in that. They come so they can have the benefits and/or future benefits of the services received.
Do you want to come in for an appointment?
Would you like to have teeth without cavities?
Would you like to have healthy teeth without cavities and gums that don’t bleed and be free of infection?
This one datum is the most important thing to keep in mind: You are offering benefits, not services. From this standpoint, you must develop techniques that work for you in scheduling patients.
Realize also that most people you contact will have basic objections to scheduling. Handling their objections and considerations is the key to success. Although there may appear to be hundreds of different objections, you will find that they all will fall into one of seven basic categories. Knowing these categories and being confident in handling these objections will make your job a breeze.