Before we can discover which telephone skills impact your dental team culture, we need to understand the meaning of “team culture”. Culture is simply the way your team does things as work. It’s the sum of two things…. the systems by which you complete tasks and the intangible “feeling” one gets when they walk into the practice (both team members and patients!).
If your intended culture is to deliver excellent dentistry in a safe and comfortable environment, then it’s important that your team understands how to do that. Team members need to be trained in two areas of the practice, daily tasks and the culture. For example, if you’d like your team to show compassion to a caller who has a toothache, your team should be trained to first recognize the emotional side of the conversation. Respond with, “Oh gosh Mrs. Jones, I’m so sorry to hear that you are in pain.” All too often I visit practices that show me their “limited exam checklist”. When I listen to the calls, it sounds exactly like they are filling out a checklist. There isn’t any compassion or genuine empathy. How can a caller expect to feel safe and comfortable if they felt “processed and unheard” on the phone?
How many of you have an onboarding process for every new hire? If the new hire is on the business side of the practice (front desk, financial coordinator, treatment plan coordinator, etc.) do you have them answering phones within their first week? The mindset that answering the phone is a simple task and a great starter task is false. Whomever answers the phone is delivering the first impression of your practice. The level of care on a call must match the level of care the caller can expect to receive in-office. If the person answering the phone doesn’t sound confident, puts the caller on hold to ask questions, or possibly doesn’t know how to answer, “do you take my insurance”, the caller will question whether the clinical side of the practice is confident about the quality of care provided. This is opposite of creating a safe, comfortable “feeling” or “culture”.
To learn more about how to improve your team culture, contact me today at Tracy@TeamCultureWorks.com or call (214) 755-0955.