Your Practice Phone Plan

Written by on September 30, 2013 in Practice tips - No comments

For those of us in aesthetic medicine, the person answering the telephone is one of the most important people in our practices. Who would have thought that this person could make the difference between our success and failure? But one of the most important people in your aesthetic medical practice is the person who answers your telephone.

Medspa owners and managers allocate significant funds to advertising campaigns that make their telephones ring. Yet, they often place little value on the importance of who is answering the telephone when it does ring. According to one study, 94% of most marketing budgets are spent persuading a customer to call but only 6% of these budgets are spent on handling the customer’s call. Typically, we charge our youngest and least experienced staff members with telephone duty. Yet, this is where we need to place our star players. In this article, we will explore how to create a phone plan with a customer service mindset that will convert more of your phone call inquiries into satisfied, life-long clients.

Your Phone Plan

An effective telephone staff member needs to do one of two things: 1) book a consultation, or 2) capture the lead’s information so follow-up can occur. Four key steps will ensure your staff member’s success: 1) create rapport with the caller; 2) capture the lead’s information, 3) book the consultation, and 4) create a follow up plan. Let’s evaluate each step.

1) Create rapport with the caller

Make sure the person answering your phone is happy and enthusiastic. A smile actually comes through the telephone line and is a welcome response to a caller in our sometimes not-so-welcoming world. Your receptionist should be delighted to be of assistance, proud of the practice, and knowledgeable about your services.

Your telephone staff member should ask the caller open-ended questions about his/her goals. For example, she might say, “Tell me a little bit about why you called us today, Mary.” This simple question can get the caller to really open up and will allow your staff member to create rapport. Your staff member should then try to “relate” to the caller – “I understand how you feel, Mary. I too had that problem and found such relief when I got “X” treatment.” (Note: don’t lie here – your staff member should have experienced all the treatments that you offer!). The rapport that is created through the telephone line can make the difference between a caller booking a consultation or not.

2) Capture the lead’s information

It is important to capture the name and phone number of the person who calls your practice. I recommend asking for the caller’s name and phone number immediately. For example, “Yes, I’d be happy to answer your questions about Botox. My name is Karen, may I have your name please? And can you give me a telephone number in case we get disconnected?”

In addition, your staff member needs to find out how the caller learned about your practice. Without this data, you are at a tremendous disadvantage. You are likely spending a good amount of money on advertising campaigns but will have no way of knowing how effective each campaign is. Moreover, if the caller has been referred by an existing client or colleague, you will certainly want to thank that person for the referral. Practice management software programs allow for easy tracking of this data.

3) Book the consultation

Your telephone staff member should understand that the goal of every inquiry phone call is to book the consultation, not sell the actual service. The details of the service can be explained at the consultation. Your staff member should always defer to the consultation: “It is difficult to tell you the exact cost of the treatment until we actually see you, Mary. Dr. Smith will be able to give you a firm price when you come in. And, our consultations are free so you can take advantage of that and come in to meet with our physician.”

4) Create a follow-up plan

If your staff member is unable to sell the consultation, she should at a minimum capture the lead’s email address. “Mary, we have wonderful email specials that we send out each month. Can I get your email address so that I can add you to our list?” When the email address is captured, it should be entered into the practice’s “drip marketing” program so that emails can be sent monthly and your practice stays top of mind. Remember, clients buy when they are ready, not when you are ready.

In addition, your staff member should ask permission to contact the caller again: “Mary, I understand that you are not ready to schedule a consultation at this time but would it be ok if I called you next week to follow up with you?” Then, your staff member needs to actually put this on her calendar and make the call the following week. Follow up is one of the most crucial aspects of lead conversion.

Conclusion

The phone plan detailed above can make the difference between success and failure in an aesthetic medical practice. Invest in your telephone staff members – train them, incentivize them and spend time with them. They are the main conduit for new clients to flow into your practice. Make sure these individuals are prepared to function in this very important role.

By Karen Albright
Owner/Operater, BodyLase Skin Spa
www.getbodylase.com

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