How Practice Managers can help their Front Desk team convert more inquiries into patients

Monitoring and tracking your front desk team’s ability to convert callers into booked appointments is VITAL and is often one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to practice efficiency and profitability.

As a busy practice manager or front office manager, you are likely pulled in a million directions throughout the day and are dealing with the constant challenge of trying to manage, lead and motivate your team.

Monitoring and tracking your front desk team’s ability to convert callers into booked appointments is VITAL and is often one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to practice efficiency and profitability. 

About 60-70% of all leads come from the phone/web. With so much competition out there, patients are often window shopping and won’t wait around if a call goes to voicemail, or if the phone rings 8 or 9 times and nobody picks it up, or they are put on hold for too long.  

That is a lot of money to be leaving on the table and leads that slip through the cracks each day due to lack of proper education and sales training when it comes to converting phone leads.

Before you spend thousands of advertising dollars to get new client leads, you need to make sure you have the training and systems in place to capitalize on every lead. A medical spa’s lead acquisition costs are between $250 and $350. A plastic surgery practice’s lead acquisition cost is $500 or more. That is a very significant amount of money, so I cannot impress upon you enough to take the time to train, monitor, track conversions and hold your front desk team accountable. 

TRAINING YOUR FRONT DESK TEAM

We can no longer think about a front desk staff member as somebody who just answers the phones. That will not allow you to have a sustainable and profitable business. Your front office team must be educated about the treatments/procedures you offer, must be able to answer questions and overcome objections, and most importantly, get the patient booked and in the door. 

Your front desk team member is your prospective patient’s very first contact point with your practice, and as the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” 

HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR FRONT DESK TEAM

I want you to take a minute now and think about who you have answering the phones at your practice.  

  • What kind of tone or attitude do they have? 
  • Are they able to engage with callers, quickly build rapport and trust?
  • Can they credential the practice and providers, the WHY people should come to you vs. the competition?
  • How skilled are they at asking the right questions to qualify the caller?
  • How skilled are they at answering questions patients have?
  • How educated are they on the categories of services you offer and the treatments/procedures you provide? 
  • How well can they overcome the price objection? 
  • What about how they handle the consult or cancellation fee?
  • How many callers do they convert and book appointments for? 

Remember, prospective clients take about three seconds or so to decide if they want to talk to the person answering the phone and continue the conversation, or if they want to hang up and call someone else. 

It’s very important to look at the personality traits of who you hire for a front office position. If you have someone in that role right now that is not suited for the position, consider what training and continued coaching they get or receive?  Or consider perhaps moving them into another role that is better suited for them to be successful. APX Platform’s sales training course is designed specifically for front office staff and has in depth skills training for converting phone and web leads.  

BEST PRACTICES FOR ANSWERING PHONE CALLS

Here are a few best practices when it comes to answering phone calls:

  • Pick up the phone by the 2nd or 3rd ring.
  • Greet the caller cheerfully with your name, title, and name of the practice.
  • Thank them for calling and make sure to get the caller’s name and call back number in case you get disconnected. You’ll be able to input them as a contact into your practice management software (PMS) as well. 
  • Use their name throughout the call for a personal touch.
  • Ask the caller how he or she found your practice (You’ll want to track this and enter it into your PMS as well).  Be specific with obtaining the referral source, this data matters.
  • Before placing a caller on hold, ask if you may do so, and wait for their answer.
  • Thank the caller every 20-30 seconds for holding, until you resume the call.
  • Always aim for booking a consultation appointment as the goal of each call.
  • Ask the caller open-ended questions, determine what is bothering them, how long it has been going on, etc. (This will give you a lot of good information on their readiness to book or whether they are just price shopping).
  • Be able to credential both your providers and the practice with your unique value proposition (What makes your practice stand out).
  • Make sure you know what categories of services you offer vs. just the specific treatments/procedures.
  • Don’t ask the caller when they want to come in. Provide an appointment time for them or two options to choose from. This eliminates the opportunity for them to say let me check my schedule and call you back. 
  • Inform the caller about the consultation fee, and WHY? And that it will be applied to any treatment/procedure they book.
  • Inform about your cancellation policy–this values time.
  • Offer to send the caller any additional follow up information you can by getting their email address or mailing address to further complete their client profile in your system. 

TIPS TO MONITOR FRONT OFFICE STAFF

I highly recommend you get call tracking on your phones and take the time to listen in on your team’s calls. This is not about criticizing–it’s about measuring their success and coaching them to improve. Discuss where the call went wrong, or how it could have gone better. I encourage you to practice with them and role play. 

One way to monitor and motivate your team is to run reports on how many new patients came in that month in terms of leads and how many converted. Determine what percentage of calls were converted to a consultation. 

Industry conversion rate benchmarks run around 70% or higher for a medical spa. For plastic surgery, conversion benchmarks run between 50-70% because there is a longer sales cycle. If the prospective client doesn’t book right away, at least they will now be in your PMS for follow up or on your mailing list to help with reach and frequency and touch points along the sales journey.

If you pull the patient report, for example, and see that 40 leads came in that month and only 10 converted to book an appointment, you know you have a disconnect somewhere and must take action to course correct. 

Set aside a time each week or month for a front office team meeting and discuss your goals, whether you met them, where you can improve, etc.  

FRONT DESK SCRIPTS FOR SUCCESSFUL PHONE CALLS 

When I travel to practices and conduct onsite sales training, I listen to front desk personnel answer calls all the time from prospective clients asking for a specific product/procedure or pricing information. Sometimes the caller doesn’t even say hello and by the time you tell them the price, they have already hung up and called the place down the street asking the same question.  

Here is an example of that type of conversation:

Front Desk: Hello this is Terri with ABC Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics can I help you?

Caller: How much do you charge for Botox? 

Front Desk: Botox is $14 per unit.

Caller: Ok thanks, click. 

Here are two scripts (one for a medical spa and one for a plastic surgery practice) that illustrate the cadence of a successful phone call–especially as it relates to pricing. No matter what procedure or treatment your client might be interested in, it is crucial to follow the steps and identify who they are, get their best contact information, determine how they found your practice, credential the providers, credential the practice, and more!

SAMPLE MEDICAL SPA FRONT DESK SCRIPT 

Front Desk:   Hello, this is Terri with ABC Aesthetics. How can I help you?

Caller:  Hi I was just checking online and saw your website and wanted to know if you offer Botox and how much it costs.

Front Desk: Hi there. I’m sorry, whom am I speaking with?

Caller: Oh. Hi. My name is Jasmine.

Front Desk: Hi Jasmine. I’m Terri. I’m the front desk concierge here at ABC Aesthetics. Thank you so much for calling today. May I ask you how you were referred to us?  I know you said you were online.  

(Always use the person’s name throughout the call and gather information to track referral sources for your practice management software)

Caller: Yes. I was just doing a Google search and looked up Botox in my area and your business came up. I want to know how much you charge for Botox and when I could get an appointment?

Front Desk: Ok great, Jasmine. I will be happy to get to that, but first may I get your contact information in case we get disconnected?  

(Always get this contact information because a dropped call is lost lead revenue. Plus, you want to add that to your practice management software for follow up purposes)

Caller: Well really, I just wanted to know your price for Botox. Is that a problem?  

Front Desk: No, it’s not a problem at all, and I am happy to discuss our price range, but before I do, would you mind if I get your phone number just in case we get disconnected? 

(Note, she didn’t give it the first time, so you need to ask again).

Caller: Okay 561-555-1212

Front Desk: Great. Thank you, Jasmine. Ok, so you were looking online, googled Botox and our website came up and you wanted to see about pricing and an appointment for Botox. Have you ever had any neurotoxins before? (I am restating what she said so I have a clear understanding).

Caller: No. I’m brand new to it, but really need to know if it is something I can afford as I’m on a budget.

Front Desk: Absolutely. I appreciate that as I know that it is an investment in yourself. So, I’m going to share with you a little bit about our practice, why we are different, and then get to the investment. But first, can you tell me a little bit about what’s bothering you as we use Botox in many areas and for many purposes.

(Note, I didn’t offer the price, but want to get to know her. Getting the caller to share this information helps you find out more about what is bothering them, whether they are serious or just window shopping, etc.)

Caller: Yes, so when I smile, I’m starting to get lines that look like my mom around the side of my eyes and just wanted to see if that’s something that I can work on.

Front Desk: Yes, fantastic. I totally get it. Well, what you can expect when you come to ABC Aesthetics is first, we schedule a 30-minute consultation with one of our providers which will be either a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Together, our team has combined 30 years of experience in aesthetic medicine. We take a very comprehensive approach, so before you come in, we’ll have you fill out a cosmetic interest questionnaire as we not only offer Botox, but we offer many other treatment modalities. We are a bit different from other medical aesthetic practices out there in that when you come in, we really take the opportunity to get to know you and listen to your needs.  Ultimately, we’ll build out a treatment plan customized for you that will yield the best possible results and outcomes. 

(Here you credential the practice and any specific providers)

Caller: Ok that is good. But can you give me a range of you know the price of what I’m looking at? 

Front Desk: I know you’ve asked a couple of different times about price. Neurotoxins, like Botox, are priced by the unit. So, it’s going to vary based on the number of units that you need, which is why it’s important to come in for a consultation. 

(The caller keeps pushing on price but Im not letting up) 

We charge $14 per unit. Now I know you mentioned the wrinkles around your eyes, but when you come in for the consultation, our providers are going to assess your whole face, because if we just correct the lines around your eyes, you may not be as happy with your results.  We want to make sure you are looking as youthful and good as you possibly can. So, we may recommend treating several areas so that is why the price range will depend on the results you want to achieve and what our providers specifically recommend for you. 

Caller: Well ok but what if I just want to do my eyes? Can’t I just focus on that if it is the only thing bothering me? 

Front Desk: Sure. You can certainly just focus on your eyes. But again, our providers are going to tell you if they think that is the best thing for your face as they want to make sure everything is symmetrical and balanced. And that Botox is the right option for you. 

Caller: Ok well how long will that consultation take? And can I get Botox on the same day as the consultation? 

Front Desk: Sure. The consultation is 30 minutes long and there is a nominal $50 fee which will be applied to any treatments that you book. You can get Botox typically on the same day if that is what is recommended, and you are a good candidate.

Caller: Can I schedule something for today?

Front Desk: Well, we are typically booked out a couple of weeks in advance, so unfortunately, we don’t have anything today. However, I can go ahead and book you for our next available consultation appointment next Wednesday at 1pm or 3pm.

Caller: Ok. Can I just think about it and get back to you? I just wanted to know the ballpark price range so I can compare and see what options I have. 

(The caller went back to price– that’s telling me something)

Front Desk: Absolutely. Jasmine, you mentioned you were shopping around. What is the most important thing to you when you are choosing an aesthetics practice or where to get injections? Is it price, safety or results?

Caller: I guess it is a combination of all three. I’ve been talking to a lot of friends, and they are all getting Botox done now. I just guess I’m a little bit nervous as I want to get it done, but I don’t want to do anything I will regret. And I want to make sure the person knows what they are doing, but I am on a budget so just really trying to figure out a bit more. 

Front Desk: Are there any additional questions I can answer for you? I’m sure you can call many other practices and they can give you prices on the phone, but what we pride ourselves on is making sure we take care the best possible care of our clients and give you a comprehensive treatment plan that caters to your overall needs–not just give you a price per unit that might not be accurate. 

Caller: Ok let me think about it.

Front Desk: Sure, that is fine, but what other factors are concerning you?  Maybe I can help alleviate some of your concerns.

Caller: Well, I am a little nervous and scared of needles so maybe there are some other things I can try instead to help with the wrinkles.

Front Desk: Absolutely and that is exactly why we really like to have this conversation. We want to make sure that you’re prepared, ready, and that you’re a good candidate. So, you mentioned you wanted to come in today. How about I book the next available consultation appointment for you next Wednesday at 1pm. I can hold that appointment with a credit card deposit of $50. That fee will be applied to any treatment you book. You can cancel it without any fee as long as you give us 24-hour’s notice, but these appointments book up very quickly and I know you are interested in getting this done soon. 

In the meantime, I also am going to send you a blog that we wrote recently about neurotoxins so that you can read it and feel safe and alleviate any fears. I want you to feel comfortable. May I have your email address to send the article?  

Caller: Sure, it is jasmine@gmail.com.  And my credit card number is …..

Front Desk: Ok great. Jasmine. We appreciate you calling and look forward to seeing you next week. 

Caller: Ok. Thank you. 

SAMPLE PLASTIC SURGERY FRONT DESK SCRIPT 

Front Desk: Thank you for calling ABC Plastic Surgery. This is Terri. How can I help you?

Caller: Hi. Yes, I’m calling for information on a face lift?  

Front Desk: I’m sorry, who am I speaking with?

Caller: This is Jane Smith.

Front Desk: Hi Jane. I’m Terri, the front desk concierge at ABC Plastic Surgery. Thank you so much for calling. May I get your contact information in case we get disconnected? 

Caller: 713-222-3333

Front Desk: Thank you. May I ask how you were referred to our practice? 

Caller: I found you on the internet

Front Desk: Great, may I ask where? (Get specific)

Caller: I was googling face lifts and your practice came up.

Front Desk: Great. So, did google lead you to visit our website?

 (Im being specific)

Caller: Yes. 

Front Desk: Great. So, I’d love to take a few minutes to get to know you, Jane, so I can provide you with the best information. You mentioned you were interested in a face lift. What is your main area of concern?

Caller: Saggy skin on my face.

Front Desk: How long has this been bothering you and how much research have you done?  

(This will tell you lots of information on their timeframe, whether they are just price shopping, what is important to them, etc. Write down their answers – it is valuable information and will help you direct the next step.)

Caller: I’m just calling to get information.

Front Desk: Great. What type of information are you looking for?  

Caller: Well, I really want to know how much you charge for face lifts.

Front Desk: Ok that is understandable. I know price is important, but let me ask you this: When you are looking for a surgeon, what is the most important factor to you — price, safety, or the getting the best possible results you want?

Caller: I just need to know the price as I’m on a budget.

Front Desk: I completely understand that, and price is definitely an important factor. But if that is the most important factor when choosing an aesthetics practice, we can certainly discuss and offer you a financing program, and or we might not be the best fit for you. Our highly skilled team of experts at ABC Plastic Surgery are one of the top Plastic Surgery practices in the country, Dr. Smith has performed over 1000 facelifts and we are committed to providing the highest quality of care, as we strive to ensure that all our patients get the best results possible.  

Caller: (If they say okay thanks bye. Then, they likely were only price shopping, not serious, and not your ideal client anyway. Most will end up saying:)

Oh no, I mean those things are important to me too.

 

Front Desk: (Now is the time to credential your practice and providers even further.) 

Ok great. Let me tell you a little bit about what makes our practice unique. Dr. Jones has a hand-picked team of elite professionals on his team, including a physician’s assistant, and 2 nurse practitioners. Together, they have more than 75 years of combined experience in aesthetic medicine. In addition, our client care team will make your experience as unique, safe, and comfortable as possible. Dr. Jones has performed more than 1,000 facelifts over his career, and you’ll be in the best possible hands. 

Caller: Wow. That is impressive.

Front Desk: So, what I’d love to do, Jane, is schedule you for a patient consultation. This appointment will be 30-minutes long. We’ll assess your face, and our team will recommend a treatment plan that is right for you. There is a $50 charge that will be applied to your procedure. We have an opening on Friday at 11am. How does that work for you?

Caller: I can’t do it on Friday.

Front Desk: Ok, then how about Monday at 4pm?

Caller: Ok great. Thank you, I will see you then. 

Do you see how following this cadence can help overcome price objections? It might seem like it is a lot of time to spend on the phone, but a few extra minutes to ask the right questions can lead to booking more consultations, which in turn convert to more paying treatments/procedures.  This was just a brief overview. Our comprehensive sales training course within APX Platform goes in depth about phone skills, converting web leads, communication methods, asking open-ended questions, handling objections, following up and more. I invite you to book a discovery call to learn more about how APX Platform can train every member of your team.