“Thank you for calling; please listen carefully, as our menu items have changed.”
Can we stop this already?
What is going on, my friends? This is your boy, Troy. It’s the Practice Growth Machine Podcast, Episode 1. If you missed the intro episode, go back and check that out. You’re gonna like it. It sets the stage for the whole show and what we’re doing with this thing, so go check it out.
As promised, today we’re talking about a piece of technology that you probably have in your practice. And it’s not back in the exam lanes, it’s not in your surgery suite … it’s a piece of communication technology that is destroying your conversions. It is keeping those empty consult slots empty on your schedule. And I’m talking about your phone system.
This is an area where practices lose a ton of prospective patients. And I’m specifically talking about one little part of your phone system. It’s a little piece of technology called the automated phone tree. Nothing screams “you’re just a number” like an impersonal voice recording that’s reciting a menu to me and then reminding me, “Hey, make sure to pay attention because our options have changed.”
What are we doing? Here’s the deal. You’re trying to get people to give you 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 dollars, maybe more for a surgical procedure. But as soon as they work up the gumption to call, we’re actually giving them work to do. Wait. Listen to a recording. Think about which of these items you need. Hope somebody picks up when you tap the button. Hope you pressed the right button. Hope you can get back to the menu if the button didn’t work.
One of the worst things in life for me, this is probably true for you too, is when people make it hard for me to give them my money.
I am trying to give you my money in exchange for a thing or for a service. Why are you making me jump through hoops to get it? Look. I’m not saying that all friction is bad. Selectively added friction in certain places is fine, it’s appropriate, and it works. That’s a whole another episode.
No friction should occur on the phone call. Especially not the first phone call. “But Troy. We don’t have the manpower to have a live human being answer the phone.” Look, you rearrange a few things and you will. But until then, let’s take a second and talk about a few must do, must have items. If you’re going to use a phone tree, make sure that these things are in place.
Okay. If you’re using a phone tree, three things we need to pay attention to. Number one. If somebody presses zero, it’s got to go to the operator. Period. No question. If somebody calls you up and they say, “I’m tired of this phone tree. I just want to talk to a person.” Hit zero. That better ring somebody’s phone.
If somebody hits zero and your phone tree says, “I’m sorry, that’s not a valid option,” and then starts the menu over again, that person will never call you back. You will lose their money, you will lose their referrals, you will lose everything related to that person because you just made it hard for them to take action.
Zero must go to an operator. And by operator, I mean front desk, somebody who can get that person in the right direction.
Number two. Make sure on your voice recording that you’re using somebody excited and happy in your office to record the message. Don’t get random whoever just to record it ’cause you need it done. Find the peppy, happy, young lady or young gentleman to come on and read the recording with a vivacious, excited tone in his voice so that your prospects, when they’re calling in, at least get the vibe that your practice is awesome, is happy, is welcoming, and has a lot going on.
And number three, never ever under any circumstances ever send somebody to voicemail. Now you might say, “Well Troy, that’s not happening here. We don’t send people to voicemail.” First of all, you need to check your phone tree and make sure that people aren’t going into somebody’s extension, it’s ringing three or four times, and then their voicemail is clicking up.
I am not Mr. Technical guy. I don’t know what kind of phone system you have. I can’t tell you how to technically fix that. But I know if someone’s extension is ringing and it rings a few times and they don’t pick up, that better boomerang over to somebody else.
No one should ever be directed into a voicemail because that is a voicemail that will not get left. That person will hang up, they will say … They might even say to themselves, “I’ll just call back later.”
They’re not calling. They’re not coming in. They’re not paying you. They’re not having a procedure. They’re not referring their friends there. Maybe I sound a little bit worked up about this.
Maybe I sound a little bit too excited and passionate about a topic as seemingly mundane as your phone system. But let me tell you millions of dollars every single week are lost on the principles that I just went over with you.
So recap today’s episode. Number one. Use live people to answer your phone. Don’t use a phone tree. If you must use a phone tree, make sure zero is going to an operator … Make sure you’ve got a happy, excited, fun, upbeat person doing your recording … And three, never send somebody to voicemail. Alright.
Go and check all those things. Have your administrator check them. Walk through the phone system and make sure that there are no stones unturned. Make sure that nobody is getting dumped off into somebody’s voicemail. Or worse yet, getting just disconnected. ‘Cause that happens a lot.
People just get disconnected. You hit one, you hit three, you’re going over somewhere else, it rings a few times, disconnected. Unless you want to be disconnected from a full surgery schedule, go get these things fixed.
We’ll see you on the next show.