Most people who work in a dental office know how important it is to promptly answer the phone. Some of us even understand the importance of answering it through the lunch hour. It seems pretty simple, when the phone rings, you answer it. Believe it or not there still are a few dental offices out there who do not make it a priority to answer the phone during the lunch hour. They just don’t get it. It really makes me wonder, what exactly is the phone to them? Is it nothing more than just an interruption to their lunch? Why do they even have one?
As many of you already know, I am a office Manager. A few years ago I used to work for a large group practice. The office was huge, lots of space, which allowed the Doctor/Owner to rent out a few of the rooms to a couple of specialists. Both of these specialists had their own staff, their own computers and phone lines. We did our thing, they did theirs. One of the specialists did a great job of running their practice, they had a nice receptionist who came in and answered their phone. The other practice was the other side of that coin, a whole different story.
The other practice did not have a patient coordinator, receptionist or anyone available to greet their patients and answer their phone. This practice consisted of just the Doctor and his one Assistant. I am not sure if they were that busy but their phone sure was, I heard it ringing off the hook all day, especially during the lunch hour!
Yes, you heard me correct. They did not answer their phone when it rang during lunch. Oh, if they happened to be walking by it and it rang, they would answer it. But for the most part they carried an attitude that said; “the patients can just leave us a message and we will call them back when we are free.”
Then in the next breath, they would wonder why their schedule was empty.
Crazy isn’t it? Crazy and annoying! I wish that I had a dollar for each time that I had heard that phone ringing off the hook. I no longer work at this group practice but the other day I did a Google search and found their website. I was not surprised to find that this specialist was no longer located at this office, and according to Google, he wasn’t anywhere, Google could not find him. It is my guess that he did not answer the phone when they called!
Answering your phone during the lunch hour seems like a no brainier to me but I am betting if you asked the offices who do not answer the phone during the lunch hour, you would find the response you would get would be something like “we all want to eat together” or “we just needed a break. “ Those employees are often the same ones that do not understand why the office is so slow!
At our office, we all answer the phone during lunch. We have a phone in our break room and each one of us takes a turns answering it when it rings during lunch. This way we all get to eat lunch together as a team and the phone gets answered during this crucial hour. It is a win/win for all!
Do you answer your phone during lunch? If you do not, you should start.
With your success in mind,