Calling a dentist for the first time is, for many, an act of courage. This is especially the case when the caller is responding to an invitation e.g. direct mail solicitation because then, in addition to the usual trepidation may be other concerns like ‘what’s the catch?’
I learned early in my career that what happens after the phone rings is every bit as important as getting it to ring in the first place. Unless and until they come up with a way to deliver dentistry over the Internet, the telephone will continue to be the main gateway people use to learn about your practice. This means the front office team can literally ‘make or break’ your marketing plan.
A survey we conducted in 2007 found that 78% of respondents cited as their biggest dentistry marketing challenge getting their team to properly field telephone inquiries from prospective patients (converting website visitors to patient appointments was second, and getting prospective patients to call came in third).
Prof. Albert Mehrabian’s research while at UCLA determined that three components comprise our communication. These three components are:
- The visual component, that is, what people see: the motion and expression of the face and body
- The vocal component; the tone, resonance, and projection of the voice
- The verbal component, that is, t-h-e- a-c-t-u-a-l w-o-r-d-s s-p-o-k-e-n
When measured, the effect of each component on the believability of the message showed that:
- The visual component accounted for 55%; more than half!
- The vocal component contributed 38%
- The verbal component contributed just seven percent