#15 – Confirm Appointments | Dental Practice Coaching

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#15 – Confirm Appointments

When you do confirmations you go two days out. These are the days you will be calling:

DAY                                                                          CALL

Mon ———————————————– Wed
Tue ———————————————— Thu
Wed ———————————————— Fri
Thu ———————————————— Sat
Fri ———————————————— Mon, Tues

Working with ClientTell

ClientTell must have the downloaded file by 10 a.m. to guarantee that calls will be made same day. They do check the file 4 times per day but they want to make sure everything is good to call.

To generate the report that you will need from the Dentrix System:

  1. Open Dentrix system and sign in.
  2. Open the Appointment Book.
  3. Select Appt Lists from the top Menu Bar.
  4. Select Appt List from the options in that menu.
  5. Click the Right-Arrow to the correct day. (This is usually two (2) days in advance)
  6. Select Appt in the Dentrix Appointment List Menu Bar. Then choose Copy to clipboard.
  7. Open Notepad. If it isn’t in your start menu, you can find it by selecting Start – Accessories – Notepad.
  8. Right click your mouse and select Paste in your Notepad window or just hit Ctrl + V. There will only be two or three lines but the list is very long if you scroll side to side.
  9. Now it is time to save your Notepad document. Just select File from the Menu Bar, then Save As and save as ClientTell. Follow this path: F:SecretariesClientTell. These files are saved by the name of the day you are calling for. Ex: Wednesday you will save as F:SecretariesClientTellWednesday_ClientTell.
  10. The only unusual day is when we set up the Confirmations on Fridays, which make calls for Mondays and Tuesdays. Follow the instructions as usual, you will just be saving two Notepad files – one called Monday_ClientTell and one that is Tuesday_ClientTell instead of just one file.
  11. Now you will visit the ClientTell website to upload. Go to https://secure.clienttell.net and enter the username : __________ and password: _____________
  12. When you come to the Control Panel on the home screen, scroll to the bottom. In the middle of the page at the bottom you will find “Quick Upload”. Choose the date you are wanting the calls made for and Select “Browse” to upload the file you saved, then push “Upload” and once you have a green bar that says Upload Successful you are finished and can log out.

To check the report the next day, just log in to ClientTell as instructed above and choose “Current Report” on the left. It will let us know the results of yesterday’s calls. Another nice feature of ClientTell is they will notify us if they see anything wrong with our file we send ahead of time before sending the calls.

To look at a report of all calls, select “Total number called” and you can see all calls made. When appointment shows confirmed, that means a client has chosen 1 after listening to the entire message. When the appointment shows no response, that means a client listened to the entire message and hung up without choosing an option. Invalid response means that the call had the wrong area code. Hang ups mean a client hung up during the message. Repeated messages means client chose the option to replay. For calls that report Answering Machine, there was a message left.
**You will often see calls when you select “Out of Order” – this means that we simply weren’t able to reach the client for different reasons and these are the patients we call, then put a note in the appointment or g-notes in Dentrix.

The script we use for ClientTell for the Standard Reminder is:
“Hello, This is HealthPark Dentistry with a courtesy call for __________ (patient name). I wanted to let you know we are looking forward to seeing you for your appointment on ________ (date) at ________ (time).”

The script we use for ClientTell for the New Patient Reminder is:
“Hello, This is HealthPark Dentistry with a courtesy call for __________ (patient name). I wanted to let you know we are looking forward to seeing you for your appointment on ________ (date) at ________ (time).
To save you time, please bring your completed health history to your appointment. You can print a health history from www.healthparkdentistry.com at the bottom of the About page.”

**Must be checked off 5 times and then observed doing confirmations to get signed off in the level.***

Supervised by & Date:
1. ___________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________

5. ___________________________________________

___________________________________ __________
Team Leader/Trainer Date

Manual Confirmations

Although we use an automated software system to call our patients every day, it cannot get in touch with everyone. You will make confirmation calls personally to anyone on the Intercept report. You also need to make personal confirmation calls for TMJ patients scheduled for a 1 hour exam. Following are the instructions for personal confirmation calls.

All appointments should be confirmed 2 days in advance. This is a time consuming, thankless job, but is essential. It is amazing how many clients need to be reminded. Preventing one failed appointment will usually cover your salary for that day.

All of these telephone calls are “scripted.” This may seem fake to be told what to say, but we have found that scripts create accuracy and consistency among team members and leads to more comfortable contacts with our clients while you are learning our style. Remember, quality service and our image of quality begins with you.

This is a very short call. It’s usually best to make these calls late afternoon/evening since most schedule changes are settled by that time. Some calls can be made as early as 4:30PM.

When talking with a client, convey these qualities:
1. friendly and polite
a. Remember that every call, no matter how short, is an intrusion.
b. Allow your client time to process your call.
2. don’t be too “official” or assertive
3. don’t interrupt your client

It would go something like this:

“Hello, Mrs. Jones: This is ________ with a courtesy call from HealthPark Dentistry. I wanted to let you know we are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at 2:30. (Client acknowledges) Ok, have a great day. (always finish on a positive note)

If your client can’t make this appointment, don’t schedule at another time.
Recep. Oh Mr. ______. I’m sorry you won’t be able to make your appointment. I know Dr. _________ was concerned that we get that (crown filling, root canal, etc.) done before it gave you any more problems. Are you sure there’s no way you can be here? If “no”- Ok Mr. ____ All our available appointments are filled, I can place on our call list until something opens up, it will probably be 2-3 weeks. Will you be okay until we can arrange that appointment? (If you are confirming two full days ahead, you can reschedule the appointment if you find they cannot keep the appt you are confirming.)

This is done (even if we had another opening the next day) to help our clients understand how important it is for them to show up for our appointments. Make a note of this conversation in the client’s folder and in the computer. Put the appointment on the unscheduled list by opening the appointment book, clicking on their appointment and then clicking on the Break appointment icon. Finally add a note to describe why this person canceled their appointment and make a note in the computer by double clicking on the appointment and making notes in the bottom white box.

If the client plans to make this appointment, ask “Is there anything else we should know that would make your visit more comfortable?” This question will help find out about recent health problems, etc. It also is a great way to finish your conversation. “All right. Then we’ll look forward to seeing you tomorrow (or day after tomorrow) at ________ o’clock.

The only change in your script is for a new client. Here you should say: “Hello, (Mr./Mrs.)_______ this is _________ , Dr. _____’s secretary. Doctor ______ asked me to call and welcome you to our practice. Is there anything I can do to make your appointment easier or more enjoyable? (Write down all comments to help your dentist.)

If you reach a voicemail/answering machine, after the second sentence to say, “If there, is anything I can do to make your appointment easier or more pleasant please call me at ___________. We are all looking forward to meeting you on__________.

If this is a new client, remind them to bring in their Health Questionnaire or come in 10 15 minutes early to fill it out. Before dialing scan the whole day to make sure no other family members are coming the same day. If they are, confirm all appointments at one time.

Don’t make these calls at the reception desk while sitting at one of the checkout seats. You will waste a great deal of time switching between the telephone and clients. Follow these steps:

  1. Set time in your ideal day to make telephone calls (how feeling calls and confirmation calls).
  2. Pick the area where you will make the calls and let your senior secretary know where you’ll be.
  3. Pull the folders for ‘how feeling’ calls. All others, have your script in front of you.
  4. Put a mirror in front of you. Smile. The way you look and feel comes across on the phone.
  5. It’s okay to leave a voice mail message.

To get started you need to scan the schedule for family members coming in the same day – mark these on the schedule so you confirm all the family members with just one phone call. Finally make your calls from the appointment list.

1. Open the appointment book module
2. Set view to the provider you would like to print.
3. Click File, appointment book view
4. Make sure the following are checkmarked:  a. Print day note   b. Print perfect day
c. Print amount

To view the list and change the status:
1. Open the appointment book module
2. Click Appointment Lists, Appointment List (you must use the arrows to move ahead to the day you are confirming for)
3. In this list you will find the person’s name, time of appointment, Treatment and phone number. Check the schedule to make sure you confirm the patient only for the earliest time. If you find other appointments for the same person during the day, click each of the appointments in your list except for the first one and choose status duplicate. Then you can see all the purple appointments do not need called. Now make your calls.
4. After you make the call, record what happened by clicking Status (all the duplicates should already be marked)
5. Select the appropriate message for status
6. Make sure you click the same status if a patient has multiple appointments.
7. You can see when you’re finished noting the status, that it turns a specific color – think of the colors like a stop sign:    a. Red – No answer     b. Yellow – Left message (with person or on machine)     c. Green – Confirmed (You talked with the person)
d. Purple – Is a duplicate (there is more than one appointment that day for that person)

When you’re finished with the schedules you’ve highlighted, you can pitch them – we can look up the confirmations in the computer.

Also, be very careful if a client needs to be premedicated before the appointment. This will be noted as “+” by the client’s name in the scheduler or the client will have a medical alert in the appointment book. Have someone else at the front desk help you in these situations.

Tact
How you say is often more important than what you say. Here are some suggestions:

Don’t say:                                                                                      Do say:
Who is calling?                                                         May I ask who is calling please?
Who is this?                                                              May I tell her who is calling
Who are you?                                                               please?
What’s your name?
What’s the telephone number?                            Do you know the telephone number
there, Mr. Jones?
You’ll have to talk to                                               I don’t know, but I’ll find out and
Michelle about that.                                               call you back yet today if that
would be convenient.
I don’t know what you’re                                       I’m not sure I understand, Mrs.
talking about.                                                           Jones. Could you tell me again
please?
Can you talk louder?                                               I’m sorry, I’m having trouble
hearing you. Would you speak a
little louder please?
We can’t get to it til                                                 We’ll do this as soon as possible.
tomorrow.                                                                 Mrs. Jones, will tomorrow be all
right? (if no) I’m sorry but we
won’t be able to do that for you
until tomorrow. Will that be
satisfactory?
You didn’t talk to me.                                            One of the other secretaries must
I didn’t take your call.                                            have taken your call, Mrs. Jones, but
I’ll be glad to take care of this
for you.
Have you seen the doctor                                     How long has it been since you’ve before?                                                                            seen Dr. _____?
You’ll have to pay…                                               Your balance is…
Wait a minute.                                                       Can I place you on hold while I
Just a minute.                                                        check on this or would you prefer
Hold the line.                                                         I called you back? (if will
Hold on.                                                                  take more than 60 seconds) It will
Hold please.                                                           take me a little time to check on
this.  Can I call you back?
After keeping someone                                       Thank you for waiting, Mrs. Jones.
waiting
You have to                                                            We would like to have …
You must                                                                Would it be convenient for you to..
It’s required
It’s necessary
Are you still there?                                                I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.
I finally found your chart.                                    I can help you now. Loraine is on
Loraine’s too busy to talk                                     another line now. Can I help you?
to you now, can I help?
What’s your name, again?                                 Would you please spell your name for me?

Communication Guidelines
Speaking in an easy paced, well modulated voice
a. Smile
b. Don’t speak so quickly that your words roll together
c. Don’t shout or whisper
d. Don’t mumble

Be a good listener
a. Your note pad will help focus you
b. Don’t focus on what you are going to say next
c. Rephrase what they said to make sure you’ve got it right

Develop good non verbal communication
a. Act interested
b. Good eye contact
c. Appropriate comments during conversations

Encourage the client to talk The difference between a job and a profession is the quality of the relationship you develop with clients.

Never talk “down” to a client (and this includes children) friendly, but professional

Develop a power voice for instant credibility
a. Put lots of emotion and personality in your voice
b. Sound confident
c. Use self disclosure what you like, dislike

We do not personally confirm ortho appointments that are 15 minutes or less (that’s what the auto confirmation service is for). We confirm all others. We do personally confirm new client exams, records and appointments of 30 minutes or more.

Do not confirm appointment for our pediatric dentist’s surgery days. Our pediatric coordinator will make confirmation calls for these folks so she can review the pre-surgery instructions.

Ledger Credit Balances – if you notice that there is a credit balance in the patient’s ledger, do not mention this to the patient. You will learn in Level 3, what things to review to determine if the credit is one that should result in a refund check to the patient. Until you know these things it is best not to inform the patient that he/she has a credit.

Special system for Confirming TMJ exam appointments:
Since we charge so little for this 1 hour exam, it is absolutely important that these patients show up for their appointment. Therefore, we have a special system for confirming these appointments. If you schedule a TMJ exam, then you must make a note in your personal calendar on the day prior to the appointment to personally talk to the patient and confirm their appointment. When you schedule the appointment, you say to the patient, “Tom, I have you scheduled for Tuesday with Dr. Smith for that TMJ exam. Because this is a one hour appointment with Dr. Smith, he has requested that you call us one day before your appointment to personally confirm that you will be on time for your appointment. So, I will make a note in my calendar that you will call & ask for me on Monday to confirm this appointment. If I do not hear from you by Monday at 5pm, then I will have to cancel your appointment.”

Then, it’s up to you to make sure that you follow up on Monday from the note in your planner and if they have personally confirmed this appt, put a note in the appt. If they do not, then cancel their appt.

_____________________          ________________

Team Leader                                             Date