phone etiquetteWhile phone etiquette may seem so basic that you think “I’ve got that handled,” it is exactly that kind of thinking that could get practices in trouble. How staff treats people on the phone can make or break a practice.

A team member’s ability to effectively and cordially work with people via phone plays an integral part of your practice.  If phone etiquette is lacking, that unpleasant call may be why that person never comes in or returns your calls. You can spend thousands on marketing and still not be able to schedule patients if callers feel rushed or a team member doesn’t convey caring and friendliness. Why would someone want to come in and be treated that way in person? Here are a few tips to review with your team.


Body language is key. Voices can convey feelings of frustration and irritation. Since a phone call can be a person’s first experience with your practice, you want to make sure every team member is professional, upbeat and prepared. If anyone in your practice is sour on the phone, that attitude reflects on your practice as a whole. Someone on staff having a bad day? Make sure that doesn’t effect the phone call to the patient.

Ask for Permission

Always ask permission before placing a caller on hold and let them know how long they may be on hold. There’s no harm in asking for a time to call them back. “I know your time is valuable so rather than ask you to remain on hold for several minutes, would you mind if I call you back with the answer to your question? Thank you. What time works for you?” Asking permission demonstrates consideration of their time and that will be appreciated.

Dentistry for Dummies

Keep things simple when explaining treatments or procedures. Avoid dental jargon. You want your patients to feel comfortable in their understanding of the care they will receive.


Inevitably, obstacles will arise when scheduling a patient. Perhaps there was a missed appointment or an issue with payment. Whatever the situation, exercise empathy. When you handle issues with care, you maintain your positive relationship with the patient even in the most trying of times. A patient will be reluctant to return if they miss an appointment and get scolded on the phone.

Is it all Working?

Your best bet to make sure you staff is converting the best possible number of patients into appointments is to monitor the phone calls.  this will allow you to pinpoint missed opportunities or areas for improvement by your front office staff.  Great customer service is key to any business so keep these tips in mind to make sure your patients are cared for in all interactions with your practice.