As a practice owner or manager, have you been frustrated by a lack of efficiency on recare calls by your team? I know from my own experience managing a dental office, and from speaking to many other owners and managers, that the front office team often has a different idea than I do about how many recare calls can reasonably happen in the span of an hour.
Let’s talk about a reasonable number of calls made in one hour. To get the scoop on this, I reached out to Cory Pinegar, the owner of CallForce, a company that many dental offices work with to help them with reactivation calls. Since this is specifically what his company does, I knew he could provide some real numbers. Cory says that ideally you would be looking at doing about 20 calls per hour, which typically results in about one appointment for each hour of calls.
If your office has a long way to go in reaching the benchmark of 20 recare calls per hour, here are four solid ways to bring up your numbers:
1. Model what an hour of recare calls should look like.
Many times, we tell a team member what we want them to do and they say they understand, but it then becomes clear what they heard is not what we thought we were saying. It’s important to be clear about your full expectation of what you want them to do. There may be situations where it’s better to show someone what to do than tell them.
Consider spending an hour at their desk doing recare calls. This accomplishes two things. First, it will show them the procedure, pacing, and customer service skills that will turn some of the recare calls into appointments. Second, it will either demonstrate that this task can be done to the level you expect in an hour, or it will show that the set call quota is either too high or too low for what can reasonably happen in the allotted time.
2. Assign someone to doing recare calls for that hour and recare calls only.
Make it clear that recare calls must be their sole activity during this assigned time. Whoever is doing recare calls should be doing only those calls, not covering multiple tasks.
If your recare person is also greeting patients or answering phones, they simply will not be able to get as many calls made. If possible, move them away from the front to make these calls so they cannot be pulled away from this singular task. If you need them to cover more than one task while doing recare calls, then logically they will not be able to make as many calls during that hour.
3. Use other technology to help the employee.
Calls are very important, as patients should hear the voice of someone from the office. However, also incorporating other things like emails and text messages will help. For most patients, it may take multiple calls or reminders before they are finally willing to schedule. Many times, patients hear the message but don’t respond—but they might respond to a text or email.
There are plenty of services available to help with this and should be included with the calls. Either way, we need to reach out to them in whatever way that works in order to get them back in the schedule, and this may not be the same for all patients. Using a service for supplemental reminders takes some of the pressure off the person making recare calls, especially at times when your staff is spread thin and can’t devote an entire hour to contacting unscheduled patients.
4. Make recare calls into a game.
Honestly, with everything we do at the front desk, recare and reactivation calls feel like the absolute worst, which is why I think most offices like the idea of outsourcing it to a company like CallForce. It is boring to continually pick up the phone over and over again with very little validation in terms of people actually scheduling an appointment. Most of the time you get a ton of voice mails, and people who actually answer their phones are likely to react negatively, ranging from everything to “I’m not able to schedule an appointment right now” to “Stop calling me!”
If you’re able to find ways to make recare calls into a fun challenge for your team, I guarantee the number of calls per hour will go up, and possibly the number of scheduled appointments will, too. After all, a team member who is in a good mood and has a positive attitude about recare calls will ultimately be able to schedule more calls than someone who is bored and unhappy. Figure out how to make the process fun and rewarding. It is not just about how many calls the team makes — it is also how many patients schedule.