Every dentist knows that getting the phone to ring with the right type of patient is no easy task. Time consuming and often times expensive, it can lead to a lot of worry.

Reception is the face of your practice, every patient that comes through the door, calls on the phone or emails in will deal with your receptionist before they see you. Everything about the patient experience with the front desk will dictate how that ongoing relationship with the patient will go.

In order to properly reflect your brand you should consider a number of things. Your receptionists need to focus on communication skills with your patients. Even if they're busy they need to be able to handle calls and patient interactions in a professional and helpful manner. This projects a professional image and can help make a great first impression. Reception is a vital vein in your sales and marketing mix.

What helpful reminders could your receptionists use when communicating with patients?

Answering phonecalls with a smile. How do your receptionists handle phone calls when the office is busy and the phone is ringing off the hook? Using a common sales tactic can help - draw up and implement a script. It will help your reception focus on what's import.

When on the phone to the customer, whether it's a regular customer, a customer looking for an emergency appointment or an angry customer, the receptionist always needs to remember to listen to and respect the customer. This can relax them and is particularly helpful for irate customers.

Whoever is at the front desk also needs to remember how their behaviour is perceived. Putting a caller on hold for a long time can put them off. Eating or chewing at the desk while on the phone will too. Not acknowledging a customer who comes into the practice or talking to another staff member while the customer waits is also a huge no-no.

You should view each team member as part of your sales and marketing mix. How can you help them be their best if they are not natural sales people? One way is to send your practice on a basic sales course which will teach them all about how to communicate with a potential lead (or in this case, patient) and close the deal There are plenty of courses out there and almost all will do but it's important that if this is something you choose to make sure your entire team go on the same course so that they are all on the same page when it comes to sales.

Another way of helping with your sales is to view your reports in your practice management software. Your dental software should be able to help you make data driven decisions when considering how your practice is doing. It can also help to develop and set key target for your reception staff.