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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Six Seconds To Connect: Part 2 of 2




 Austine Etcheverry
Media Specialist
Part 2 of 2



 A few key factors:
Pitch:  Is the sound of the voice.  Is it too high or too low?  Pitch can also give away our emotions. If we speak in a high tone, it might tell patients we are stressed.
Tone:  At some point we have all probably been told, “Not to take that tone of voice.” It is usually said when are getting snippy with someone.  Tone can set the mood for the rest of the phone conversation.
Volume: How loud is the speaker? Can you hear the words clearly or are they speaking too low.  Keep your volume appropriate for the situation. 
Cadence: Is the rate and rhythm of the voice.  Does your receptionist speak loud and fast, or soft and slow? Or do they speak at an even rate that delivers the message effectively and efficiently?
Breathe control:  Breath control is a yoga technique that is used to control breathing in difficult poses.  It is related your physical condition and posture.  Sitting up straight will help with overall breath control.  Breathing correctly can also help decrease your stress level.   
Pronunciation: A clear, complete message allows the patient to get the information and facts they need.  How certain words are pronounced can change the meaning of the message. 
Before any sporting event, practice occurs.   Warming up the voice before you answer calls for the day can improve your pronunciation, voice quality and clarity in speaking.  Although, most of us have been communicating for years that does not be mean we don’t need practice. 
Let’s face it stress is a part of our everyday world and that strain is relayed in our voices more then we know.  Part of giving the right image to customers is keeping that pressure from impacting our telephone voice.  If individuals in your office are feeling stressed, your patients may be also feeling it every time they call.  Not the message you wish to send.  Managing the tension in our own voice will help build a relationship between your patients and the entire office. 
Encourage your receptionist, to stand frequently to stretch their legs.  Or have them take a break to imagine their favorite vacation spot, especially after they've taken an angry call from a patient. At the end of a heated call, have them take a step back, breathe deep and then answer the next call.   Remember it is not that patient’s fault the last one was upset. 
                            Helpful tips:
1. Always answer the telephone with a smile.  A smile is warm, welcoming and inviting.  People, who smile, pass on a smile to those around them.  When someone calls your office if they are upset, the situation can be diffused before the conversation begins just by answering the phone with a smile in your voice. 
2. Use a comforting tone.  People may have past fear or feel anxious about setting up an appointment or calling the office.  Those fears can be extinguished when they call for the appointment and feel the voice behind the phone is soothing.  If the tone is rushed or harsh, patients may come away with the opinion that your office is full of people who will not take the time to be supportive or won’t listen to their concerns.  A phone call can become quickly heated if the person on the other end feels they are not being listened to or understood.
3. Use an appropriate volume.  If you talk too loud on the phone, patients may not be able to wait to get off the phone with you and may not want to call back.  Likewise, if you talk too soft, they may wonder if you are confident and able to take care of their needs.  Your volume can make people uncomfortable. 
4. Be clear and enunciate the words.  People are busy, so chances are when they called your office they aren’t sitting down in a quiet setting with nothing else going on.  You can’t afford for your message and voice to get lost among the background noises of their life.  Studies suggest people tend to rush middle sounds and drop ending sounds when they are communicating with others.  Being aware of this can help anyone who answers the phone in your office to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
We have all heard the age-old saying, “practice makes perfect.”  This is a case where practice can and always should be done to improve the verbal messages your office is sending to others.  Today, people can go to a hundred different dentists, but can you afford to lose one patient because of bad phone etiquette?   What will your office accomplish in the first six seconds of the next incoming phone call?

Austine Etcheverry is a coach with Salt Dental Practice Management. Savor success and learn more at www.saltdpm.com or contact her at info@saltdpm.com
 
This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin 
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