After our team did the phone training, we had the notion that we were scheduling everybody who called. In reality, we weren’t. We now call this The “Everyone Schedules” Delusion, and it’s quite a common mistake in practices.
Here’s an example of how this happens:
Caller: “I’m trying to get an appointment at such-and-such a time.” They then ask a few questions (e.g., about insurance or the kind of treatment they need).
The team member answers the questions.
Caller: “Okay. Well, I’m going to check my schedule and call back.”
To a team member, that is a patient who will schedule. Surely, the patient will call back.
The fact is, the person may tell you they’re going to call back but, for some of them, it’s a polite way to get off the phone without offending you or creating a hassle. It’s a polite way of saying, “I’m outta here.”
More than likely, the patient politely excused him or herself because the conversation was uncomfortable for some reason. The atmosphere the team member created wasn’t comfortable enough for that patient. Something didn’t connect—even though the front desk answered the questions and everything was a “yes.”
Capturing Those Calls
Our new patient numbers went up significantly overnight after we were properly trained on the phones. They went up because we were able to capture those appointments from patients who would have found a polite way to not schedule. We got them to a place where they felt comfortable enough to schedule and show up.