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    Building trust with patients builds the practice

    It starts with first contact via telephone and continues through patient handoff

    Creating a positive first impression is more than a significant factor during our patients’ first contact with our practices, which is almost always via a telephone call. During the initial conversation, our soon-to-be patients are faced with a fundamental decision—are they comfortable with what they perceive as our practices’ personality? Is it a good fit?

    Tone of voice matters

    Early in the conversation, one main element comes into play, our tone of voice. If the tone is pleasing or reassuring, it may create an effective positive first impression, encouraging confidence, and may have more influence than the words the patient hears. The tone of our voices will matter to every patient and every call, enabling our initial conversation to use the first contact as a character barometer and in constructing a positive practice personality.

    Previously from Ms. Hagemeyer: How I found my mentors

    It is possible to change the sound of your voice. Yes, your voice changes with facial expressions. A smile during a conversation will alter the pitch of your voice; it will sound bright, sunny, and take a tone most will understand as happy. Changing your tone of voice with a smile almost sounds too easy, but it works. Try it. 

    It is important to recognize the significance of telephone etiquette and necessary to make training a priority. Consider this—When the telephone rings, we have an opportunity to positively impress our would-be patient by simply planning our conversations, or we can answer mechanically and risk a negative impression.

    Practice together as a team. Encourage individual team members to listen as they rehearse telephone-answering dialogue. Listen to the tone of individual voices. Just as a smile can brighten our voices, likewise a frown or scowl will lower our tone and may sound more serious.

    Tami L. Hagemeyer, ABOC, FNAO
    Tami Hagemeyer is the lead optician at Premier Vision Group in Bowling Green, OH. She is responsible for all phases of optometric and ...

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    Optometry Times A/V