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Patient Prism's Dental Industry Blog

Here you'll find hundreds of articles and video interviews with dental industry experts on the topics of DSO and practice growth, dental software, call-tracking technology, patient experience and artificial intelligence fueling the dental industries ability to treat more patients and change lives.

February 2020--The Patient Experience Manager of Dental Associates, Christina Villarreal, explains why making first impressions is critical to having a thriving dental practice and provides some tips on how to make that first great impression.


Attracting calls from new patients with your marketing is one thing. Making a first great impression and converting them to booked patients is an entirely different thing. Front desk teams are often untrained, unmonitored, and become complacent about how they answer the phones.

Effective call-coaching with Patient Prism. Schedule a demo ›Those who answer your phone need to be excited to convert new patient callers into scheduled appointments. Those conversions are necessary for growing your patient base and finding new patients who need high value dental services. And when you have an excited team, you can excite new patients who will spread the news about the happy dental practice they visited and enjoyed.


A high percentage of new dental patients are lost on the first call.

A high percentage of potential new dental patients become lost opportunities on the initial phone call. This includes calls that go to voicemail and are not returned quickly, calls put on hold too long, and calls in which there are lags in conversation and little enthusiasm expressed by the person answering the call. Patient Prism software has tracked millions of calls to date and found that before dental practices start monitoring their calls and focus on improvement, 50% or more of new patient calls fail.


It’s the little things that make a big difference in winning new patients.

To make that first great impression, you need to answer as many phone calls as you possibly can on the first one or two rings, ask the caller engaging questions, let them know you want to be their dental home, and not put them on hold more than a few seconds before coming back to them.

New patient callers need to be impressed by how your phones are managed and what you say.

  • They need to feel they have called the right place.
  • They want to be valued. Do you put them on hold? Do you depend on voicemail? Do you make a human connection with them from the very start? Do you inquire about their concerns? Do you demonstrate understanding and empathy? Do you communicate that you genuinely want to help them?
  • They want to be cared for. They need to know they can trust you to care about them as a person more than you care about the dollars you can earn. Tell them you want to be their dental home, not just for the first appointment but for their lifetimes.
  • They need to trust the quality of your care and that other people have been delighted with the care they have received. Don’t be afraid to say, “You called the right place! Our dentist is amazing, and our patients love our care team.”
  • They need to believe that you will comfortably help them with their concerns and that everyone at the office will look out for them and help them when they arrive. Keep up the warm and welcoming tone throughout the phone call and provide assurances for concerns expressed or implied by the conversation. Let the patient know you will be looking forward to meeting them when they arrive, and the entire team will take good care of them.


Enthusiasm and sustained energy are essential.

It’s a competitive market for dental patients, and new patients call multiple well reviewed dentists down a list of possibilities unless you strike the right chord with them on that first phone call. We don’t want them to make that next phone call. We want them to make an appointment with us.

So, keep your energy up and control the conversation so there is momentum towards asking for the appointment. After making a true connection, building rapport, and expressing enthusiasm for the dentist, hygienist, and entire office team, invite the caller to make an appointment. It will be natural to say, “I know you will like it here. Let’s get you scheduled!”


Patient Prism helps us efficiently improve with great ROI.

Building rapport on that first phone call is critical. Otherwise, the caller is likely to decline making an appointment right then, hang up, and call elsewhere. And that’s what Patient Prism is all about and why we use it at Dental Associates to continuously improve the first impressions we make on new patients.

We use the Patient Prism platform to monitor our new patient phone calls. We want to be sure that when new patients call us, we are building connections, taking care of those patients, and booking appointments. The automated data we see on the Patient Prism dashboards tell us how we are doing and where we need to make call improvements. The training videos and feedback notes for Patient Prism’s live call coaches have made it easy to develop the communication skills of our team members who answer phones.

The increased conversion of callers to booked new patients has brought down the cost of patient acquisition and significantly increased revenue. But the greatest benefit has been to the patients we serve. They arrive comfortable and appreciative from the start. We focus on sustaining the great patient experience from that moment on. And at Dental Associates, we value that. Happy patients bring us joy.


More Resources

The Patient Prism blog and the Patient Prism Academy video library feature hundreds of dental industry experts presenting recommendations and examples for leading and growing your dental practice, multi-practice group, or DSO. We have many videos from practice management coaches that provide advice for improving patient communication, converting new patients, and scheduling. We invite you to schedule a Patient Prism demo at a date and time that is convenient for you. 

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