Overcome Bad Phone Habits with Continuous Feedback

Corey Johnson


Two bad habits commonly plague the general population: poor posture and poor phone handling. While the two may sound vastly different, bad habits in general are more similar than you’d expect.

Breaking out of routines and developing the skills to overcome negative habits often requires a similar approach of receiving ongoing feedback and consistently implementing newly learned habits.

The Impending Doom of Slouching 

Let’s take poor posture. On average, 80% of the American population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Between the demands of work and school that lead to poor posture, as well as the sedentary lifestyle of many Americans, it’s no wonder back pain has become so widespread. It’s an ailment that many of my own colleagues suffer from, including myself. 

Many businesses have jumped on the train of solving poor posture with an array of devices. Standing desks, back braces, and exercise ball chairs are just a few of the many solutions on the market. My office decided we would try UPRIGHT GO in an attempt to save our backs from the eminent pain and suffering of poor posture. 

UPRIGHT GO offers an adhesive device that you place on your back. Connecting to an app on your phone, the device detects your posture and provides detailed insight into your slouching statistics. When using the “training” mode, the device will even emit a slight vibration to remind you to straighten up when it detects poor posture.

My office discovered, first and foremost, that we all have terrible posture. That said, we also discovered the device worked to correct our posture due to the ongoing feedback it provided.

Each time one of us felt a buzz on our backs or saw a notification on our phones, we’d be immediately reminded to straighten up. If any of us even mentioned posture in the office, we’d all be reminded to correct it. The simple act of discussing the challenge and bringing it to mind was correcting our form.

Furthermore, we found when the device was removed, our bad habit of poor posture slowly returned. UPRIGHT GO provided ongoing feedback that was leading to improvement, but it was necessary to continuously utilize the device to see results. It was the Hawthorne Effect in action—what gets measured is what gets managed and improved. 

The Lackluster Phone Handler

Switching gears a bit, let’s consider the habit of poor phone handling under the same lens. Most dental practices and their staff suffer from poor phone handling habits. Over time, bad habits commonly develop among teams. The phone becomes less of a priority, and a lack of ongoing feedback leads to continuously deteriorating phone skills. Often, staff may even be friendly and helpful with patients on the phone, but technical skills such as the ability to convert appointments decline.

To combat this, many practices spend thousands of dollars on one-time, expert phone skills training for their staff. The challenge with such training is that even if the content and lessons are top-notch, staff will inevitably fall back into old patterns and poor habits. Without the ability to consistently hold staff members accountable for their phone habits and offer ongoing feedback for improvement, poor habits will continue to emerge.

Similar to the solution my team found with UPRIGHT GO, managers must utilize a solution that provides staff with ongoing feedback and ensure phone handling becomes a regular topic of discussion in the office. Keeping phone handling top of mind leads to improvement both for the office itself and the patients it serves.

Most top dental practices leverage technology that records and reviews every single phone call their teams handle. This not only creates accountability for staff, but also provides them with clear metrics and feedback for improvement. Working with their managers, staff members are able to set goals and track their continued efforts.

Additionally, the same top practices often implement regular one-on-one and group training where staff members listen to actual patient calls, discuss common phone handling challenges, and role play optimal habits. These offices are developing feedback loops that prevent poor habits from reemerging. 

While poor posture and poor phone handling may sound like strikingly different bad habits to overcome, the solution for both is clear. Leverage tools that offer continuous feedback and accountability. Given the opportunity, teams will rise to the challenge and develop improved, consistent behaviors.

Mr. Johnson is a senior account executive at Call Box. Doctors and owners call Corey to increase their bottom line through enhancing the patient experience over the phone and converting more opportunities. Corey earned his MBA from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he studied how the power of data can affect organizational change. To learn more about Call Box and our innovative tools to help your practice leverage the phone, visit callbox.com/dental or call (833) 259-9484.

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