Table of Contents
- Benefits of Using an Answering Service
- Things to Consider Before Hiring an Answering Service
If you want your practice to grow, then you must ensure that new patients are added to your list of customers and the most important thing is to ensure that these new patients schedule appointments and show up for them.
Research shows that around 87% of the patients will not call back or do not leave a message if their calls are diverted to voicemail, which means that for every 10 calls that are unanswered by you which are diverted to voicemail, only one potential customer leaves a message. Research also reveals that around 34% of new patient calls are not converted into appointments and around 35% of calls that come into the practice are completely missed, which means that around 76 out of 100 people who could have been scheduled for appointments have gotten completely missed and that’s immense opportunity lost and loss of revenue to your dental practice.
Having an answering service can help you grow your dental business irrespective of whether you’re a single-person office or you have many dentists and assistants working along with you. An answering service can answer your calls while you are busy with your patients, schedule appointments and also provide after-hours answering services. This can help you improve your customer service, while you can focus on your patients and also grow your dental practice. By making use of a professional call service, all your customers will get a live receptionist on the telephone to answer all their queries in a friendly and professional manner, irrespective of the time of the day.
During the busiest times of the day, when calls usually go unanswered due to too many calls coming in, the answering service can take over as an overflow receptionist and also answer calls 24×7 so that no patient’s call goes unanswered.
Not only can the answering service help to take calls and provide information, it can also help with managing the schedule of your dental clinic. This eliminates all kinds of scheduling confusions when patients leave messages on answering machines. Using a dental service to schedule and manage appointments can enable you to utilize your time efficiently and also schedule appointments in a way to keep your calendar full.
Setting and updating appointments 24×7 can help to increase the number of hours where appointments can be set and modified, which in turn can result in:
- Increase in the number of appointments.
- Ensures that the office staff becomes more efficient as they don’t start following up with people regarding their messages about their appointments.
- Helps to decrease the number of no-shows.
The main concern when it comes to a medical or dental practice is any emergency situation that may arise after hours when the practice is closed. A dental answering service can be available and respond to calls round the clock. No matter whatever the time of day or night, a patient can speak to a live person on the phone and get information in the case of an emergency.
Your answering service can help the patient to deal with the emergency and how they can get medical help at the late hour. They can also schedule a follow-up appointment so that you can follow-up on the treatment. This is a great way by which you can build patient loyalty and your dental practice too.
Hiring a full-time in-house trained receptionist to handle all the calls can be quite expensive. It is a much cheaper option to get your answering service to handle all your calls, as you don’t have to pay the answering service a monthly salary or an hourly wage just to answer your calls. Instead, you only pay per minute, which can result in significant cost savings. The plus is that you can get a medically trained, HIPAA compliant service at a much lesser cost.
Getting a call answering service for your dental practice can help in increasing productivity. By having a virtual receptionist to take care of the phone calls, you can get time for other responsibilities. This will also help to free up your other employees and they can get more productive doing other things rather than getting stuck answering calls on the phone the entire day. Also, you don’t have to worry about missing calls when your staff is taking a break.
With an answering service in place that can take calls 24×7, you can now sleep peacefully through the night without being woken up for every single call that comes into your dental practice. All your calls can be fielded by a medically trained receptionist, who can handle all the queries and provide necessary information in case of an emergency through the night. You can also have the option of being contacted at night only if there is a really high-paying dental emergency.
Hiring an answering service for your dental practice can have several advantages, as we have discussed earlier. However, before choosing a telephone answering service for your business, here are a few things you should evaluate:
In the competitive scenario today, nine-to-five telephone coverage is not sufficient. When you outsource your calls to an answering service, your customers should be able to receive support at any time of the day or year, even on holidays.
The perfect answering service for your company should be able to answer your calls whenever required, when your regular staff may be out during an emergency, etc. Most answering services charge the same rates for holiday support and after-hours call taking as what they charge during regular business hours.
It has been found that 80 percent of the people who call, don’t leave voice messages and so you would not really want your patients to be directed to the voicemail on your answering machine when they call your practice. Having an answering service to take your calls is beneficial as they will take care of the caller just as if you were answering the phone.
Today, in the competitive scenario, it is extremely important that your answering service be as flexible as your business. Any changes in the business such as hours, service offerings, employees, etc. should reflect in the scripts in real-time and should not take several days to get updated. The answering service should be flexible and update and release the scripts with altered details immediately.
Your practice may be very small and you may require an answering service to answer incoming calls after business hours. However, with time, your practice and requirements of the customer may grow and you may require other features such as call forwarding, call screening, appointment setting, virtual receptionist, etc. So, the answering service you choose should be flexible and should be able to handle the growing requirements of your business and scale up the services as you grow.
It is a good idea to hire an answering service that employs its staff onsite and also trains them according to you and your customers’ requirements. This will help in better call turnaround times, accuracy of messages, quality assurance, better employee management and a better overall experience for your customers and you.
The answering service should give you access to your account on their online portal. You can manage your call flow and manage your scripts easily via the online portal. You can view your messages, follow up and monitor call times, etc. via the online portal.
Timely support is vital to excellent customer satisfaction and customer experience. All your data should be available in real-time so that you are able to make the necessary business decisions. At the same time, all the messages from patients must be communicated immediately to you by the answering service, so that you can ensure greater efficiency in terms of customer service and also take the steps necessary to support customer loyalty.
Related Reading: your current dental phone system may not have the above features. Here are good options with complete number forwarding functionality to make connecting to virtual live answer receptionists much easier.
- The Top 3 Virtual Phone Systems For Small Businesses
- Affordable 800 Number Providers For Your Patients To Call You Toll Free
- A Great Solution For Mobile Business Lines When You’re On Call (keep your personal cell # private)
Check out the pricing of the answering service. Some of them charge setup fees although there is no equipment installed. The pricing of the calls should be easy to interpret such as charges per call or total duration of all the calls combined. Choose an answering service that offers competitive and transparent pricing with no hidden costs and is affordable.
The answering service should have a disaster recovery plan in place and should be able to handle situations like server crashes, power outages, etc. and they should be able to manage and store data in the case of any disasters. The service company should have handled such situations before but most importantly they should be equipped to recover from any disaster quickly so that your patients do not suffer.
In order to provide excellent customer service to your patients, you should get adequate support. The setup provided by your answering service should be easy, quick and intuitive and it should provide all the information you require effortlessly.
Today, the entire world works “on the go” and your answering service should be accessible via your smart devices too. Many answering services provide a mobile app that helps you to communicate with your employees via chat, monitor calls and make calls while you’re on the move.
Some other aspects to consider before hiring an answering service are:
- The answering service may promise same day activation of services, which can be a cause of concern as the people who will be answering your calls need to understand your business, the requirements of the callers and need to be trained before they actually begin taking the calls. A good answering service will take a few days to understand and train its staff before they get onboard and begin.
- The answering service you hire should have experience that is related to your industry. The staff should be medically trained, especially if they are going to be handling medical-related queries. The service should also be HIPAA compliant and understand that all patient information and records should be kept confidential and secure.
- The answering service should appoint an account manager to take care of your account with them, details related to call scripts, discuss messages, call logs, etc.
- The answering service should provide you with documentation pertaining to each call such as typed call logs, voice recorded format, etc. that you should be able to access from your dashboard.
- It is a good idea to check the reviews and feedback about the answering service you plan to hire, as this can be quite valuable when making a decision about the right service to hire for your business. You can check online reviews or you can speak with current and past clients to know their experience and views about the answering service.
In short, hiring an answering service can be extremely beneficial to your dental practice. Apart from increased productivity and lowered cost, hiring an answering service ensures that each time your phone rings, it will be answered by a specialist, who will provide a more professional experience to the caller. And with lesser missed calls and greater customer satisfaction, sit back and watch your dental practice grow!