Guide to Phone Answering Services for Dentists

There are many challenges involved in running a dentistry practice. Not only do you need to provide your patients with quality care, but you also need to maintain your equipment, pay staff, adhere to strict health care and information dissemination regulations, and mitigate risks and liabilities.

On top of it all, your phone traffic and scheduling need to be handled in a way that is both efficient as well as far-reaching, ensuring that no potential patient falls through the cracks.

Handling incoming phone traffic can be a hefty burden all on its own, and if you try to keep up with everyone who calls your office by yourself, it can easily become cumbersome to the point of being cost-prohibitive.

Fortunately, there are ways to take care of that while also keeping costs down—and even improving your overall profitability. Phone answering services are the key to improving communication and boosting profitability at your dental office.

Improved Communication

In a successful dentist’s office, you’ll usually see more phone traffic than assistants or secretarial staff can handle during the day. People call with questions, concerns, urgent needs or complications from a procedure, or simply to schedule or cancel appointments.

Keeping up with everyone is a challenge, especially when they call during busy times or after hours, and it’s easy to let people slip through your fingers, especially if you’re already successful. However, it can be detrimental to your success if you do so.

As patients find their calls answered by a machine rather than a person, they are more likely to seek help from someone who is more immediately available. Former patients may not speak favorably of your practice after being left to the answering machine, reducing the number of patient referrals you receive. You may find out too late that an appointment has been canceled, resulting in wasted prep time for a visit or procedure.

Naturally, these all negatively impact your practice, so it’s important to make sure your communication protocols in your office are able to handle your phone traffic. Phone answering services provide a way to handle those excess calls, making sure a live human being answers the phone when you’re too busy or after you close for the day. The phone agent then notifies you of the call, either sending you an email, text or even forwarding the call on to you when needed.

This improved communication maximizes the contact your patients have with your office while also keeping telephony costs down. You don’t need extra staff or equipment to take on those calls, and you ultimately gain more patients as time goes on while keeping those you currently serve.

Appointment Setting

A busy dentist’s office runs on a tight schedule, and it’s vital to continued success to make sure that schedule is filled out and handled in an efficient, effective manner. Phone answering services can not only give a human point of contact to anyone and everyone who calls you, but they can also take some of the load off your secretarial staff as well by handling appointment setting.

When someone calls your office during busy hours or after you have closed, they can set an appointment with a live professional. They will then update your schedule through whatever appointment-tracking software you are using, ensuring your calendar is completely up to date.

When someone—inevitably—cancels or reschedules an appointment, you are notified promptly of the change so as to minimize downtime. The gap in your schedule can be filled promptly or you can make other plans for how to use that slot without wasting time making preparations for an appointment that won’t happen. This not only ensures you are using your time most productively, but it enables you to serve as many people as possible in as efficient a manner as can be managed.

In connection with appointment setting, you can also opt for appointment reminders to make sure you have as few cancellations as possible. After all, people will tend to forget appointments, especially ones set well in advance, so having a phone professional call each of your patients with reminders can be a valuable asset to your practice.

Employee Tracking

In addition to retaining patients and improving their satisfaction with your services, you can also use phone answering services to manage employee tracking. You rely on many people to help serve your patients each day, including technicians, secretaries, assistants, and hygienists, and if one of them doesn’t show up, it can be difficult to keep up with your patients’ needs.

Employee and attendance tracking can help you keep on top of unexpected absences, giving you enough notice to see that you have someone to cover shifts when your staff members are unable to come into the office.

In addition, you can collect data over time, ensuring you make wiser scheduling decisions that minimize these absences in the long term. Your practice will become more efficient both on the operations side of things as well as in terms of helping patients.

Additional Services and Features

Dental office phone answering services provide a wide array of features beyond those described above. These can be adapted to the individual needs of your office, with any of the services listed below providing exactly what you need in order to serve your patients most effectively.

  • Emergency message dispatching, which notifies you of urgent calls
  • Customer service check-in calls to ensure patient satisfaction
  • Virtual receptionist, who fulfills the roles of an in-house receptionist, but at lower cost
  • Technical support, valuable if you and your patients rely heavily on online portals
  • Virtual phone system, which can be operated at lower cost than a physical line
  • HIPAA compliant messaging, which is vital for any dentist’s office using phone services

Ultimately, phone answering services can be configured to meet your office’s everyday needs, ensuring efficient communication at an affordable cost.

These services improve communication, solidify patient retention and satisfaction, streamline attendance tracking, and increase the overall profitability of your practice—a must in today’s competitive society.

If this sounds like the right fit for your practice, contact Keener Communications today at 804-200-5696.