Telephone Systems: A Dentist’s Guide to Communicating with Patients

Picture of Derek O'Carroll

Derek O'Carroll

Sales Director

As a dentist or practice manager, you know how important it is that patients can always get through to your practice when they call. It can be the difference between success and failure. If you’re still struggling along with one handset or one traditional phone line in your busy dental practice, it’s likely your patients are having trouble getting through to you at times. If you’ve ever had patients complain or say they have a hard time getting through to your practice, you’re certainly missing out on business and losing patients to your competition. We often see dentists suffering from the same common problems. These problems can be easily avoided by knowing what they are and taking action to solve them.

Here are just some of the common pitfalls we’ve seen with dental practice phone systems, plus some smart solutions to ensure your phone system is working for you and making you money. Rather than working against you and costing you tens of thousands in lost business per year.

Dentist Phone System Pitfall #1 – Engaged Tones

When a patient gets greeted with an engaged tone, you’re essentially shutting the door in their face. Let’s say a patient phones in, she has a hole in her tooth and is in a lot of pain – she wants an appointment as soon as possible. So she heads to Google to find a list of dentists in her area. She calls your dental practice and is instantly greeted with this frustrating engaged tone.

Is she really going to wait around, calling and calling until she finally gets an answer? It’s unlikely. What’s more likely is that she will head straight back to Google to call your competition instead, until she gets the appointment she needs. With a Yo Telecom dental practice phone system, you can have multiple lines in your building, plus as many handsets as you need. So if a patient phones in and a staff member is already on the phone, the call will simply go through to another handset for another member of staff to pick up.

Plus if all your staff are busy on the phone, your phone system will automatically greet your patients, notify them that you are busy on the line and then entertain them with some music or marketing messages – so you can promote your services while they wait. This helps to keep your patients interested and on the line, rather than hanging up and calling elsewhere, as they know their enquiry will be dealt with soon.

Dentist Phone System Pitfall #2 – No Way of Tracking and Returning Missed Calls

On average, dental practices miss 7 calls per day, simply from being busy on the phone and engaged, busy helping patients or closed. When your practice misses a call from a patient (or a potential new patient enquiring) it’s likely your practice will lose out on potential revenue. This is where Call Logging can be a huge help to the success of your practice. It’s a feature of our phone system that works exactly like the call log on your mobile phone. Your phone system will notify you as soon as you receive a missed call so you can take action and promptly return that call. Turning a potential missed opportunity into a booking.

Dentist Phone System Pitfall #3 – No Way Of Tracking And Improving Staff Communication

If a new or existing patient calls you to enquire about treatment and your reception team doesn’t answer their questions correctly or create a great impression of your practice, it’s likely you’ll lose patients plus revenue and profit. Our dental practice phone systems come with Call Recording which will automatically record all of your calls, both inbound and outbound, so you can observe how your staff handle enquiries and look for areas of strength and weakness. Then using proven staff training methods we’ll train you on, you can turn any staff weakness into a strength! Helping you grow the number of patients you take on, increase revenue and raise your net profit!

Dentist Phone System Pitfall #4 – Your Phone System Doesn’t Integrate With Your Practice Management Software

With the number of calls your practice receives each day, valuable time can be wasted by faffing around trying to hear spellings of names or getting up patient records. The Yo Telecom dental practice phone system can integrate directly with your practice management software – meaning your phone system will tell you exactly who is calling before you have even picked up the phone. This will allow you to have the patients records ready and you can pleasantly surprise them by greeting them with their name. Not only does this show a great level of service but your callers will appreciate the personal acknowledgement and will feel valued. Patients that feel valued are likely to become loyal – it’s a you scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours kind of scenario. It just adds to the success of your dental practice!

Dentist Phone System Pitfall #5 – Lack of on Hold Entertainment is Causing Patients to Hang up and Call Your Competition

If a patient calls in and you need to place them on hold while you handle their enquiry, sitting for a few minutes in silence will likely make them very frustrated and maybe even not sure if they’ve been cut off, so chances are they will end the call. What’s worse than silence is having tedious cheesy on hold music, so it’s important you choose wisely.

Playing marketing messages to your patients while they wait on hold for you is a nice alternative to music. Not only are they entertaining but will give your callers a better understanding of the products and services you provide – such as smile makeovers, Invisalign etc. You can also promote any special deals and offers you have. Whatever you feel is best for your practice, we’ll professionally write and record your messages for you. Alternatively, we’ll find you the perfect piece of music to keep your patients entertained on the line.

Investing in an up to date phone system is crucial to the success of your dental practice. Better communication will lead to happier patients and more bookings – which means more revenue for you!

If you like what you’ve read and thought your dental practice could benefit from updating its phone system, give us a call on 02382 146115 to find out more about how we can help your business succeed!

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