Why, How and When Dental Practices Should Use Professional Voicemail

Picture of Dan Mills

Dan Mills

Field Sales Consultant

The voicemail (previously known as an Answerphone Machine) was developed way back in the 1930s. It wasn’t until the 1980s for it to be widely adopted by businesses – and is still a hugely popular and useful business tool today. However, in recent times, voicemail has been drastically improved to deliver more value to businesses, while at the same time, making the customer experience better.

When it was first invented, it was a large bulky device, that was connected but separated from your actual Phone System or Phone Line. Now it’s simply software built into a Phone System. But, in this blog, we’re going to look at what these drastic improvements are, and how Dental Practices can take advantage of Professional Voicemail to increase their success.

Let’s take a look…

What Is A Professional Voicemail?

Answering Machines were simple devices. They simply activated after your phone stopped ringing and allowed callers to leave a brief message. However, modern Professional Voicemail can offer so much more. Professional Voicemail is an automated answering service that meets the following requirements:

01. The message communicates meaningful and helpful information to your patients.

02. The message sounds perfect and creates a positive impression of your dental practice.

03. The length of ringing before the message is played (and the message itself) is automatically adaptable for different times, days and purposes.

04. Voicemail messages trigger an instant notification (on the handset, PC, or Smartphone App) to the Dental Practice and can be accessed and listened to easily and instantly from anywhere in the world.

05. The Voicemail System should (if wanted) give Dental Practices the option for patients to “press 1 to be connected to the emergency out-of-hours service” if one is offered by your practice.

Top 6 Reasons Why Professional Voicemail Is Important For Dental Practices

Still not convinced that your restaurant needs a professional voicemail? Here are 6 reasons you should consider having one:

  1. It provides an excellent service to your customers, making information about your establishment accessible during busy periods.  
  2. It enables seamless access for your customers to create opportunities for bookings.
  3. The messages you create can answer your most commonly asked questions. This frees up staff’s valuable time, not having to answer the same questions.
  4. A well-thought-out voicemail message gives you the opportunity to promote future events and keep interest high.
  5. It can create a positive and professional impression in your customer’s mind.
  6. It’s the perfect opportunity to outshine other restaurants in your area that don’t have professional voicemail and provide a better caller experience.

Questions You Should Answer Before Deciding How to set-up Your Dental Practice’s Professional Voicemail

In this section we’ll look at the different features Professional Voicemail offers Dental Practices, and discuss the best ways to use them.

How Many Different Messages do we Need?

Is one message for any time of the day enough? Probably not. Let’s look at why.

By only having one message which plays both when you’re open and closed, your message will not be specific enough to deliver the correct communication to your patient. The message will also likely be tediously long.

Two messages usually hit the spot. One message for when you’re open, but can’t answer – is called an OPEN VOICEMAIL MESSAGE. And another message for when you’re closed – called a CLOSED VOICEMAIL MESSAGE.

This way you can tailor the message to deliver useful, relevant information to your patients. (It’s worth noting that modern Yo Telecom Phone Systems automatically switch between Open and Closed Voicemail Messages depending on the time and day of the week – so your patients always hear the correct message.)

How do You Communicate a Meaningful and Useful Message to Patients?

The first thing you should find out is what patients want from a voicemail.

Here are some things patients said they want from a Dental Practice’s voicemail:

– To know they’ve called who they intended to.

– The reason why the call wasn’t answered.

– When they can speak to you (opening hours).

– What alternative methods of communication are available.

– What to do if they have an emergency.

– When their call will be returned if they leave a message.

– Guidance on what they should do to speak to you as quickly as possible.

I’d advise that you don’t try to fit all of those points into one message. Decide which points are most important for different times of the day and create a message around what is important to you and more importantly your patients. Patient expectations can vary, so it would be helpful to ask your patients what they’d like.

So, with the above information, you can start to wordsmith a meaningful message for your patients. Here are two examples of messages we’ve created for a Dental Practice:

OPEN VOICEMAIL MESSAGE

“Thank you for calling [name of Dental Practice] – the home of convenient dentistry since the 1950s.

We’re sorry we can’t take your call. We are open, but currently busy helping other patients.

We aim to return all calls within one working hour, so please leave us a message with your name and number and we’ll be in touch shortly.”

CLOSED VOICEMAIL MESSAGE

“Thank you for calling [name of Dental Practice] – the home of convenient dentistry since the 1950s.

We’re sorry we can’t take your call right now as we’re closed.

We’re open from 8 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday, and closed on the weekend.

If you are in need of an emergency out-of-hours appointment, we can help. We now offer appointments 24-7, 365 days a year. The call-out fee is £189 plus the price of the treatment you receive.

To be connected to the out-of-hours dentist please press 1 now.

Alternatively please leave us a message after the tone and we’ll aim to call you back when we open.”

Will Returning Calls Promptly Lead to Happier Patients and More Revenue?

Short answer – yes. But why?

Professor James Oldroyd of MIT discovered that if you call back within 5 minutes of a patient’s enquiry, you are 100 times more likely to reach the patient as opposed to calling back after 30 minutes. This proves the importance of returning calls quickly.

Let’s take a look at what can happen when you leave it too long to call back.

The patient has unanswered questions or unsatisfied needs and wants, and may start to search for alternative dentists on Google… and voila, within 15 seconds your prospective new patient (or existing patient) is on Joe Schmoe Dental Practice’s website, reading all about why they should get their treatment done by Dr Schmoe.

On the other hand, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.

A patient leaves you a voicemail message on a Sunday – and is expecting you to call back on Monday.

But you have a Yo Telecom Dental Practice Phone system and get the voicemail instantly emailed through to you. You listen to it and find out the caller has stumbled across your website and is interested in implants.

So you call the patient right away. Do you know what happens?

You exceed that prospective patient’s expectations on the first interaction. And that sticks in their mind. You don’t just say you offer great service, but you prove to this caller you offer great service.

In this scenario, you satisfied the patient’s need before she even made it to Joe Schmoe Dental Practice’s website.

Pretty smart eh?

Should We Give Patients the Option to Speak to us Directly out of Hours?

If you offer “out-of-hours” emergency service, you want to make it easy for patients to contact you.

If you don’t offer an out-of-hours emergency service you may want to consider it for the following reasons:

01. It’s extremely valuable for both patients and your practice.

02. It differentiates your practice from the competition.

03. It can be a good (and sometimes untapped) source of new patients.

04. You can charge higher prices for emergency work.

05. Emergency medical and dental treatment improves communities and lives in times of need.

However, most practice owners and managers do not want patients to have their mobile numbers (even if they offer out-of-hours services). Probably because their partners would not appreciate a wake-up call when your dear patient John Bloggs falls over and cracks his tooth after having a few too many drinks in the early hours of Saturday morning.

So what is the solution for this?

Time-specific Voicemail messages that enable patients to press 1 to be connected to you. And you chose the hours that the message plays, which is to say, the hours you’re happy to provide out-of-hours emergency appointments.

You may want that message to switch off at 9:30 pm, or maybe not.

Whatever suits you, the Yo Telecom Phone System is flexible.

A Professional Voicemail has many benefits for both patients and Dental Practices.

Professional Voicemail is on the upward trend in the dental industry, with the likes of The Dental Group, Knightsbridge Dental, Ferring Dental and hundreds more hopping on the bandwagon.

 

If you’re interested in booking a free demonstration of our dental phone systems to find out more about how Professional Voicemail, in conjunction with all other modernised features, can help boost your business’ success, get in touch TODAY!

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