Whether you run a small dental practice or a large oral surgery office, every call you miss equals revenue lost. Statistics show that 67% of callers will hang up if they can’t talk to a real person. So if you are sending callers to voicemail when things are busy, about 7 out of 10 of them won’t leave a message.
With patients zipping in and out of your office, insurance questions, copays, follow-up appointments – and your ringing phones – things can get really hectic at the front desk. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a backup dental answering service that could pick up the slack when your phones are going non-stop? Yes. It would.
If you’re in the market for a professional telephone answering service to support your dental practice, there are 5 key features that any good service should have:
- 24/7 Answering: Your service should offer overflow support for when you’ve stepped away from the desk or are at lunch, and after-hours coverage is a must. You may also want to forward your phones 24 hours a day. Whichever way you slice it, 24/7 live operator assistance ensures that no one will wind up in the dreaded voicemail system.
- HIPAA Compliant: Businesses that handle Protected Health Information (PHI) will need their answering service to be HIPAA compliant. This usually means that medical professionals won’t be able to call in for their messages, but will need to access them in a secure web portal. If the service allows text messaging, messages must be encrypted and sent through a system that is separate from traditional SMS texts.
- Appointment Scheduling: The majority of calls your practice receives will be for scheduling, rescheduling, or canceling appointments. Having a provider that can manage your calendar eliminates the need for your staff to return scheduling calls. You’ll want to provide your service with a calendar where you’ve pre-filled available appointment days and time slots. Also remember that to maintain HIPAA compliance, the service provider won’t be able to re-schedule or cancel appointments as they will need to view PHI in order to accomplish that. Make sure they when developing your script, paths for cancel and reschedule will simply be sent securely to you office.
- Personalized Scripting: Most services will have stock scripting that they use for all accounts. While that may be fine for your needs, you should still have the option to edit the script whenever you would like, make it more personal, and tailor it to the specifics of your office.
- Free Trial: Any live-voice service worth its salt will offer a free trial. Often, this includes 2 weeks of free service or answering a certain number of minutes during the trial period. You’ll also want to carefully review your script, make necessary adjustments, firm up call handling and procedures, and get the feel for how the operators work. Always try before you buy.
Whatever call center you decide on for your dental office, having round-the-clock live phone coverage will unburden your front office and give patients the high level of care they deserve.