How To Handle Missed Calls For Your Dental Practice

Whether you like it or not, communication over the phone is here to stay. Even when businesses all around the world tend to be picking up more technologically advanced means of communication, the phone call remains one of the most important ways of all business communications. Studies show that 80% of these communications happen over the phone. This number is staggering and is shouting for your attention. Surely, missing calls for your dental practice can be a huge detriment. Did you know that of the total number of unanswered calls, 60% of these patients are likely to turn to rival practices? Suffice to say, not attending to missed calls for dental practice could lead to a pronounced loss for businesses. Properly dealing with missed calls for dental practices is not only essential but unavoidable.

But why and what leads to missed calls for dental practices? Calls are missed due to a variety of reasons. On the patient side, the call can be left uncompleted due to these reasons –

  • Excessive waiting time (call on hold)
  • No response
  • Call leading to a voicemail

On the practice side, you may have had to miss a call due to –

  • Unavailability of staff
  • Occupied by another patient
  • Call received during after hours, lunchtime, or over the weekend.

Why should you bother returning calls?

An answered call reassures the patient that he/she is important and valued. An unanswered call could thus make the patient believe that he is not as valued and would rather want to turn to a practice that would respond to them immediately. Can we blame them? Imagine that a patient has an emergency. Surely, they will look for the next best option. Patients need assurance that their needs would be catered to. Therefore, Handling missed calls for dental practices should be a priority. Dental practices must have a PMS that immediately connects patients to the office as soon as a call is missed. Emittr’s software allows for this provision.

Best ways for dealing with missed calls for dental practices

 Even with the most advanced technologies, missing calls for dental practices is a reality. But how can practices deal with these in a manner which would ensure customer retention? Is your dental practice well equipped to deal with missed calls? To deal with missed calls efficiently is not quite difficult. It can be achieved by following a few simple steps.

  • The most obvious and trusted way to record a patient’s call is the voicemail. Even though the voicemail does not guarantee an instant reply, having a patient’s message recorded does give the practice some leverage to retain the patient. It instills the thought in the patient that their message will be listened to and that they can expect a call back soon. This is the most common way of dealing with missed calls for a dental practice.
  • 24/7 Answering services are also a way to go. During the unavailability of the practice, these services ensure that the patient’s calls are attended and answered. They can be either automated or live answering services. Although answering services offer a better alternative than voicemails, in that it is more instant, it also comes with a fair share of disadvantages.
  • Regularly training your staff to better understand dental jargon and responding to important calls with professionalism is another way to ensure efficiency in dealing with missed calls for a dental practice.

These surely help in dealing with missed calls for dental practices. But you want even more affective and instant solutions. How can that be achieved?

New and Modern ways to deal with missed calls for dental practices

As just discussed, voicemail, answering services, and regular training for your staff are some ways to deal with missed calls for dental practices. These lay the foundation for fostering even better and innovative means for dealing with missed calls.

The drawbacks of these methods are that even though they offer solutions for dealing with missed calls, these can be relatively slow and require frequent time and money investments.

If a dental practice is to optimize its workings, it should be able to do so by investing just once, rather than having to deal with it again and again. For example, let us take the voicemail. Practices must ensure that recorded messages played before the voicemail tone reflect the nature of unavailability in the office. Are you unavailable to attend the call because you are busy or because of its lunch hour? Here, recording multiple messages becomes necessary.

In the case of answering services, if it is a live answering service, the people answering the call must be trained in dental jargon or products and services that your practice offers. Control, in terms of scheduling, is also low with answering services. There is a limit to the support that an outsourced service can provide. If the answering service is automated, it prompts the patient to either leave a message or receive information by pressing various options. For example, press 1 for information, 2 for directions, and so on. This can cause a hindrance to the personalized customer experience that each patient expects.

So how should dental practices deal with these shortcomings? The answer is, by embracing new technology. Ushering in AI-based services can go a long way. The backup receptionist software offered by Emitrr uses this technology.

These technologies are equipped with features that ensure rapidness of response, personalized patient experience, and efficiency among other things.

Automated AI-based 2-way text messaging services easily overcome the shortcomings discussed above. Suppose your dental practice missed a patient call, s(he) either leaves a voicemail or does not follow through. The AI-based text messaging service would immediately contact the patient via text and will be able to engage in smart communication. Anything ranging from patient queries to the scheduling of appointments is handled smoothly through Emitrr’s product. If needed there is also a provision for a manual response when required.

Patients often also leave queries on the dental practice’s website. Here again, the software would quickly pick up the message and respond to it rapidly and turn it into a text conversation with the patient.

Text-based conversations are instant, and they work 24/7. Properly dealing with missed calls for dental practices is immensely important, not only because it helps indemnify against potential business loss but also because it helps build your practices’ reputation. You can be assured that none of your missed calls will go unattended and that your patients have a great experience.

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