...But it might not be what you think.

The smarter phones get, it seems the more we forget how important an actual phone call is. You probably understand the importance of having a friendly, personable voice on the line in your office, but what happens when there's no one there?

 

 

All of the time, training and money that may have been spent ensuring a great image on the phone can be for nothing if no one is there to answer. When it comes to dentists, many new patients won't bother calling back or even leaving a voicemail and will move on the the next number.

It can be easy to underestimate the number of callers attempting to reach you outside of business hours, but it makes sense. The times when most people have the ability to take a break and make a call like scheduling a dentist appointment tend to fall at times when your office is understaffed or not staffed at all: during a lunch break, after work, after dinner, or on the weekend.

But don't worry, there are ways to fix this, and you may be surprised if you get started today the difference it can make.

Stagger lunch breaks

Don't let your office go dark during the lunch hour; that's a prime time for working people to knock a few things off their to-do list, like finally scheduling a dentist appointment! By staggering lunch breaks between the employees tasked with taking incoming calls, you can ensure no one gets lost!

Hire an answering service

When the phone rings outside of business hours, you could hire an answering service to forward the calls to. There are certain companies out there that specialize in fielding dental calls, meaning your patients will be talking to someone who is knowledgeable in the industry.
Hiring a answering service makes more sense than hiring a staff member to be manning the phones at all times, though it's not the only solution.

Have the calls directed to your phone

If you would prefer, you could always have the calls transferred to your phone (or the phone of a willing employee) so that you don't miss a thing. This would help you capture more patients and make you very reliable source for those you service, though the personal commitment may be a high one.

When you have an open line of communication, you build trust and a strong relationship with the patient. This will not only help you when answering those calls after hours, but will help you gain referrals from your patients. And we all know that word of mouth is one of the most positive ways you can gain business!

Have an engaging voicemail

If you choose not to take the calls after hours, then be sure you have a voicemail that has an engaging call to action to encourage a message. Most people looking to start a relationship aren't inclined to, nor will many of them call back later—there's no trust built at that point, thus it makes just as much sense to try another place.

In your voicemail message, ask them to give you the best time to call them back because you understand that their hours of work may differ from yours. It's a quick way to display understanding to a possible client without communicating one-on-one.

Don't miss out on these patients

Whatever your plan may be for capturing patients that have a different schedule than you, it's important that you don't miss out on these opportunities. It's easy to think that everyone is getting online and reaching you through other outlets, but a phone call is still going to bring you a large majority of business and you want to make sure you are engaging with your patients this way!