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4 Challenges Dentists Face and How a Dental Office Phone System Helps

by Ryan Alleman on Monday, August 29th, 2016.

Dentists face unique challenges in today’s market, and one of the first places they ought to look for solutions is their dental office phone system.

The phone system is your practice’s nerve center, where all vital information comes and goes. It’s your lifeline to your patients. It can also be one of your largest office expenses. That’s why, for any dentist, selecting the right phone system is critical to your practice’s success.

Maybe you’re just starting out. Or maybe you’ve been around a while and you’ve got more than one location stocked with partners and specialists. Wherever you’re at, you’re facing the same headaches, like:

#1. Winning and retaining patients.

Attracting new patients and hanging on to your current ones usually comes down to the customer experience. You create a better experience when you establish a rapport with the patient AND provide him or her with greater convenience.

Here’s the kicker: you can leverage your phone system to help accomplish both.

Modern phone systems can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software so that when patients call your practice, their history, appointments, notes, and billing information pop up on the receptionist’s screen.

Imagine a patient—let’s call him Ray—calls into your practice to find out when he has an appointment. What if, instead of having to give his name to receptionist and wait for her to pull up his information, he was greeting with: “Hi, Ray. Great to hear from you. I see we’ve got you scheduled for a cleaning next Tuesday at 3pm. What can I help you with?”

Jive’s Hosted VoIP product, Jive Voice, integrates with many leading CRM providers, including those that focus specifically on serving dental practices, like Curve Dental.

#2. Coping with an overpopulation of dentists.

Practices are opening everywhere, which means competition is growing tighter every day. You have to ask yourself: How will my practice measure up? How can I stand out from the rest?

Often, the first contact most prospective patients have with your practice is over the phone. What impression will they get? That your practice is seasoned, professional, and capable? Or will they get a busy signal? Long wait times spent on hold? Dropped calls?

The secret is to automate as much as possible to keep your phone lines free. Some ways to do that are to:

  • Use auto attendants. Let callers select from a menu if they want to talk to a person right away or simply receive answers to basic questions.
  • Record messages. The auto attendant can direct callers to recorded messages meant to answer simple questions like: What are your hours? Where are you located? What do you specialize in?
  • Have call filters. These can automatically blacklist suspicious numbers so junk calls don’t monopolize your phone lines.

The problem with this solution, however, is most phone services load up your bill with extra charges for features like auto attendants. That’s why Jive offers unlimited auto attendants, custom messages, and advanced call filters with our basic service bundle— so our customers can enjoy the features they need without breaking the bank.

#3. Controlling costs.

Odds are, your office manager probably isn’t an IT expert, and neither are you. Setting up and performing maintenance on phone system hardware probably doesn’t rank too high on ways you’d like to spend your time. And paying someone else to do it for you probably isn’t that much better.

Luckily, phone systems these days don’t have to be expensive, complicated, or hardware-heavy.
Jive, for instance, provides Hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. Hosted VoIP is a phone system that sends and receives calls using your Internet connection rather than a phone line.

The actual hardware for a Hosted VoIP system is located off-site, usually in a data center, and maintained by your provider instead of you or your office manager. Any changes you want to make—like adding users, extensions, recorded messages, and voicemail boxes—can be done simply by going online, logging into the customer portal, and making the changes there.

What this means is you have less hardware to pay for, you can make changes in minutes without any technical expertise, and you don’t have to purchase a whole other system whenever you open a new location. All you need are phones and a router and your system can cover as many offices as you need.

#4. Handling after-hours calls.

When a patient—or a prospective patient—calls your practice after hours or during lunch, what do they encounter? Does the phone just ring and ring? Does it go straight to voicemail? How do you think the patient will react? According to some surveys, you can expect 75 percent of prospective patients not to leave a voicemail message, and 85 percent of them won’t try to call your practice again.

What’s the alternative? Well, as mentioned earlier, you could use an auto attendant to direct that patient to a person. Or there’s also Find Me/Follow Me settings that can bounce a call from your office to another extension, to your cell, or even to your home number.

The point is, there’s no reason you should miss a phone call from a prospective patient who wants to check out your practice. And when you sign up with Jive, these features come standard for every user at no added cost.

See, your dental office phone system is more than just another piece of office equipment. Done right, you can leverage a phone system to trim your office costs, as well as buff your professional image by delivering top-notch service to your patients.

Jive is here to improve your communications so your business can grow unimpeded by technical problems and hardware costs. With Jive, you can quickly and easily customize your system to suit your practice’s specific needs, as well as serve up a sense of availability and enterprise-grade professionalism to your patients.

Still have questions about Hosted VoIP in general? Check out Jive’s VoIP Glossary to learn what all those terms mean.

Find out what else Jive Voice can do for your practice here.