Is your practice struggling to handle the volume of incoming calls?
Are potential clients turning away from your business purely because they can’t get a hold of you?
If so, then it might be time for you to consider using dental answering services.
But how do these services work? How will they benefit you? And how do you even go about hiring someone to help with your calls?
This article will explain what dental answering services are, how they will benefit your dental office, and what you should look out for when hiring this kind of help.
What are dental answering services?
Dental answering services are a patient support solution in which real people answer calls on behalf of a dental practice inside and outside business hours. These people provide professional support to callers and website visitors.
With the global dental market projected to increase from $38.84 billion in 2022 to $63.93 billion by 2029, many dental practices are experiencing a large volume of calls.
These practices need people to assist with their incoming calls and help provide exceptional customer service so that clients will return time and time again.
This can be achieved either through dental answering services or by hiring a virtual dental receptionist.
Hello Rache offers virtual receptionists who can help you with incoming calls, perform admin tasks, and more so that you have more time to grow your business.
Main responsibilities of dental answering services
Here are some of the main responsibilities of dental answering services:
- Handling incoming calls: Sharing basic information about your practice, such as its service offerings and how its processes work.
- Taking messages: Relaying messages to you and your team, including messages from clients and suppliers. Dental answering services often need to take notes and forward them on to the appropriate personnel.
- Routing callers: Sending calls through to the appropriate person based on predetermined criteria. For example, when a patient has a question about a particular treatment, a dental answering service can forward their call to the dentist.
- Managing appointments and bookings: Helping patients schedule appointments as well as reschedule appointments when their plans change. They also need to make sure no double bookings are made.
When you hire a virtual receptionist, they’ll perform the following tasks in addition to the above-mentioned duties:
- Administrative duties: Take care of your mundane, repetitive tasks, such as arranging travel and accommodation, preparing and organizing information, and arranging deliveries.
- Make outbound calls: Call patients and suppliers whenever they need to be notified of important information or changes. They can also call patients on behalf of the dentist for education or aftercare.
- Order supplies: Make sure there’s always stock on hand. Many virtual receptionists will consider the general time during the month that stock runs out and order supplies in advance.
Depending on the virtual receptionist you hire, they may also be able to help you with your social media management, website management, and more.
Benefits of digital answering services
Here are some of the main benefits you can expect when using dental answering services for your practice.
1. Never miss a call
Numerous activities, such as scheduling, paperwork, and staff breaks, can lead to incoming calls being put on hold or even missed.
This is especially true for start-up dental practices since they may not have the funds to hire a full-time receptionist.
Regardless of whether you have a mature or new dental practice, unanswered calls can lead to the loss of clients — and, consequently, a bad reputation.
Using dental answering services or a virtual receptionist will ensure no calls are missed and excellent patient care and support will be provided at all times.
In turn, this will lead to better customer service and higher authority within your industry.
2. Higher customer satisfaction
Having someone answer your incoming calls will lead to more satisfied clients.
Your answering service provider will help dental patients by answering common questions, helping them with bookings, and more so that they can have a seamless experience.
Your prospects and existing clients will see that they can rely on your practice to always help them when they’re unsure about something — whether it be payments, patient appointments, general dental questions, etc.
This could also lead to more customer referrals.
According to Gladly’s 2021 Customer Expectations Report, 62% of customers will refer a business to their friends if they receive great customer service.
The better the service you provide, the more loyalty you’ll create and the more clients you’ll attract to your practice.
3. No need for additional staffing
Using dental answering services or a virtual receptionist means you won’t have to hire additional office staff; i.e., you won’t have another in-office worker that requires a full-time salary.
Instead, you’ll get to outsource your phone calls and administrative duties. As a result, you won’t have to worry about supplying an additional staff member with an office, hardware, or parking.
This also means fewer tax complications and gives your practice — regardless of whether it’s new or mature — the chance to offer exceptional customer service without having to pay an arm and a leg.
4. More time to focus on other work
As mentioned earlier, virtual receptionists can take care of administrative tasks. This will lighten your office team’s workload, allowing them to focus on high-impact tasks that’ll lead to more business growth.
Since your in-house staff members will have more time to focus on their own work, they’ll be more productive, and processes will start to run smoothly as a result.
The reduced workload will help create a better work environment and company culture — leading to happier, more loyal staff.
5. Save money
Hiring a virtual receptionist can save you a lot of money, as they’re extremely affordable. While an in-house receptionist may cost you over $15.50 per hour, hiring a virtual dental receptionist from Hello Rache will cost you a flat fee of $9.50 per hour.
This means you’ll be saving around $6 per hour. If you do the math, this equates to around $48 less per day (if your receptionist works eight hours per day) and over $1,000 less per month.
You also won’t have to worry about contracts, and you can choose who you want to work with.
Furthermore, you’ll have full access to time tracking and monitoring and will also be able to cancel at any time — no strings attached.
Not convinced yet? Have a look at more benefits that you can expect when hiring a virtual receptionist for your practice.
What are the risks of not using dental answering services?
Here are some things that could happen when you don’t make use of dental answering services.
Employees may quit
Overworking your employees may lead to them quitting.
Since dental practices tend to have a lot of daily paperwork and admin, many practices expect their employees to take care of these tasks on top of their own work.
This often leads to employees being overworked and not having enough time to perform their duties.
As a result, they’re left drained, tired, and unhappy.
Having someone who can take care of the smaller, less important tasks that tend to take up a lot of time will lighten your and your employees’ workloads tremendously.
Missed client opportunities
Many clients won’t call back after they’ve called a dental practice once. Others might make one more call before moving on to a different dentist.
When you miss patient calls, you run the risk of missing out on client opportunities, additional revenue, and the chance to build your business.
A virtual receptionist will help you avoid this scenario.
Voicemails can be unclear
While voicemails can be helpful in many ways, they can also lead to confusion and lost time due to their often unclear nature.
- Which John Smith was it who called?
- What prescription does he want refilled?
- For when does he want to reschedule his appointment?
All of these questions will need to be followed up with a call back from your office.
Having a dedicated virtual receptionist to answer all your calls and get back to clients will help you achieve maximum patient satisfaction.
With a virtual receptionist, you’ll also avoid missing urgent calls — so your clients know they can rely on you in emergency situations.
Skills to look out for when hiring a dental virtual receptionist
If you’ve chosen to hire a virtual receptionist instead of using only dental answering services, here are the top six skills you need to look out for in a virtual receptionist.
1. Knowledge of the medical industry
It’s important for your virtual receptionist to have adequate training and knowledge in the medical industry.
Their medical terminology needs to be on point, and HIPAA training means they’ll appreciate the importance of managing sensitive information appropriately.
At Hello Rache, all our healthcare virtual receptionists and assistants have HIPAA training and the necessary knowledge and experience to help your practice flourish.
2. Communication skills
Since your virtual receptionist will communicate with clients every day, they’ll need to have excellent:
- Verbal communication for incoming phone calls
- Written communication for answering emails, sending text messages, and responding to website comments
Alongside excellent communication, grammar skills come in handy. A virtual receptionist should be able to write professionally when communicating with clients and other businesses online.
3. Computer skills
Virtual receptionists work remotely and therefore need to have knowledge and experience working with different computer systems and software.
Often, these receptionists will already have experience working with programs commonly used in the dental industry, such as Gmail and Excel.
That being said, this doesn’t mean they need working knowledge of the exact software used in your practice when you hire them. But they need to be confident they can meet any specific software-related requirements, and be willing to learn.
4. Listening skills
Dental virtual receptionists need to have exceptional listening skills to make sure all messages can be relayed correctly to the appropriate staff member.
Effective listening skills will also make it easier for them to follow complex instructions. This is vital in the healthcare industry since small mistakes can lead to severe consequences.
5. Customer service skills
Customer service can make a big difference in client satisfaction and loyalty.
Your virtual dental receptionist needs to be excellent at customer service — going out of their way to make the experience as easy and seamless as possible.
This includes providing clients with answers, helping them with their payments, and providing them with oral health education.
6. Ability to multitask
Virtual receptionists often work with several clients at a time. Thus, they need to be able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously — all while providing high-quality work.
Your virtual receptionist needs to be able to keep their tasks organized and plan their time out effectively to make sure all their work is completed on time.
Start using dental answering services today
Whether you choose to use dental office answering services or hire a dental virtual receptionist will depend on your practice’s needs.
If you’re solely looking for someone to handle your calls, a dental answering service might be best. But if you’re looking for someone who can answer your calls and perform other duties that’ll lighten your and your employees’ workloads drastically, a virtual receptionist is ideal.
Learn more about what you can expect from Hello Rache’s virtual receptionists and get started today.