We have all heard it.
“Your call is very important to us, but we are either out of the office or assisting other patients. Please leave your name, phone number, and reason for calling and we will call you back at our earliest convenience.”
A message such as this tells a patient two things – they are not as important as whatever the office is doing otherwise and the office will get back to them only when it is convenient for the practice. No matter the intent, that is the message being communicated and is an unfortunate first impression if the caller is a new patient looking for a new dentist.
This is significant, as new patient calls make up between 8 to 10% of calls being answered by UIC Dental on behalf of dental practices we partner with. One out of every ten calls is a chance for the practice to shine – to start building a relationship with a new patient. Too often many practices instead choose to rely on voicemail and hope the patient answers when they call back – or has not already scheduled with a practice that DID answer.
Dental practices should be focused on how to demonstrate to patients how much they care about them and value their time. The solution to this is quite simple – prove it to them! This is done by actually answering the phone when a patient calls – when it is convenient to them as the patient.
By proving to the caller that their call is important, the office now has the ability to accelerate the patient’s buying process and get them into the schedule ASAP. The patient will be able to stop searching for information and evaluating alternatives as their decision can be made right then – all because the office was available.
There are several options to increase office availability. A practice can choose to integrate any the following internal solutions:
- Staggered lunch schedules
- Front office employee staffed to answer calls during closed days
- Calls forwarded to the office manager’s cell phone
Trade-offs exist with each of these options, as all require more of front office staff and potentially additional salary and staffing for the expanded hours. Additionally, internal options do not address the issue of multiple calls at once or calls when a patient is in the office checking out and staff is not available to answer the phone.
UIC Dental offers an alternative solution – a third party scheduling service that answers calls as your practice and schedules patients according to your direct guidelines and protocols. With hours that cover the time before most practices open, after they close, weekends, and throughout the work week, UIC Dental’s availability solutions are an extremely cost effective way to address the problem.
More effective than a traditional answering service, the UIC Dental solution is designed to directly assist patients with most issues they are calling about. Otherwise, practice staff can get caught in a game of phone-tag spending extra time and possibly losing out when potential new patients have already scheduled elsewhere according to need.
The bottom line is availability matters for dental offices! It matters in providing exceptional customer service to your patients and also to your office’s bottom line. I challenge you to think of a competitor in your area and call them during lunch, or on a Friday afternoon, or at 5:30 pm, or on a weekend to see if they answer. If they answer and you are not, you are losing new patients to your competitor and adding availability will help your office compete. If they do not answer, your practice now has to the potential to provide this vital service and have a significant advantage over the competition.
Looking for ways to increase your office’s availability and new patient production? Click here to contact us and learn how UIC Dental can help supplement your current phone answering process and grow new patient production. The value of the service is guaranteed as UIC Dental promises the service will create at least FOUR (4) times the cost in new patient production value.