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A well-chosen answering service can bring a whole number of benefits to your dental practice. It can help improve communication, cut back on time-consuming admin, and increase efficiency. All of those factors will contribute to the overall health and well-being of both staff and patients.

What is a dental answering service?

Any dentist or orthodontist will tell you that a good practice is like a well-oiled ship. To run smoothly, you need to effectively manage everything from face-to-face appointments to the very first phone call. Virtual receptionists (or answering services) take some of this burden off front desk staff, by taking messages, answering simple questions, checking medical insurance, booking appointments, sending appointment reminders and much more. This allows full-time staff to concentrate on caring for their patients and ensuring the smooth running of the business. 

Dentist working

With the help of an answering service, a dental practice can ensure their patients receive prompt and professional answers. This includes handling inquiries about the range and prices of dental services on offer, scheduling appointments and managing timetables, and answering more general questions about dental health. On the whole, patients feel better cared for when speaking to a real human instead of getting the information from a recorded message or from a website. If they have any worries or uncertainties, a trustworthy voice can really help put their mind at rest.

What’s more, in the longer term, an answering service can remind patients to schedule regular dental appointments to maintain good oral health and prevent issues such as gum disease. (This could take the form of a text that says ‘visit your dentist’ or a phone call follow-up.)

Woman smiling

All sounds good, right? But with so many options on offer, it can be hard to know which answering service to choose. Not all virtual receptionists are created equal. So what exactly makes a good one?

What makes a good dental answering service?

When choosing, you’ll want to consider things like price, contract length, reputation, and services on offer. There’s a lot to think about so we’ve made you a list. Here are some key features that make a good answering service:

  1. A human touch

One of the most important things you’ll want when outsourcing your reception is for your patients to feel well cared for. When enquiring about dental care, you don’t want your patients to reach a pre-recorded answering machine that feels soulless and unhelpful. Choose an answering service that guarantees a real person will answer every call, whatever the time.

  1. Professionalism

The best dental answering service should project a professional image, with courteous and knowledgeable representatives who are well-trained in handling customer inquiries. They should be able to answer questions accurately and provide all the information that customers need without complicated and frustrating transfers.

Staff also should be trained to protect the privacy of every patient with full HIPAA compliance. 

Virtual receptionist at her desk
  1. Range of tools

A good dental answering service will do much more than just answer the phone. Look for a service that has a good selection of add-ons like a mobile app, live chat and language services. Some answering services offer fluent, bilingual receptionists to help your Spanish-speaking customers feel well cared for.

  1. Personalized services

They should be able to customize their services to meet the needs of your business. This may include 

  • Creating scripts that match the tone and style of your dental practice,
  • Providing customized greetings, and 
  • Adapting to your dental services and clientele.

Look out for answering services that will take the time to get to know your business. They should have an onboarding process to gather information on your practice. They will get to know the types of services you offer (be that free dental or orthodontics), and the types of calls you receive. 

Dentist working on patients teeth
  1. High availability 24/7

Many insurance companies require dental practices to offer 24/7 support to their patients. Any dental answering service worth its salt should be able to respond quickly to customer inquiries. That means it should include after-hours availability as standard so customers can always reach a live person whenever they need assistance.

When more serious situations crop up, like dental emergencies or infections, your answering service should be available to schedule appointments, take messages and transfer calls 24/7. This ensures that patients don’t have to wait to get the information they need and can relax in the knowledge they have booked the next available appointment.

  1. Good tech

A good answering service should use advanced technology to enhance its services, including call routing, voicemail, and automated messaging systems. Tasks like appointment scheduling, calendar management, and new patient intake should be seamless – going out without any tech hiccups.

When 84% of consumers get frustrated if the agent doesn’t have the right information, well-managed tech can help ease many complex situations.

Virtual Receptionist
  1. Accountability 

As their client, you should be able to hold your answering service accountable for its performance, with a system in place to measure customer satisfaction and provide feedback. This will help your dental practice maintain and improve quality customer service to meet the evolving needs of your customers. Look out for an answering service with client account managers who are available 24/7 to offer support.

  1. Flexible contracts

And finally, there’s the contract. The price needs to be right of course so make sure you get a quote before you sign anything. But so does the contract itself. No matter how good an answering service is, you don’t want to get stuck in a contract you can’t get out of. You should be able to terminate your contract if needed or increase or decrease your plan to match the volume of calls you are receiving.

An answering service is essential for any business that values customer service and wants to ensure that all customer inquiries are handled professionally and promptly. 

Dentist talking to her patient

​​By focusing on 24/7 availability, professionalism, personalization, good technology, and accountability, a good answering service can help your dental practice improve efficiency while building lasting relationships with your patients.

With a real person answering every call, 24/7 availability, bilingual services, flexible contracts and a personalized range of tools, WellReceived is set up to help your practice grow. Find out more about the WellReceived dental answering services or book a consultation to ask specific questions and find the right plan for your practice.

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Lauryn Davidson

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