How does a dedicated dental answering service (DDAS) differ from a standard call center service?
Standard call centers are trained to handle different tasks such as answering the phone, billing, taking orders, and forwarding messages. Still, they lack dental training, which can result in missed appointments and lost patients. By understanding the patient’s needs and the processes involved to treat them, a dedicated dental answering service will improve your dental practice’s quality of attention, reduce appointment overlapping, and increase your bottom line.
While it is possible to use both services for a dental practice reception, this article will shed some light on how a dedicated dental answering service is best suited for it.
1. A D.D.A.S. understands how to answer phone calls in a dental office, specifically
A general receptionist or a general answering service like a call center may not know how to deal with a dental practice patient’s peculiarities and needs.
Virtual call center services typically behave like in-house receptionists and after-hours assistance. They can take calls through the working hours and act as an emergency service when the practice is closed.
However, standard services that lack dental training may misinform or simply fail to meet the patient’s needs simply out of not knowing the ins and outs of dental treatment.
Whether a new patient is calling for information about your practice or an existing patient is calling for an emergency or follow-up visit, a trained and specialized operator can better understand the caller’s needs because they are explicitly trained in understanding dental practices operations.
The advantages of having a trained dental receptionist are:
- A better understanding of patient results in better care and reputation
- Ability to understand real emergencies from routine dental work
- Deliver a superior service when on the phone with patients
- Increased number of appointments taken
- They know how a dental practice operates and its procedures
- It allows you to focus on your practice
An excellent first impression can be vital to acquire new patients, while a professional and trained representative, knowing what is going on, inspires trust and confidence in already existing patients.
2. Receptionists go through intensive dental office phone training
Operators of DDAS are trained on dental industry terms and standard practices. Therefore, when a person is calling your practice and speaks with an operator, you can rest assured your patient is well-informed and served professionally.
Typical operators receive comprehensive, practice-specific training, and they may be required to go through a rigorous TMA examination.
Not only do they go through the different dental practices and operations, but they also go through HIPAA training to know how to handle sensitive data and maintain patients’ privacy.
Such training ensures each operator can help your practice with practical answers resulting in satisfied patients and more appointments.
Most DDAS can customize their dental answering service to your practice, with tailor-made scripts or your precise call handling instructions.
Additionally, having trained operators answering your calls after hours will assist in keeping your direct number private while at the same time screening calls for real emergencies, forwarding them to you.
Untrained operators may not understand the difference between an emergency that needs immediate attention and a necessity that can wait for business hours. This translates to you receiving forwarded calls unnecessarily or misinforming a patient that needs immediate attention.
They understand dental terminology and can use it effectively
Dentists are faced with the necessity to perform their scheduled visits and at the same time receive phone calls for various purposes, such as:
- Book appointments
- Explain basics procedures
- Basic information about the different types of interventions
- Guide the patients on any procedure change
- Sometimes even coordinating with health insurance companies
- Taking patient’s feedbacks on procedures and overall practice service
A DDAS can provide a virtual receptionist that can effectively use the specialized knowledge to interact with patients appropriately and leave them satisfied, saving you time and increasing your practice’s quality of service.
It also gives you peace of mind knowing that each request is being taken care of according to your standards.
They know how to handle patient phone calls and go beyond a call script
Trained representatives can guide patients through the various procedures even without the aid of a script.
They can set an appointment according to the doctor’s schedule and provide information about the duration of the dental procedure.
Their training also allows them to handle emergency calls with calm, professionalism, and composure beyond the script’s guidelines, even when dealing with patients in pain or distress.
A reliable answering service will help the practice connect with patients and create an excellent reputation in the long run.
3, Understands treatment timings to fill your schedule accordingly
Running a successful dental practice includes proper scheduling of appointments to make every hour count on the one hand and to give the professionals adequate time to rest between 2 patients.
To do this, a receptionist has to know the different procedures, be familiar with how long they take, and how tiresome they are for the dental practitioner.
Those who are not familiar with a dental practice may end up scheduling appointments too close or too far from each other because they have no idea what each procedure consists of.
At the end of the month, a lousy scheduling habit can cost you and your practice time, money, and stress.
A Dedicated Dental Answering Service (DDAS) differs from other types of answering services or call centers because their operators are specifically trained in the dental industry to be familiar with these timings.
4. Knows how and when to follow up with patients and leads
A dedicated dental answering service provides that extra level of professionalism in following up with patients. A booked appointment doesn’t necessarily mean that a patient is going to show.
In some medical practices, the no-show rate can be as high as 50%, which also means several thousands of dollars in lost revenue; reducing it can be a great way to increase your practice’s bottom line.
A dedicated answering service helps reduce the no-show rate by building a connection with a patient and their condition, being knowledgeable from the first interaction instilling confidence and reassurance.
With the use of a dedicated service that knows how to interact with specific callers and their needs, you can increase your practice’s connection with patients and reduce the no-show rate.
5. Can make relevant offers, upsell your customers, and increase your bottom line
The familiarity with the industry and dental procedures facilitates interactions with patients and the understanding of which additional services can be proposed.
While adding more doctors, space, and equipment can be a long-term solution to increase your practice’s revenue, the fastest way to increase the bottom line is to upsell services to current customers. The best and fastest way to do it is using a DDAS.
A trained operator can suggest add-on services like teeth whitening, additional checkups, electric toothbrushes, custom sports mouthguards, or veneers according to the patient’s needs and wants.
In summary, a dedicated dental answering service can benefit a dental practice in many ways, such as:
- Increasing bottom line
- Lowering payroll costs
- Increasing availability (24/7)
- Allowing dentist to concentrate on their patients
- Improve customer service
- Expand the practice’s reputation
A specialized dental answering service is a much better alternative than their standard counterparts.
Trained receptionists can better understand the patient’s needs, schedule appointments appropriately, increase revenue through upsells and handle emergencies correctly.
The improved bottom line will just be a consequence of the excellent customer service experience and the care used in dealing with patients.