Time is money, and if you are not taking advantage of after-hours phone calls at your dental practice, you could be missing out on new opportunities to connect with patients and grow your practice.
You may have created an effective marketing strategy that is getting the phone to ring, and you have probably trained your team in proper phone etiquette; but have you considered what happens if a prospective patient calls on nights and weekends?
If someone phones you after hours seeking information or to reschedule an appointment, they will likely leave a message or call back during regular business hours. However, a potential new patient who needs emergency dental treatment is more likely to hang up and call around until they get a person to answer.
Many dental practices do not have phone coverage outside standard hours of operation or during lunch; others have an answering machine. Both can feel impersonal and frustrating to patients and prospects.
If your patient discovers late one night or on a Sunday that they need to reschedule an appointment the next business day, chances are your team won’t hear the voicemail until it’s too late to make changes. If your phones are being answered outside working hours, issues like this can be addressed more promptly, leading to better scheduling and happier patients.
If you are interested in 24/7 phone coverage, you can either hire an answering service or train your team to share the responsibility. If a professional answering service makes sense for you, talk to a dental accountant about the cost of building it into your budget and the possible return on investment it could yield.
The other option, sharing the responsibility among team members, may cost you less and offer a more personal interaction. No one has better knowledge of your practice, your patients, and your schedule than your own team. Discuss with your accountant the most effective way to compensate team members for this time, such as paying them a set amount per shift or per call answered.
If you believe lack of 24-hour phone availability is detrimental to your business, talk to our team about adding this service into your fixed costs and exploring the tax ramifications. Arrange a free initial consultation today by contact one of our dental CPAs.