Despite playing a crucial role in healthcare, people still get anxious when it comes to dentistry. This is why it is of utmost importance for dental offices to maintain a good relationship with patients and be at their service whenever they need it. But with a traditional phone system it’s impossible to answer every single client enquiry, which leads to missed calls and unavailability during after-hours, which as a direct consequence of this means more anxious patients.
However, with cloud-based telephony, or VoIP (voice over internet protocol), all of this can be avoided as all it takes is a device connected to the internet and the call will find the right person. But VoIP is more than just a phone system in the cloud, because everything is designed to streamline and improve the relationships between employees and customers – in this case your patients – whether that is the auto-attendant that promptly guides clients to the right person or the safe handling of confidential patient faxes.
What to Look for in a Phone System for Dental Offices
Cloud phone systems are known for providing a handful of enterprise-grade features by default, not to mention that they can be used without any hindrance from virtually any device capable of connecting to the internet. Although each of these included features are useful in their own rights, there are certain attributes that are must-haves for dental offices:
Best VoIP Systems of 2020
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Intelligent Call Forwarding
An undeniable advantage of VoIP phone systems is that there are plenty of ways with which a call can reach the right person. For example, an ongoing call can easily be transferred to another phone number or an extension with the push of a button, but in more advanced systems callers can even direct their calls to the person they are looking for by following a preprogrammed interactive voice response menu, or IVR.
In fact, when leveraging an auto-attendant, the phone system can be set up to automatically forward calls to extensions, phone numbers, or voicemail depending on criteria like the business working schedule or whether or not the dentist is in the office. Even if calls aren’t picked up right away, callers are certain to have their requests are promptly answered.
Even if third-party app integration isn’t the forte of VoIP, advanced service providers are capable of working in tandem with CRM solutions in the form of a handy softphone add-on. If this feature is on board, assistants and dentists can pull up a patient’s data from the CRM’s database without the need to hold the call while searching for the necessary files. The integration between CRMs and VoIP is so intelligent that the moment a call comes in, the CRM can automatically identify recurring patients and provide the ability to add new information to the existing patient data.
The option to send and receive faxes using the VoIP system is yet another feature that is only present in advanced solutions. But if the chosen cloud phone system provider does have online faxing, then it can fully replace the old fax machines that take up valuable space in dental offices. Most important, however, is how online faxes will ensure the expected full confidentiality of any sent messages. And since VoIP systems are encrypted from end-to-end, no sensitive data can be intercepted, meaning that all faxes sent from and received by the system comply with HIPAA regulations.
Recommended Dental Office Phone Systems
Despite the fact that eVoice’s phone system manager is not the most attractive, it is still an optimal choice for dental offices. The reason for this is because there are many ways to handle calls from forwarding and transferring to queuing. The system is also capable of call screening, which is essential for quickly identifying patients. eVoice also comes with a handy auto-attendant to take calls for you but, interestingly, it can be replaced by live professional receptionists – albeit for an extra fee. Additionally, eVoice can seamlessly handle business SMS messages as well as fax messages, though it’s worth adding that outbound faxes aren’t included by default in any of the plans.
As for the plans themselves – each of which can be trialed for 30 days – the cheapest eVoice plan is $12 per month and comes with 300 monthly minutes and just two extensions. The top plan, however, adds much more with 4,000 monthly minutes, 15 extensions and 45 phone numbers.
It may be overshadowed by certain VoIP providers, but Phone.com can still be considered quite the powerhouse for dental offices. Aside from the usual call handling features, Phone.com users are provided such extras as a fully programmable IVR or the option to set up a business schedule. With Phone.com dental offices can play their own greetings for patients, but the company also offers a professional recording service with voice talents guiding clients that call in. The fact that HIPAA-compliant faxing is part of each plan is already a huge advantage, but what’s more surprising is that Phone.com can integrate with 17 different CRMs in the form of Communicator, the company’s handy softphone.
Interestingly, Phone.com users have the option to either receive a certain number of free minutes or to have an unlimited amount. However, note that only the pay-by-minute version of the cheapest plan, which is $9.99 a month, comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Phone Devices and Hardware
VoIP systems are versatile enough to handle analog phones either via special adapters or newly bought IP-compatible phones, giving dental offices an option to decide what’s better for them in the long run. However, there are certain things that should be taken into consideration regardless of whether you rely on old or new devices.
For starters, it’s best to add wireless phones to the system for a better mobility. This way situations where the dentist is treating a patient and cannot leave to respond to the call can be eliminated, since the device can be placed directly into the hand of the doctor by the assistant.
Alternatively, there is the option to turn smartphones into virtual extensions and replace desktop and wireless phones entirely, but in this case it’s smarter to upgrade the practice’s Wi-Fi routers to models that can easily handle increased internet traffic. However, the most important thing to do – which must be performed before switching to VoIP – is to first confirm whether or not the office’s internet connection is VoIP-compatible by performing a ping test.