Dental Office Voicemail Etiquette: The Set-Up
Dental office voicemail etiquette or lack of, could be turning patients away. Sure, anyone can record a voicemail greeting and check messages. But that’s not necessarily best! Do you want your dental practice to stand a step or two above the crowd? One of the top ways to do that is with your telephone management. Put in the effort here, and your patients will truly appreciate your team.
Use a voicemail with the capability to record several different messages. Excellent customer service takes a little extra work. The good news is, once you get your messages recorded, they are set. You may need to change your holiday greeting message to fit the season, but all of the others will be okay.
Write your scripts before you record! Don’t try to do this on the fly. You will need to be prepared. Read through it a few times too to make sure it sounds good and flows well. Here’s a list of the recordings you are going to need:
- After hours message
- Unavailable message
- Lunch message
- Holiday Message
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Who should record your message? I recommend that the team member that answers the phone records the voicemail greetings. If there is more than one team member answering the phone, have the lead front office team member or manager record your greetings. Some suggest that the dentist record the greetings. That’s not my vote. Leave dentistry to the dentists and office management to office managers!
Make sure it’s a quiet time! Record your greetings at a quiet time. You don’t want any background noise. You’ll also want to record the greetings when you are feeling energetic and happy. Best not to do this when you are feeling tired or stressed. You want your best voice!
Take these scripts and make them work for you! Dental office voicemail etiquette begins with the understanding that the idea isn’t to let calls easily roll over to voicemail. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! However, you do want to have great voicemail greetings when you do need to use voicemail.
After Hours Message:
Hello. Thank you for calling Dr. Brown’s dental office. Your call is important to us.You have reached us after hours. Dr. Brown’s office is open for patient care Monday through Thursday 8 -5. If you are a patient or record and are experiencing a true dental emergency, please call Dr. Brown directly at 888-888. If you would like to leave a message, please do so after the tone. We will call you back very soon.
Hello. Thank you for calling Dr. Brown’s dental office. We are currently assisting another patient and truly appreciate your patience. Please leave your name and number after the tone and we will call you back within 15 minutes. Thank you again.
Hello. Thank you for calling Dr. Brown’s dental office. We have stepped out for our lunch break, and will return at 2:00 today. Please leave your name and number after the tone and we will call you as soon as we return. Thank you.
Hello. Thank you for calling Dr. Brown’s dental office. The office has closed for vacation this week. We will re-open for patient care on Monday, July 9th. If you are calling with a true dental emergency. Dr. Jones is caring for our emergency patients this week. You can reach her office at 888-8888. If you would like to leave a message, please do so after the tone, and we will return your call on Monday.
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Dental Office Voicemail Etiquette & Returning Calls
Another important part of dental office voicemail etiquette is returning patient calls. We want to be the best dental office for our patients. We want to care for them like no one else can care for them. In order to do this, we really need to shine. We need to exceed every expectation they might have.
After hour calls should be returned as soon as the office opens. Once the lights and computers are turned on , the voicemail messages are next. It’s best to return those calls before patients begin arriving and need attention. Your patients will come to know that you will always call them as soon as you can. They will appreciate it.
Messages left during business hours should be handled within 15 minutes. Hopefully, you won’t have too many calls going to voicemail during business hours. Every now and then it’s going to happen. There may also be times when the dental front office team member steps away. Everyone needs a little break throughout the day! Just be sure to return any phone calls within 15 minutes.
If a patient calls because they haven’t heard from you, something is wrong! This is the worst case scenario. Write down your messages and call patients back right away. This will create more trust and dependability with your patients. They will also stick by the phone knowing that your call is coming soon.
Those Messages You Can’t Understand
There are sometimes messages no one can understand. Especially true in our cell phone age. The caller’s voice is sometimes garbled as they are attempting to use their blue tooth. The sentences cut in and out and you can catch only a little of what they are trying to tell you. Sometimes, they don’t even remember to leave their phone number or their name.
Caller ID might just help here! Take the time and make the effort to find out who called and what the message was. It would be very easy to ignore the message with the reasoning that you couldn’t understand it. It’s easy enough to call the number back that was recorded on your caller ID and say “Hi there. This is April at Dr. Brown’s dental office. We have a recorded call from this number that we are unable to hear. Were you trying to reach us?”
Save important messages to return to later. If there is a message that you want your dentist to hear, save it for them. Or, perhaps you have the ability to forward the call to their voicemail. Sometimes, there is information in a message we want to save. Even after we have returned the call, there may be a piece of information we want to record in a patient chart. Just be sure to delete the messages each day once you’ve finished.
Dental Office Telephone Etiquette Brings Great Patient Reviews
Patients want to know that they matter. They want to be taken care of. And they should. They are paying us to care for their oral health. A huge piece of this care, is our ability to handle their calls well. We can’t be there to take our patients’ calls 24/7. Our voicemail can. Great telephone etiquette will deeply impress our patients and keep them coming back.
One-on-one phone coaching and/or training is also available to you here! Please reach out to me to schedule a time to chat! We can customize your dental office team’s phone management training to suit your practice needs. I’m just an email away!