Dental Front Desk: Should You Hire In-House Or Outsource It?

If you are reading this, then you probably know that the dental business can be quite a competitive one. There is a constant pressure to impress clients with your services so that you don’t lose them to your competitors. Under such extreme stressed conditions, it’s your front desk that usually holds the fort. The success of your practice hinges in great part upon your ability to hire a competent front desk team. A great first impression with patients can ensure you get maximum appointments. But often your front desk is either not well trained or is under the snow most of the time because of which they are incapable of creating a good rapport with new clients. So, what do you do to solve this? Well, you can either hire a good in-house front desk team or outsource these services completely. But which is better? Let’s find out.

Hiring an In-house Front Desk Team

It is likely that when you start your dental practice, you already have hired a receptionist to handle all the calls and appointments for you. If not, then you probably must be looking for a good team to support and scale your dental practice. Let us take a look at the benefits of hiring one. 

4 Benefits of hiring an In-house team

When you have an in-house FD team, your task becomes much easier as a dentist. Your receptionist plays a very important role in your office in not only helping you with various administrative tasks but also customer service duties.  From receiving calls to fixing appointments, your FD does it all. Here is a list of benefits you get from your in-house FD:

1. A sense of control- With a team in your office itself, you can feel a sense of control as to how you can train them to take and make calls, learn the proper phone etiquettes and schedule appointments. Even if something were to go haywire, you can jump in and save the situation.

2. Be in and out of office for meetings and important work- when you already have a team in place, you can be flexible in moving in and out of office for important work or meetings. Your FD team can hold the fort, besides taking important messages and later delivering them to you.

3. Can schedule appointments according to your schedule- your FD can always consult you or take a look at your schedule to fix a patient’s appointment. 

4. Maintain a cordial relation with existing clients- A very important duty that your FD performs is checking up on existing clients to keep the conversion funnel from drying up.  

Now that you know the benefits of hiring an in-house FD team, you must be wondering how you can hire a team of experts? Well, here are some things you must consider 

Points to ponder before hiring an in-house FD?

  • Give yourself some time before you zero in on a FD team: Hiring a person without the proper judgement is a recipe for failure. You don’t want someone who can only take and make calls. The details lie in phone etiquettes and manners. How capable are they in building a good relationship with your patients? Are they good at problem solving? How efficient are they in upscaling your business? These are the questions to ask before you hire a team.
  • Do they have good interpersonal skills?: Having strong interpersonal skills doesn’t only mean verbal communications. Non-verbal manners like listening to your clients, providing a temporary solution to their problems until they get an appointment, basic mannerisms are all part of a good interpersonal skill set.
  • Do you have the bandwidth to train your staff?: Everything said and done, do you have the time, money and resources to train your FD staff? Most likely not. And if you are a one man team running the show, it can be quite overwhelming to dedicate extra time just to train your staff. The best idea then is to outsource your FD services.

Outsourcing your FD services

Outsourcing your dental services refers to the practice of delegating your front desk work partially or completely to an external company in order to yield more cost-effective and efficient results. The primary reasons why you would want to outsource your dental FD services are:

  • Quick and better service– who doesn’t want a smooth service with a quick turnaround time? Your in-house receptionist must already be burdened with a lot of calls, scheduling appointments, managing the tax work, etc. An external company can pitch in a huge help here. These companies handle new client calls, appointments, their follow up calls and much more, resulting in better growth graphs and conversions. As they cater to specific services, the FDs are more focussed, well trained and highly productive. good companies ensure to track the performances with QA teams and supervisors, and conduct regular training sessions to improve efficiency.
  • Cost effective- As mentioned above, you can either train your FD to take the perfect calls or outsource that work. In-house training can surely turn out to be most costly in terms of the money, time and effort spent. But when you are outsourcing your FD services, you already get someone with professional training who can churn out more appointments for you. In addition to this, there are often hidden overhead costs of paying an employee such as insurance fee, cost of hiring, sick pay and even vacation leaves. External companies generally charge a monthly or an hourly fee, thus greatly reducing your overall cost. A few companies are known to charge a hefty sum for FD services, yet with some diligent search you can find a few companies who cost you nearly half of what you are paying your inhouse FD with a significant improvement in efficiency and productivity.
  • Sheer expertise- One of the many reasons why dental companies love to outsource their FD services is because of the expertise these companies have in growing your business. These companies can surely do your work much better without you reeling under the stress of appointment scheduling and calls. 

Now that you have seen the main reasons why dental companies should outsource their  FD services, here is a rundown of the benefits you get and what additional things you can focus on, if you outsource your services:

6 Benefits of Outsourcing Dental FD Services

While outsourcing is increasingly becoming a common practice in the dental world, it has also sparked debate in the market concerning its viability in the long run. In case you too are having doubts about its efficacy and whether you should adopt it, here are 6 benefits of outsourcing your dental front desk practices that will put you at ease:

1. Significantly reduce missed calls

One of the most pressing concerns for a dental office FD is missed calls. There are many reasons contributing to the same. You may be short on your FD staff, your staff maybe on a leave, washroom or lunch break. You can even miss calls post work hours. While these situations seem to be absolutely normal, you could end up losing a major chunk of business due to just missed calls! Imagine the opportunity for a conversion lost and you can thank external agencies who can step in and save the day. When you outsource your FD tasks to an agency, they not only pick up calls in the first 2-3 rings, but also address the patient’s issues and provide a temporary solution and later leading to appointments. Not to mention that their phone answering etiquettes are top notch and you never have to worry about upsetting a caller. Another silver lining to hiring agencies to do your FD work is that they are never understaffed and there are sufficient people to answer all incoming calls throughout the day.

2. Round the clock service

Yes, that is like an icing on the cake because the needs of a dental patient can’t just be restricted to normal office hours. Someone may be in a lot of pain requiring an immediate service at the dead of the night. Agencies are well equipped to handle such close shave cases and can provide the patient with temporary relief while scheduling an appointment for the next day. This also goes on to improve your reputation by a milestone in the market and you can have an assured patient conversion.

3. Frees up your receptionists time 

Needless to say, most dental office receptionists are always under so much pressure to handle multiple tasks at a time. This often leaves them frustrated and burnt out, thereby impacting the quality of call with new and existing patients. But when you outsource your work, your receptionist can focus on just existing patients and other important tasks while all new calls are taken up by the agency. 

4. A smooth reminder and follow up service

In most dental practices, there is a huge gap between patients and your FD in the fact that they often forget to remind patients of their next appointment date or when it comes to a new call, they skip the follow up part which is the most important part in conversions. There are times when a patient may simply text instead of calling to confirm an appointment and often FD staff don’t reply back. This can show poorly about your services and you have already lost a patient. This doesn’t happen when you let professionals handle your work. From prompt response to a regular follow up, agencies do it all, without delay and without the rushed in feel of a time cramped FD.

5. Appointments can be scheduled according to patient’s time and convenience

People today are always on the go requiring a quick service at their convenience. They generally prefer to get a dental service done either before or after their work hours or maybe in between lunch times. It can be tricky for your receptionist to figure out and keep a track of what time suits your patients, especially when they try to communicate in the “after office hours” This again means you are losing out on business. An agency can keep a track of all that and schedule appointments as per the patient’s convenience. 

6. You can focus on more important work

Once you outsource the majority of your FD work, you have a lot of free time to focus on other important things in your office. You can train new dentists under you or hone your skills better to learn new technologies, attend conferences and trainings too. Most importantly, you can dedicate all your freed up time on growing your practice further. 

7. Call Track

Unlike a regular FD, a few companies dedicate extra time and effort to help you track the source of the patient’s calls, i.e how they discovered you. This data is very crucial as it helps you understand and streamline your marketing strategy and budget. And surprise, there are a few excellent service providers like Spot on Scheduler, that don’t even charge you a penny for such an important service.

Obviously an excellent inhouse FD is an asset, yet outsourcing your FD tasks can open a whole new opportunity for you to work on better things to scale your business. Alternatively you can opt for companies which focus more on handling and conversion of new enquiries, tracking calls, and improving ROI, while your inhouse FD can deal with the existing clients and take care of other office jobs.This hassle free process ensures you get more appointments by spending less money as you would have on an internal team. There are companies who are experts in this field and their major aim is to help grow your practice. So, if you are weighing in the pros and cons of hiring an internal team vs outsourcing your services, maybe it’s time to jump on the trending bandwagon and try the latter without a streak of stress clouding your great practice. 

3 thoughts on “Dental Front Desk: Should You Hire In-House Or Outsource It?”

  1. Yes, that’s correct. I think that Outsourcing is better, it can definitely improve the quality and provide 24/7 services to the patients which will increase the business of the practice.

  2. The workload at your front desk continues to grow as the dental business expands and you start to accept more patients. In such a situation, dentistry would benefit from outsourcing the front desk services.

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