The importance of human touch can’t be justified enough. The ability to connect with clients on a personal and deeper level is the secret ingredient for success in any business. Being able to answer a call and trying to meet its purpose should be at the core of every business, more so in case of dental practices where trust, reliability and turnaround time is quite crucial. Many dental practices don’t realize the value of this, and in the bid to save money, time and effort, end up investing in automated answering machines. While automated answering machines are a great way to be available to your patients all the time, it certainly isn’t the best way. Infact, dental practices can lose a major chunk of their business due to their answering machines! Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, people are more drawn towards businesses that rely on “human touch” , meaning practices that employ real humans at the other end of the phone who understand and are compassionate towards their needs.
Why Human Touch?
As a dentist, you are probably committed to multiple appointments and other important tasks a day, sparing a very little or no time to focus on your front desk. Going by the usual trend, you have installed an automated answering machine. It is good as long as you are getting regular appointments and are personally keeping in touch with your existing clientele (which can become quite hectic in the long run). But in case you have already started seeing a significant drop in your practice growth (which is imminent with an automated answering device), you have to start questioning your decision. Put simply, human touch is irreplaceable. Here is why:
1. Always puts customer perspective first
With an automated answering machine, you surely can tackle multiple calls at a time without having to worry about missing any. This may seem like a great solution to scaling your business but sadly, doesn’t work in the long run as you are not taking the most important factor, ‘customer perspective’ into consideration. By simply customizing a few static answers into the automated machine, you may feel like you have saved ample time but are you answering all the questions that your potential patient is looking for? Most likely not. But when it is a person at the other end of the call, there is a hope for your callers to be heard and understood. A well-trained receptionist can easily connect with a client and help answer their queries.
2. There is a “real” connection
An answering device isn’t capable of connecting or conversing with patients which makes it much less likeable amongst dental patients, who probably are enquiring about a service, are already anxious about their appointment or in an instant need of a treatment. A front desk staff, on the other hand, can easily connect with their caller and be compassionate and understanding with their concerns and queries. This puts the caller at ease and they are more likely to schedule an appointment with you without a second thought.
3. Less hang ups and missed calls
The cost of setting up an automated answering machine is much less than hiring a receptionist, but since the automated machine doesn’t have a personal touch to it, most callers will hang up halfway because they need someone who can actually converse with them and answer their questions. This practice also makes a client question the reliability of your dental services because often, patient loyalty begins with the first call. So, in case you are wondering why there are so many missed calls and fewer appointments, maybe it’s time to replace your automated answering machine with a live person.
4. Follow ups calls and reverts
While the modern answering machine can be fed multiple answers and responses, it is practically impossible for it to follow up with your existing and potentially new clients. This can cost you your business. While you may argue that you can easily make some calls between appointments, practically speaking, it isn’t a viable practice as it is impossible to manage calls, schedule appointments and treat patients all at the same time. Hence, you need someone who you can rely on to do these tasks and who better than a dental receptionist, trained to handle such day-to-day situations? Also, over a period of time, good receptionists develop a great bond with your patients which benefits your business by retaining old patients while creating a new conversion funnel.
5. Texting with patients
Another advantage of a human touch over an automated machine is the ability to text your clients and the unique benefit it provides. People today are attached to their phones 24*7 and prefer a text over call due to their busy schedule. By texting with your patients, you can greatly improve your rapport with them and also show them that your dental practice encourages preventative care. Texting has other benefits too, like simplifying the process of scheduling appointments. You can remind your patients of their upcoming appointments or remind someone to make their first without being overbearing or dominating. This human touch goes a long way in improving communication with your patients. Also, sending out texts to your patients is a very cost effective way to remain in touch with them thus helping in revenue.
Texting your patients can also ensure that you improve your after care practice. How? You ask? For example, your patient has undergone a procedure that requires them to follow some steps after it is done. So, instead of just orally explaining it to them (which they are likely to forget), you send out a text with the detailed steps. This increases patient loyalty and your client can bank on you for any queries afterwards.
6. Less hold time
One noticeable advantage human touch has over automated machines is that there is always someone to answer calls and a much lesser hold time with no irritating request to focus on the menu. in case of an automated machine time exhausted is more with the patient bearing through an extensive menu trying to figure out the option closest to their need. No one likes a long wait time. Period. When a patient is made to hold, they are most likely to hang up the call and never call back again. This way you are losing your potential patient to some other dental practice in town. But when there is a live person handling the call on the other hand, people automatically wait to be heard and spoken to.
7. Can multitask
Well, an automated answering device is a machine after all and no matter how hard you programme it, it fails miserably when it comes to multitasking. But with a receptionist, this isn’t the case. A person can easily multitask like talking to a person while texting the other or filing a tax invoice and schedule an appointment via texts and so on.
8. Better at tackling emergencies
The one and certainly not the last thing that gives a real receptionist the advantage over automated machines is the fact that a real person is equipped to handle emergencies while a machine doesn’t have that kind of capability. There can be many day-to-day emergencies like handling a distressed client or managing multiple appointments where a human touch can work wonders.
It is evident from the above points that human touch definitely steals the show when it comes to dental clinics. Hiring a good receptionist who values your patients and is also compassionate and understanding towards them is gold. In addition to that you can always train them to handle special situations and emergencies which you can’t in case of an automated machine. No matter how advanced the human race becomes, you can’t completely eliminate the wonder of a human touch.