Ryan O'Carroll

Ryan O'Carroll


Why, How and When Dental Practices Should Use Professional Voicemail

The voicemail (previously known as an Answerphone Machine) was developed in the 1930s and widely adopted by businesses in the 1980s. It’s still popular today, and in recent times has been drastically improved to deliver more value to businesses, and make the customer experience better.

When first invented, it was a separate device which was connected to your Phone System or Phone Line. Now it’s simply software built into a Phone System.

What are these drastic improvements, and how can Dental Practices take advantage of Professional Voicemail to increase their success?

Let’s find out.

What is a Professional Voicemail?

A Professional Voicemail is an automated answering service that meets the following requirements of businesses:

01. The message communicates meaningful and helpful information to your patients.

02. The message sounds perfect and creates a positive impression of your dental practice.

03. The length of ringing before the message is played (and the message itself) is automatically adaptable for different times, days and purposes.

04. Voicemail messages trigger an instant notification (on the handset, PC, or Smartphone App) to the Dental Practice and can be accessed and listened to easily and instantly. From anywhere in the world.

05. The Voicemail System should (if wanted) give Dental Practices the option for patients to “press 1 to be connected to the emergency out of hours service” if one is offered by your practice.

These are the high standards we set for ourselves when we reinvented the modern-day Business Voicemail.

Top 9 Reasons why Professional Voicemail is Important for Dental Practices

01. It helps you provide excellent service to your patients.

02. It communicates to and receives communication from your patients which leads to more patient appointments booked.

03. It helps patients get the information they may need.

04. A great, well thought-out and professionally recorded voicemail message gives you another opportunity to make money.

05. It shows patients you care about them.

06. It satisfies patients and builds trust in your dental practice.

07. It can create a positive and professional impression in your patient’s mind.

08. It makes it possible to contact patients quickly enough to get/keep them as patients.

09. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to put your vocal pipes to great use. (Only joking, an actor will do that for you).

Questions You Should Answer Before Deciding How to set-up Your Dental Practice’s Professional Voicemail

In this section we’ll look at the different features Professional Voicemail offers Dental Practices, and discuss the best ways to use them.

How Many Different Messages do we Need?

Is one message for any time of the day enough? Probably not. Let’s look at why.

By only having one message which plays both when you’re open and closed, your message will not be specific enough to deliver the correct communication to your patient. The message will also likely be tediously long.

Two messages usually hits the spot. One message for when you’re open, but can’t answer – called an OPEN VOICEMAIL MESSAGE. And another message for when you’re closed – called a CLOSED VOICEMAIL MESSAGE.

This way you can tailor the message to deliver useful, relevant information to your patients. (It’s worth noting that modern Yo Telecom Phone Systems automatically switch between Open and Closed Voicemail Messages depending on the time and day of the week – so your patients always hear the correct message.)

How do You Communicate a Meaningful and Useful Message to Patients?

The first thing you should find out is what do patients want from a voicemail?

Here are some things patients said they want from a Dental Practice’s voicemail:

– To know they’ve called who they intended to.

– The reason why the call wasn’t answered.

– When they can speak to you (opening hours).

– What alternative methods of communication are available.

– What to do if they have an emergency.

– When their call will be returned if they leave a message.

– Guidance on what they should do to speak to you as quickly as possible.

I’d advise that you don’t try to fit all of those points into one message. Decide which points are most important for different times of the day and create a message around what is important to you and more importantly your patients.

Patient expectations can vary, so it would be helpful to ask your patients what they’d like.

So, with the above information, you can start to wordsmith a meaningful message for your patients. (Or, if you switch to Yo Telecom our script writers will do this for you).

Here are two examples of messages we’ve created for a Dental Practice.


“Thank you for calling [name of Dental Practice] – the home of convenient dentistry since the 1950s.

We’re sorry we can’t take your call. We are open, but currently busy helping other patients.

We aim to return all calls within one working hour, so please leave us a message with your name and number and we’ll be in touch shortly.”


“Thank you for calling [name of Dental Practice] – the home of convenient dentistry since the 1950s.

We’re sorry we can’t take your call right now as we’re closed.

We’re open from 8 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday, and closed on the weekend.

If you are in need of an emergency out of hours appointment, we can help. We now offer appointments 24-7, 365 days a year. The call out fee is £189 plus the price of the treatment you receive.

To be connected to the out of hours dentist please press 1 now.

Alternatively please leave us a message after the tone and we’ll aim to call you back when we open.”

Will Returning Calls Promptly Lead to Happier Patients and More Revenue?

Short answer – yes. But why?

Professor James Oldroyd of MIT discovered that if you call back within 5 minutes of a patient’s enquiry, you are 100 times more likely to reach the patient as opposed to calling back after 30 minutes. This proves the importance of returning calls quickly.

Let’s take a look at what can happen when you leave it too long to call back.

The patient has unanswered questions or unsatisfied needs and wants, and may start to search for alternative dentists on Google… and voila, within 15 seconds your prospective new patient (or existing patient) is on Joe Schmoe Dental Practice’s website, reading all about why they should get their treatment done by Dr Schmoe.

On the other hand, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.

A patient leaves you a voicemail message on a Sunday – and is expecting you to call back on Monday.

But you have a Yo Telecom Dental Practice Phone system and get the voicemail instantly emailed through to you. You listen to it and find out the caller has stumbled across your website and is interested in implants.

So you call the patient right away. You know what happens?

You exceed that prospective patient’s expectations on the first interaction. And that sticks in their mind. You don’t just say you offer great service, but you prove to this caller you offer great service.

In this scenario, you satisfied the patient’s need before she even made it to Joe Schmoe Dental Practice’s website.

Pretty smart eh?

Should we Give Patients the Option to Speak to us Directly out of Hours?

If you offer an “out of hours” emergency service, you want to make it easy for patients to contact you.

If you don’t offer an out of hours emergency service you may want to consider it for the following reasons:

01. It’s extremely valuable for both patients and your practice.

02. It differentiates your practice from the competition.

03. It can be a good (and sometimes untapped) source of new patients.

04. You can charge higher prices for emergency work.

05. Emergency medical and dental treatment improves communities and lives in times of need.

However, most practice owners and managers do not want patients to have their mobile numbers (even if they offer out of hours services). Probably because their partners would not appreciate a wake-up call when your dear patient John Bloggs falls over and cracks his tooth after having a few too many drinks in the early hours of Saturday morning.

So what is the solution for this?

Time specific Voicemail messages that enable patients to press 1 to be connected to you. And you chose the hours that the message plays, which is to say, the hours you’re happy to provide out of hours emergency appointments.

You may want that message to switch off at 9:30 pm, or maybe not.

Whatever suits you, the Yo Telecom Phone System is flexible.

A Professional Voicemail has many benefits for both patients and Dental Practices.

Professional Voicemail is on the upward trend in the dental industry, with the likes of The Dental Group, Knightsbridge Dental, Ferring Dental and hundreds more hopping on the bandwagon.

We suggest booking a free demonstration of our dental phone systems to find out more about how Professional Voicemail, in conjunction with Call Logging can help you achieve your goals in 2018 and beyond.

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