By Dr. Greg Grillo
Telephone technology transformed communications in the late 1800s, and over a hundred years went by before a significant change occurred to landline systems. Traditional phones use analog technology to send signals through physical switch boxes that connect two phones. This twisted-pair copper wire hardware has proven reliable, but it’s limited to a few standard features. Plus, legacy phone systems require extra space for wiring and switches, especially in business settings. In 1995, the first Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOiP) phone systems broke into the market. VoIP phones work on the same broadband connection that computers do with plug-and-play simplicity. This simple link opens up a different world for businesses on the digital highway, including dental practices. Comparing landlines vs. VoIP phones for a dental office puts legacy business phone systems against newer technology. Our practice looked at it the same way we did when we switched to digital x-rays. It didn’t take long to realize that setting aside processors and chemicals for sensors and screens made so much sense. Take a look at these critical benefits to decide if it’s time to elevate the office phone system in your practice:
Benefit 1: Numerous Features
Traditional copper wire phones only support a few features, and there isn’t room for expansion. If you’re happy with caller ID and voicemail, a landline may continue to serve your practice. But if you’re looking for more ways to manage today’s complex communication needs of consumers, consider a shift to VoIP. Digital phone systems introduce more features than most practices need, but the options allow a customized solution for every challenge. Take Legwork Phones, for example, which includes approximately 70 features built into their plug-and-play system. From fax to email to two-way texting, you can integrate your phone with your other communication channels in one place.
Benefit 2: Advanced Technology
VoIP phone services feature all of the technological advantages of the digital space. Despite the long feature list, a broadband connection is the most complex part of the equation. Once you’re plugged in, your internet connection takes over with reliability and speed, serving as a valuable communication tool for your dental practice. Legwork Phones are up and running within minutes, and they don’t require a new skill set to enjoy the technology. Your team can design customized call flows with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor. Additionally, you can control how each extension handles incoming phone calls by dropping them onto a dial plan. Then if you need to make an update, you can easily modify and click “save.”
Benefit 3: Cost Savings
Landline hardware can cost a small fortune to install, and multi-line business systems include complex switches, wiring, and maintenance. The gold standard is no longer copper phone lines as most companies invest in digital infrastructure. A VoIP system is plug-and-play simplicity, but the savings extend well beyond installation. VoIP phone bills don’t leave you holding your breath as you unfold a monthly stack of papers, and you won’t find a list of long-distance charges or taxes and fees requiring a glossary to decipher. Plus, there aren’t separate line item costs for features like call forwarding, call recording, or voicemail transcription. You simply find much more for much less. Many businesses enjoy 30-50% savings in their phone service costs, and that’s a number worth considering.
Benefit 4: Built In First-Class Service
When patients call your dental office phone, their experience sets the tone for their perception of your brand. About one-third of people report frustration when they’re put on hold, and 50% of people say they’d switch to another brand after one poor customer experience. Service during and after business hours influences patient satisfaction. One way a VoIP helps deliver on our brand promise of excellence is through an auto attendant who greets the caller when waiting on the line, and informs them someone will be with them shortly. We can customize our phone service with cloud-based systems that route calls anywhere we want them to go. If we’re gone, patients can select customized options to get live or recorded help with call-forwarding to a cell phone, for example. Legwork Phones pulls patient information from your practice management software, so everything your team members need is at their fingertips. Call pop-up features cut hold times and impress callers with instant insights.
Benefit 5: Tie Communication Channels Together
Phones fill a vital role in the multi-channel communication strategy that engages our patients. About 75% of people expect to find a consistent experience when interacting with a business through different channels. The look and feel of our website should match our social media presence, and the live interaction with our front desk or messaging system should build more credibility. Scheduling tools, like Legwork Online Booking, continue to give consumers more of what they want. But 88% of healthcare appointments still occur through phone calls, and a live interaction brings an opportunity to impress, convert, and retain patients better than any other channel. VoIP systems bring voice communication onto the digital playing field and help us provide a consistent next-level experience to patients.
The Best Phone System For A Dental Office
When you consider the VoIP vs. landline debate, you realize there’s not much of a contest. We’re in the high-touch business, and our patients deserve service that meets and exceeds interactions with other brands. Less than one-third of companies currently use VoIP, so we have an opportunity to stand out and offer better service. The best phone system for a dental office ultimately depends on the smiling voice that answers. But the proper framework supports higher efficiency, more savings, and happier patients.