Top 4 Mistakes Dental Offices Make on the Phone

July 6, 2018

With so many pressures on dentists, phone training is easy to let slip. After all, dentists have a lot to do. They don’t only treat patients. They must also run a full business and keep up with continuing education requirements to maintain their license.

All those responsibilities mean that ensuring your practice runs as smoothly as possible is critical.

According to Laura Hatch from Front Office Rocks, one of the key areas that can make or break a practice is the way your office handles the phones. If you do it well, you’ll build strong relationships with current and prospective patients. You’ll also achieve a higher return on your investment in marketing by getting more people to make appointments to come in for treatment.

When that treatment involves implant dentistry, the impact of improving your practice’s phone handling is even greater. Implant dentistry is life-changing for patients. Patients may even cry in your chair when they see their beautiful smile for the first time after years of hiding it. It’s also highly exciting and profitable for dental practices. Cases range in value from $2,500 to well over $10,000. Thus, implant dentistry helps you transform lives while you increase profits and decrease your workload. The better your office can perform on the phone, the more you’ll be able to achieve that impact. Here are four mistakes dental offices make on the phone that get in the way of building a successful implant dentistry practice.

1. Not answering the phone.

In many dental offices, the phone doesn’t garner much attention. It’s just there. If the phone rings and a team member isn’t doing anything, they’ll answer it. If not, they’ll let it go to voicemail.

That’s a big mistake, especially if you’re investing in a marketing campaign to attract implant cases.

Every time your phone rings is an opportunity to build a deep relationship with a patient or prospective patient. If the person calling is responding to an implant dentistry ad, that call is an opportunity to transform their life and your practice.

When you don’t answer the phone, you send the message that you’re too busy for them. Most people will move on and call the next dentist on their list. Only a small percentage will leave a message.

Be sure someone answers your phone during business hours. Rotate lunches so an experienced team member is always available to answer.

2. Letting the phone ring too many times.

Letting the phone ring over and over again before answering tells callers they’re not important to you. Many people will hang up after a few rings. Those who let it ring will feel less important when someone eventually answers.

When people call your office, they want to feel heard and important. Laura recommends making sure an experienced team member is always available to pick up the phone within two or three rings, tops.

One way to do this is by ensuring at least one team member is working on something that is not patient-facing, such as paperwork or administrative work. That way, when the phone rings, they can pause what they’re doing and give their full attention to the caller.

3. Placing patients on hold.

Answering the phone just to put people on hold has a similar effect as not answering the phone or letting it ring too many times. It can even be worse. A rushed “dentist office please hold” does not create a very warm first impression. Make sure someone is available to receive calls at all times, and avoid putting people on hold as much as possible.

4. Putting untrained personnel on the phone.

The phone is your lifeline to the outside world and can go a long way toward building deep patient relationships. Avoid putting new or untrained people on the phone. That puts them in a position to fail and can hurt your practice. Have the new person do other things until they get proper training on your practice and phone etiquette.

Are you making any of these mistakes with the phones at your office?

The way your office handles the phone will have a big impact on your success. Do it well, and you and your team will perform more life-changing procedures and improve your profits. Do it poorly, and your patients and profits will suffer.

If you want to hear more about how to improve customer service and train your team, you can listen to our full interview with Laura Hatch from Front Office Rocks.

You can also book a FREE Strategy Session with Driven Dental Marketing’s founder, Charles Biami, by visiting and hitting the big green button. During your free 15-minute strategy session, Charles will cover how you can implement a program to attract and convert more high-value patients to your practice.


Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.

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Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.