Auto-Attendant or Live Receptionist?
First things first – what do your callers first hear when they call your number?
During Business Hours
In most cases, your receptionist(s) are the first to greet your clients when they call your main business number – but rarely is a receptionist available 24/7. So first, establish business hours:
- Set hours for when you are open and when you are closed
- If your receptionist is unavailable during their lunch hour, add lunch hours
- Closed for holidays or conferences? Select all days the office will be closed
Once your business hours are set, consider what you’d like to happen in the event your receptionist is unable to answer a call – direct the call to a virtual receptionist (auto attendant) or send them to a voicemail box. In most cases, we see the later occur.
During Closed Hours
While your business is closed, you may send callers straight to voicemail, but you may have a few other options for them as well. If that is the case, sending callers to the Virtual Receptionist will allow you to play a greeting and give your callers the options at their disposal.
Send Appointment Reminders via Text
Reducing the amount of appointments that are missed is crucial – appointment reminders are a great way to do just that. A few things first:
- Make sure your business is successfully registered to use business SMS
- Revisit how and where you capture your clients’ phone numbers, checking for clear language about consent opt-in to receive text messages
- Revisit how your clients can opt-out of text messages and ensure your methods keep their records up to date so you never have to guess
Once you’ve confirmed the above, you’re ready to create appointment reminders in the VirtualText App with pertinent instructions like cancellation policies or a reminder about your new location. We also recommend to save these as canned reminders to save your team time and ensure a consistent experience.
Appointment reminders can also be a great way to employ Auto Reply Keywords.
- Give clients an option to cancel their appointment when they reply CANCEL
- Let clients reschedule their appointment when they reply RESCHEDULE
- Best of all, let customers confirm their appointment with a simple reply of CONFIRM
Park, Transfer, and Manage Multi-Line Phones
Dental receptionists are often managing multiple clients at once – setting appointments, checking for updates with available dental hygienists and doctors, and placing clients on-hold while records can be checked. In a VoIP system there are two main ways this is handled.
Using the Buttons and Options on a Desktop Phone
Today’s VoIP desk phones are extremely powerful – handling several callers at once and displaying the availability of other employees in the office. When you are setting up a new phone, make sure to review the options available for your particular phone and test parking, retrieving, transferring, and placing on hold calls using your phone’s buttons. While a phone’s display and the amount of lines it can manage varies across models, the following video gives a typical overview:
Using Feature Codes on Any VoIP Phone
While most dental receptionists use a VoIP desk phone, and we highly recommend to take advantage of the quick access options for your particular phone, it’s good to review the following fallback options available on any VoIP phone in your system, including Softphone Apps and the VirtualPBX Web Phone.
- Direct to Voicemail (**): When an incoming call goes to a user, the user may press transfer on the VoIP device, enter **, and then the extension number of the voicemail box to transfer a call to voicemail.
- Check Voicemail (*97): This feature code will allow you to check the voicemail box of the extension/user in which the device is attached to. You may be prompted for that voicemail box’s PIN number, depending on your configuration
- Check Voicemail – Auto Login (*98): This will allow a user to check their voicemail from a device assigned to them without the need to enter the password. They will still need to enter in the mailbox number they wish to check.
- Park and Retrieve (*3): When someone is on a call and they wish to park the call they first must press the transfer button and then enter in *3 + specific number (ex 555). This puts the call in parking spot 555. Any user can then go to another device on their account and dial *5+(parking number) and then dial send. This will retrieve the call on the new device.
- Valet (*4): Provides the next available parking spot number and places the call in that parking spot.
- Retrieve (*5): To retrieve a call press *5 + the park or valet parking number number.