Don’t Forget to Keep Moving - (Even though nobody really likes change)

 Let me start with the following sayings:

·         Change is only the constant in life.

·         Human beings are creatures of habit.

·         You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks.

·         Real change is hard.

You’ve heard them all, and so often that it is hard to remember that beneath their familiarity there are some underlying truths.

Think of it like this; you are in a large airport and you step onto a people mover, you know, those belt driven moving sidewalks that you take in between terminals. You can stand there perfectly still, yet you are moving, and before you know it, you are there. That is kind of the way time carries us along and we barely notice we are moving, but it also comes with the danger that we can get behind in technology, because it always moves a little faster than we perceive.

When you were ten years old, what kind of telephone was in your home? Ask yourself the same question when you were twenty, then thirty. When I was ten we had a rotary dial phone (permanently tethered to the wall) and found the phone numbers of our friends printed in a telephone book that arrived on our porch every spring. When I was twenty, phones with button dials were becoming common on payphones in closeable phone booths, like the ones Clark Kent stepped into to change into America’s first rock star superhero. (I never quite understood how that really worked to protect his secret identity, but that’s another story.) When I was thirty, cordless home phones were the rage. At forty, the first portable phones, with pullout antennas hit the streets. They were large and heavy and had miserable range. At fifty, the Blackberry was on everyone’s Christmas list. (Needless to say, my habitual naughtiness assured that I would have to wait another year or two before I got mine. That brings us to the present and, although I still have a slightly outdated Samsung 7 while everyone around me is sporting the new Apple X, I am pretty up-to-date.

My point is that change grinds on, and for the most part, we either roll along updating as the market moves ahead, or we don’t. (Everyone reading this probably knows someone that uses an old flip phone that does not even have Wi Fi.) 

So, what is the purpose of this sixty-plus year history of my phone life? For the last nine years, phones have played a large role in my life as Lynette and I founded and have operated our contact center, but that is not what this is all about.

As time and technology progress I see many dentists buy all the latest clinical tools that revolutionize oral health and aesthetics, yet many do not yet understand that their office desktop telephone remains their most effective tool for making money and growing their practices. It is the portal through which most new patients will enter your practice. Think about it; they see your ads they call. (But there is so much more your phone system can do, and that list is rapidly growing.) They find your website and they call, live-chat or send a text or email (by the way, chat, text and email happen through telephony). They respond to your mobile app, and they call you. They appreciate your text confirming you’re their next appointment, or your text reminding them of their next appointment.

Understand it; embrace it. Train your staff to answer the phone well and consider using 24/7 contact center. Let trained agents answer your calls afterhours and on weekends and schedule them directly into your practice management calendar. Let them cover your calls when you have an all-day training. Know that if your weather keeps your office from opening that you will have live voices calling your patients to reschedule appointments and keep your clientele informed.

I have a true admiration for the many jobs your front office does, but these days, phones can be overwhelming without the training and support of a professional contact center. Ask any office staff member what is the biggest impediment to getting their work done, and they will always tell you it the constantly ringing of the phone. Don’t let all the benefit of the phone be considered a nuisance by harried employees. Hire someone to only answer the phone; train that person in all the modalities of the telephone.  Harness the potential of modern telephony in promoting your practice to new patients, handling the daily traffic of your existing patients, and back up your front office staff with modern contact center.

Call Shea at 404-937-3620 and ask her about how we can help you realize all the potential ways modern telecommunications can move your practice forward.

John Ross