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Choosing a Phone System for your Dental Practice

Looking for a new telephone system for a Dental Practice can be a daunting task especially with the number of communication companies vying for your business.  Finding the right service provider is vitally important if you are going to reap the potential rewards on offer.  Even small Practices can promote a big Practice presence by choosing a system that is right for their needs.  

You should be able to offer delay free access to your Practice via the telephone at the local geographic call rate.  It is vital that an appropriate number of incoming and outgoing lines are available to handle all your call requirements.  Delivery of strategic marketing and Practice information messages, designed to promote treatment and services offered, is paramount.

“Pitfalls – What you need to know”

Selecting the wrong phone system could become a costly barrier to success:

Having visited many Dental Practices we have become concerned at the apparent miss-selling of unsuitable phone systems that has not benefited the Practice or enhanced the Patient experience.  Furthermore, the financial cost and contractual obligations of such systems, is proving to be a mill stone around the neck of many Practices for which there appears to be no escape.

We have all heard the well used phrase ‘If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is’ well this is certainly the case for some of the supposed benefits being promoted by at least one Telecommunications Company offering their services to GP and Dental Surgeries.

You will be asked to change to a 0844 number for which it is said callers will be charged a local geographic call rate based on BT charges, but in addition they will also be charged a connection fee of over 2 pence.  Furthermore, callers with free landline call packages will find that 0844 and 0845 number is excluded so higher charges will apply.  This is also true of mobile phone accounts for which the call rates are considerably higher.  All in all, callers do not benefit from this service, as they will in many cases, be paying higher charges.

It is worth noting that NHS Practices cannot make profit from calls, but a percentage of call charges is used to offset the cost of the equipment thereby getting around this regulation, but what does the equipment actually cost?  You will be offered the chance to lease the system over an extended period to reduce the monthly cost and this could be for as much as 7 years.  It is worth noting that a 7 year contract on electrical equipment is too long given the operational life of such devices and the speed with which developments in technology occur.  Comparing the cost of equipment to other providers you may be very surprised at just how much it will cost you in the end.  We would suggest that you may be paying premium rates for average but functional technology.  Remember that at the end of the leasing period unless otherwise specified, you will not own the equipment.  
The contractual cost of an 0844 number is excessive and like the equipment contract, getting out of it, is extremely difficult and costly.  It is a legal obligation of the seller to inform the customer that they are entitled to cancel their contract within a 14 day cooling off period, but examination of some contracts have established that this clause is missing. 

If you elect to use the financial services of a leasing company the purchaser must also be offered a 14 day cooling off period, and the contract must clearly show the interest rate and actual interest being applied to the agreement.  Once again this mandatory requirement is not always followed so you may not know exactly how much the system will cost you over the life of the contract.

Finally the last thing any Practice wants is an increase in complaints from Patients who have been unable to get through or have been on hold for excessive periods at their cost.  Having the wrong phone system will without doubt damage your Patient experience and you’re hard earned reputation, so remember, ‘Buyer Beware’. Test the market before rushing into a contract that you will later deeply regret, but the good news is there are good ethical Communication Companies out there offering solutions to match your Practice needs and budget.

Communication must be regarded as one of the most important aspects of any Dental Practice and should be given the fullest consideration it deserves.  It provides the opportunity to make that all important first positive impression, that can make the difference between success and failure.

If you would like any help or guidance on this or any other business issues please contact us via our website at:
http://www.psds-solutions.com/contact/contact.asp

 

Case Study of a Dental Practice in trouble
We were contacted by a Dental Practice owner who was in total despair because his business was in disarray and at risk, with little hope of recovery » read the full story

PSDS Solutions were instrumental in helping to turn our dreams into reality
 Our 2 surgery, leased practice with 7 staff had evolved into a 4 surgery, state of the art practice with almost 20 staff, in our own premises in the same village, and is the envy of every dentist in the locality.Their support is ongoing and we know we can still just pick up the phone and call them if we need advice or guidance. Thank you! » read full testimonial

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