If you’re like me, you put a premium on task automation and leveling up productivity. I wanted to share an approach I use in my wife’s dental practice with RingCentral, our dental office business VoIP phone system provider, to automate holiday office closure call handling. The approach I developed requires just a small investment of time annually and puts holidays on auto pilot.
Three basic steps can get you started:
- One time creation of dental office holiday voicemail greeting
- Annual RingCentral Admin Portal update to holidays
- Annual update of dental office closure days / holiday hours on website and any autoresponder technology
If you follow these three easy steps, you will:
- Automate phone related logistics of holiday office closure
- Eliminate errors in call handling
- Say goodbye to last minute scrambling
- Ensure patient satisfaction
- Reduce stress and put your mind at ease with “set it and forget it”
This is applicable to any dental office, medical practice, or small business for that matter which uses a phone system like RingCentral.
Interested in how and why I chose RingCentral to power my wife’s dental practice phone system, read this comprehensive review.
1. One-Time Creation of Dental Office Holiday Voicemail Greeting
Inform callers of office closure with a voicemail greeting dedicated to holidays different from your standard after hours greeting. Load or create a “message-only extension” simply by logging into your RingCentral Admin Portal and navigating to Group(s) Other(s) > Others. This will be a one-time effort, once the message-only extension is setup, simply point holiday call routing to it.
With an eye toward scale and automation, do not mention specific holidays or days / times the office will reopen in this greeting. Point callers to a website instead – this decoupling provides you massive flexibility and allows you to keep the same greeting year after year only having to make a trivial annual change of closure days / holiday hours to your website.
2. Automate Dental Office Holiday Call Routing via Annual RingCentral Admin Portal Update to Holidays
The goal in this step is to create custom call handling for days the office is closed so that callers immediately hear the holiday message-only extension created earlier if they call your office on a holiday.
At the heart of this effort is call routing and RingCentral makes this pretty intuitive. Simply knowing the days your office will be closed ahead of time is Key to making this step straightforward – ideally, you setup a annually recurring calendar reminder early in the year and knock out all of this in probably 20 – 40 minutes the first time and less than 20 minutes in follow on years.
To get started setting up custom answering and call handling rules for holidays within the RingCentral Admin Portal navigate to Auto-Receptionist > General Settings > IVR Settings > Custom Answering Rules and click the Custom Rule button.
Add Rules for the major holidays you know your office will be closed. These could include Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.
I recommend setting up a single Custom Rule for each holiday, it’s pretty straightforward:
- Simply name the rule for the holiday (i.e. Memorial Day).
- Select “Date and/or Time” under Define Conditions and enter the day / time you want this custom rule to be active – I always use ” Specific Date Range” here.
- Under Define Call Handling and “Select Action to Take When Incoming Calls Match This Rule:” choose the “Bypass greeting to go to extension” radio button and use the “Select Extension” button to point to the holiday message-only extension referenced earlier.
First-time setup will take longer than coming back in on a annual basis to adjust the “Time” for each holiday and ensuring it’s toggled to Active in the system.
3. Annual Update of Dental Office Closure Days / Holiday Hours on Website and Any Autoresponder Technology
The flexibility this process provides comes from decoupling the holiday message-only extension and a venue to host accurate office closure information. While you will very likely update your holiday hours on both Google and Yelp, ideally you’re pointing patients to your website as the standard of truth for your practice.
- Updating your website with known holiday closures.
- Ensuring all inquiry forms and autoresponders are updated with correct information. If a patient prefers to interact with your practice via your website and/or email, they should enjoy the same experience as someone calling the office.
Office Closed Holiday Voicemail Is Easily Automated with Ringcentral
Following this three step process in conjunction with RingCentral has allowed me to:
- Automate tedious phone system logistics related to holiday office closure.
- Eliminate errors in call handling and last minute scrambling, ultimately creating a better patient experience.
- Reduce stress for my wife and I knowing systems are in place and configured correctly so we can actually enjoy the holiday!
RingCentral is super powerful, robust, and a comprehensive cloud based phone system for dental and medical offices (read more about my opinions in this honest phone system comparison review).
It took me a few years to put this plan in place, hopefully this how to article will fast track you getting more value out of your RingCentral system.
Can I help you with anything related to your RingCentral dental or medical office phone system, want to comment, or just say thanks, please reach out to me.