Communication is key for the success of your veterinary practice.
Making sure that there is always somebody available to take an emergency call from a distressed pet owner, that your vets are contactable during the day, that your clients are receiving regular updates and that you have an phone system that works for you and your team is a key part of this communication, not just for your clients but your internal team as well.
Whether you are looking at what kind of phone system you are going to pick for your new veterinary practice or thinking about upgrading from the system you’ve had for years, we would always recommend to make sure that you investigate further than the usual landline.
When asked by our clients we always recommend a cloud phone system. A cloud phone system (or VoIP) uses the internet to work, in the same way your computers do. Essentially, VoIP uses your Internet connection to make calls and your voice is transmitted as data over the Internet. It offers unlimited voice calls, instant messaging, video calls and even document sharing via modern desk phones as well as Windows, MAC, Android and iOS applications.
They have become increasingly popular with veterinary practices over the past few years, and are fully adaptable to the size and scope of your practice now, and the practice you plan to become.
Below we have highlighted some of the more important considerations:
|Multimedia||Transmit voice, video, and any form of multimedia just like you do on the Internet||No support for multimedia. Only voice|
|Scalability||Easy and inexpensive to scale as your practice grows||Additional phone set and wired phone lines needed in order to scale|
|Add-ons||Large number features available at no additional cost (call waiting, forwarding, call parking, etc.)||Limited options for add-ons, most of which cost extra|
|Outages||Calls can be forwarded to a secondary device during a power outage if needed||Usable during a power outage|
From this table it is obvious to see why we recommend VoIP to our clients. But it is important for you to understand how VoIP will specifically help you in your veterinary practice. So below we’ve highlighted some features that we think you will find useful:
- Making and receiving calls no matter where you are on mobile, tablet or laptop as well as your standard handset.
- Connect multiple sites easily and cost-effectively with one system.
- Communicate across departments such as receptionists forwarding calls to one of your vets in another room/site.
- Instant messaging between your team, making quick direct communication easy if your workforce is dispersed.
- Video calling and ad-hoc conferencing, which is great for internal meetings whilst your team are scattered between home and the practice.
- If your receptionist is busy automatically direct the call to the next available person.
- Keep communication professional by making outbound calls as the practice phone number no matter what device you are using.
- Personalise your hold music.
- Ensure that staff members only get calls meant for them by utilising ‘hunt groups’
- Give your clients options to choose who they talk to i.e. Reception or Billing or which practice they want i.e. Large animal or small animal
The only caveat with a VoIP system, which we want to bring you your attention is that you will need to ensure that your internet is good enough and that you have an internet resiliency plan in case you experience downtime.
From where we stand, as long as you have the above the benefits that you and your veterinary practice will gain from using a VoIP system rather than a standard landline far outweigh any issues you might have.
It is always kept up to date. As it’s a cloud-based system its regularly updated by the provider with new features at no extra cost to you.
It’s the most cost effective. Any VoIP system is scalable to the size of your practice, it can grow at the same time as your team, so if you are looking to grow your practice then this is the best choice for you.
It optimizes availability. With a VoIP system a member of your team will always be available for clients, and you’ll be able to seamlessly transfer calls between devices and users, providing a smoother transition for your clients.
It makes communication easier. Whether you have a small practice, or work across multiple sites, the ease of being able to transfer calls easily or instant video chat means that communication is quick and easy.
If this article has given you food for thought, or you have questions about whether a VoIP phone system would work for you and your practice book a chat with one of our Veterinary IT Experts.