Do you have the ‘right’ telephone system for your practice’s needs? - Veterinary Practice
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Do you have the ‘right’ telephone system for your practice’s needs?

believes that many practices don’t know much about their telephone system and what it can do and provides a checklist of what to look for, especially when thinking of changing

DID you know:

  • 89.6% of all appointments are
    made by the telephone;
  • 91.8% of emergency cases, first
    use the telephone;
  • 92.3% of follow-ups from the
    practice are made by the telephone.

These data indicate the telephone
provides a gateway to your turnover
and profit. The telephone is a
fundamental tool within your practice,
allowing you to engage
and offer

If your
practice is to operate at
efficiency and respond to client
demand, it is crucial that all calls are
answered during business hours.

Outside of the working day,
demand is best met through out-of-
hours and emergency telephone lines.

Business continuity is key:
telecommunication systems play a
central role in delivering this.

Most practices are unaware of the
telephone system they are using; they
may also not know the facilities and
benefits available and, above all, what
they are currently paying for.

Updating your current

You may be hesitant to update your
current system because it works
efficiently; however, the benefits of
changing to a new system are plentiful.
Modern telephone systems offer a
range of optional features and at
Demco we advocate this change to
enhance client satisfaction, increase
client appointments in your practice
and increase income.

  • Hold
    . Why
    just have
    when you
    can play recorded messages telling them about
    special offers or new products.
  • Auto-attendant. An automatic
    menu system that allows callers to
    direct their own calls from a series of
    options. Imagine using this to deliver
    your out-of-hours emergency calls.
  • Call recording. Useful for training
    staff and for regulating businesses.
  • Auto-call distribution. Set up users
    to receive calls by department. Allow single users to combine into multiple
    groups or alone on a single direct dial
  • Voicemail. Individual voicemail,
    shared mailboxes and unified
    messaging which sends your voicemail
    to your e-mail account so it can be
    accessed from a mobile device.
  • PA access. Make announcements on
    a public address system from your
  • Cordless. DECT handsets let you
    move around the site while retaining
    all the functionality of a desktop
  • Call management software. Track
    the number of calls made and
    received, see how busy your lines are
    and, most importantly, obtain a list of
    missed calls and, where possible, call
    your clients back.
  • Integrate the clinical software to
    the telephone system
    . This will allow
    a more professional approach to
    answering calls and have the ability to
    prioritise urgent calls (this is subject to
    your PMS provider).
  • Multi-site practices. Easily link
    telephones between practices to allow
    for central operators, overflow
    answering positions, and reducing
    overall costs for inter-practice

Selecting the perfect system

The first step in selecting an
appropriate system and supplier is to
work out your exact practice
requirements. It is important to
determine the number of phones and
lines in your practice system and the
features that you just cannot do

Do not forget to consider the direction of your practice
– if you anticipate growing
or networking your
practices, ensure you make
this a priority.

Price is an important
consideration, but do make sure you
also check the following in regards to
your provider:

  • Installation. Will the supplier
    provide a comprehensive installation
    package, including testing of the
    system and training?
  • Support. What level of technical
    support will be on offer? Do they
    have a helpdesk?
  • Maintenance. Does the price
    include parts and labour? Do they
    offer efficient remote programming
    and maintenance support? Do they
    have a back-up system? Do they have
    adequate parts for your system?
  • Call packages. Does the telephone
    system supplier also offer call
  • Service. Can they offer you 24/7
    service on your main number?
  • Reputation. Is the supplier
    established? Can they provide
    testimonials from previous clients?
    Are they solvent?
  • Leasing and finance. How many
    years is the rental? Do you have to
    provide notice? Or will it
    automatically terminate? What
    happens to the system at the end of
    the contract? Can they provide a breakdown of the system
    cost and applicable
    interest? Be very clear
    about what terms you are
    entering into.

Above all, ensure you
check all contracts for the duration and cancellation notice; there is
nothing worse than having a long-
term contract and you find yourself
stuck with a provider that does not
meet your requirements.

As for the buzz words, well there
are hundreds, so you really need to
understand the meaning of references
to ISDN lines (which is a must), VoIP
systems and SIP trunks to ensure you
are receiving what you require.

Hosted solutions

Hosted solutions are often branded
as a cheaper solution, but are they
really? Compare all costs, including
IP handsets, servers, PoEs, licences
for each user, the length of contracts,
and the implications of taking your
numbers back from the Cloud or
change providers.

…and finally

This is a simple guide and Demco
Communications is happy to act as a
consultant, with simple advice on
your current technology, how and
where enhancements can be made,
and examine all your current
contracts if you have any doubts.

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