IN THIS ARTICLE
Introduction to phone trees
A phone tree presents a caller with two or more options when they call your practice. Adding a phone tree helps you triage inquiries, increase efficiency, and manage patient needs any time of day. Practices using Spruce commonly have two phone trees, one for clinic hours and one for after hours, set up to match your business schedule.
Phone trees are available to customers on the Communicator plan and above. Customers cannot self-configure their phone tree. To have a phone tree set up on your account, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed description of your phone tree flow and all the necessary audio files in an mp3 format. You can use this document as a template for how to describe your phone tree flow.
If you are unsure of how to organize your phone tree flow, please continue reading to see some example templates below.
Clinic hours templates
Department phone tree
The following template can be used to direct patients to a specific department during clinic hours. It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an option. Each option can then ring a specific phone number or go directly to voicemail. You can include a separate audio file for each option, so each one has a different voicemail greeting.
Staff member phone tree
The following template can be used to direct patients to a specific staff member during clinic hours. It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an option. You can have each option ring a different provider. You can include a separate audio file for each option, so each one has a different voicemail greeting.
Language phone tree
The following template can be used to direct patients to different people and voicemail boxes for based on the language they speak. It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an option. You can have each option ring a specific number, and you can include a separate audio file for each option, so each one has a voicemail greeting spoken in the specified language.
Recording phone tree audio
Once you have decided which template or other phone tree design works best for your practice, prepare and email all necessary audio files in mp3 format to email@example.com.
The quality of your recordings will be apparent to your caller. Be sure to speak clearly without background noise, and please listen to the recording before sending it to Spruce to ensure your voice is audible. Read more in our article about audio recording.
After hours template
Urgent escalation phone tree
The following template can be used to direct patients to after-hours options. It opens with a main greeting that explains they have reached your practice after hours and directs them to select an option. You can have urgent and non-urgent options, where the non-urgent option goes directly to voicemail, and the urgent option rings the on-call doctor. It can also be set up so that the on-call doctor receives an SMS text message notification indicating that an urgent voicemail has been left.
To accommodate holidays and vacations, you can switch to your after-hours phone tree at any time. Follow these steps for holidays and other times your office is closed:
- Select the Gear Icon to open your Settings, select Phone Numbers, and select your Spruce Number.
- You will see the active phone tree listed. Select Edit and select your after-hours phone tree.
- Toggle the schedule to off (white).
- When the holiday or vacation ends, repeat the steps, but select your clinic-hours phone tree and toggle the schedule to on (blue). Your previous schedule will resume.
Editing an existing phone tree
Customers cannot edit an existing phone tree on their account. To edit an existing phone tree, please communicate the necessary edits to the Spruce Support team. If the edit entails replacing audio files, please send us the updated mp3 file(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the edit requires changing part or all of the existing phone tree flow, please send us the new described flow, and the updated mp3 file(s) to email@example.com.
Simultaneous and sequential dialing
If any node on your phone tree rings a Contact Group (meaning the node connects to a defined group of numbers or phones within your organization), you can choose to have the phones in that group ring either simultaneously or sequentially.
Simultaneous ringing (the default option) means all phones in the Contact Group will ring at the same time. The first person to pick up the phone will field the call; the other call attempts will be dropped once the call is answered. This choice is best for smaller teams where the priority is to answer the call as quickly as possible, no matter who is available.
Sequential ringing will ring the phones in the Contact Group one at a time, starting with the phone that has gone the longest without answering a Spruce call, and skipping any phones that are currently engaged in an active Spruce call. This is commonly known as Round Robin. This choice is best for call center setups where it's important for calls to be distributed evenly across a team of operators.
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