Phone Trees

IN THIS ARTICLE: 


Introduction to phone trees

A phone tree or auto attendant presents a caller with two or more options when they call your Spruce number. 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 their business schedule. 

For example, if a caller dials your Spruce number during business hours they may hear:

Press 1 if you are a new patient, press 2 if you are an existing patient and would like to speak to a provider, press 3 if your question is related to billing. 

If a caller dials your Spruce number after hours they may hear:

Press 1 if this is non-urgent and can be addressed the next business day, press 2 if this is urgent and you'd like to page the on-call provider. 

Phone trees are available to customers on our Communicator plan ($49/user/month). Customers cannot create their own phone tree. Please continue reading this resource for directions on how to submit your phone tree request to Spruce Support so that it is configured and added to your account. Email support@sprucehealth.com 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. 


Phone tree templates

These phone tree templates are meant to guide you so that you understand the parameters to design your phone tree. You do not need to follow these templates exactly, they only serve to provide examples of common ways customers outline their phone tree. 

  • Department by extension
  • Team member by extension
  • Language by extension 
  • Urgent escalation 

Clinic hours templates

Department by extension 

The following template is used to direct patients to a specific "department." It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an extension. You can outline you phone tree so that each extension rings a unique number or group of teammates, or so that a given extension does not ring, and instead goes directly to voicemail. Each extension can have a unique audio file for the voicemail greeting. In the example below, the voicemail greetings are outlined in the black text and white bubble background. 

Team member by extension 

The following template is used to direct patients to a specific staff member. It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an extension. Each extension can ring a different provider or group of providers. Each extension can have a unique audio file for the voicemail greeting. In the example below, the voicemail greetings are outlined in the black text and white bubble background. 

Language phone tree

The following template is used to direct patients to different people and voicemail greetings based on their preferred language. It opens with a main greeting that welcomes callers to your practice and directs them to select an extension. Each extension can have a unique audio file for the voicemail greeting––so each extension has a voicemail greeting spoken in the specified language. In the example below, the voicemail greetings are outlined in the black text and white bubble background. 

After hours template

Urgent escalation 

The following template is used to direct patients to specific extensions that would notify you after hours. It opens with a main greeting that explains they have reached your practice after hours and it directs them to select an extension. In this example, the extensions are urgent and non-urgent. The non-urgent extension goes directly to voicemail, and the urgent extension rings the on-call doctor. A notification system can also be enabled so that the on-call doctor receives an SMS text notification indicating that an urgent voicemail has been left. 

Call Forwarding 

Once your phone tree is created, you will have a Ring Group for each extension which we call a Contact Group. Contact Groups define which phone(s) should ring when a certain phone tree extension is selected. This is to ensure that the right team member(s) is being reached. Contact Groups don't exist by default in your account, they are created for you by the Spruce Support team when they configure a phone tree on your account. 

Each Contact Group contains a list of external phone numbers, VoIP phones, and/or teammates in your organization. You can manage which phones ring when a given phone tree extension is dialed by adjusting the phone numbers selected to ring in each contact group. To clarify, you can have a phone tree with just one or multiple Spruce business numbers. Team members are able to take calls from any extension directly on their cell phone or VoIP phone, as long as they're listed in the Contact Group for the specified extension. Each "item" (i.e., a VoIP phone, phone number, or teammate) in a Contact Group can be enabled or disabled individually. 

For example, changing your Contact Group settings would allow you to do the following:

  • Route calls to a different desk phone or person based on who's working in the office on a particular day.
  • Ring the appropriate provider after-hours based on who is on-call for a given shift.
  • Forward calls to a covering physician when a provider goes on vacation.
  • Manage existing Contact Groups 
  1. Select the Gear Icon to open your Settings.
  2. Select Contact Groups.
  3. Select + Add Number or + Add VOIP Phone or Teammate to add cell phone numbers, desk phones, or teammates. If you select a teammate, the cell phone number associated with that teammate's Spruce account will ring. 
  4. Select the toggle to enable (blue) or disable (gray) any numbers.
  5. Select the Three Dots icon to the far right of each row to remove an item from a Contact Group.

  • Simultaneous and sequential dialing

When you request to build your phone tree with Spruce Support, you can elect one of the two behaviors for each extension's Ring Group:

  • Simultaneous ringing: all enabled numbers in the Contact Group will ring at the same time. The first person to pick up will connect with the caller; the other call attempts will be dropped once the call is answered.
  • Sequential ringing: the enabled numbers in the Contact Group will ring one at a time, starting with the number that has gone the longest without answering a Spruce call, and skipping any numbers that are currently engaged in an active Spruce call. This is commonly known as Round Robin.

How to set up a phone tree 

You will need to submit your request to create a phone tree to Spruce Support. You can verbalize your request through the Spruce Support channel in the Spruce App or via email: support@sprucehealth.com. Please note, phone tree requests take 1-3 days for us to implement after we receive your request. 

  • Submit a Phone Tree Request

Here is an example phone tree request: 

"Hi, here is my phone tree request for clinic hours (M-F 8am-5pm PST) and after hours. The audio files (A-F) are attached. 

When Open:

Main greeting (audio file A) "You've reached Spruce Counseling. To speak with the front desk about scheduling, billing or other general questions, dial 1. To leave a message for Provider A press 2. To leave a message for Provider B, press 3. And for Provider C press 4. Thank you.

Extension 1 rings "front desk", extension 2 rings "provider A,"  extension 3 rings "provider B,"  extension 4 rings "provider C."

Front Desk greeting (Audio B) You've reached the front desk. Please leave a message and I will get back to you within one business day. Thank you.
Provider A greeting (Audio C) You've reached the confidential voicemail box of Provider A. Please leave a message and I will get back to you within one business day. Thank you.
Provider B greeting (Audio D) You've reached the confidential voicemail box of Provider B. Please leave a message and I will get back to you within one business day. Thank you
Provider C greeting (Audio E) You've reached the confidential voicemail box of Provider C. Please leave a message and I will get back to you within one business day. Thank you.
When Closed:
Main Greeting After Hours (Audio F) You've reach Spruce Counseling. Our office is currently closed. Our front desk is open M-F 8 am- 5 pm. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911. To leave a message for the front desk regarding scheduling, billing or other general concerns please press 1. To leave a message for Provider A press 2. To leave a message for Provider B, press 3. And for Provider C press 4. Thank you.
Extensions go directly to voicemail and same audio files play as during business hours (Audio files B-E). "
  • How to record audio greetings 
You can use a voice recording app (like Voice Memos on the iPhone) to record your audio files for each extension. We prefer mp3 format but we can accept most other formats and we will convert them to mp3 before building your phone tree. 
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. Please title your audio files clearly to correspond with a detailed outline of your phone tree.


Make adjustments to an existing phone tree

Please submit all phone tree edits to Spruce Support via the Spruce Support channel in app, or via email support@sprucehealth.com.  Please note, phone tree updates take 1-3 days for us to implement after we receive your request. 

  • Edit 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 support@sprucehealth.com.  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 support@sprucehealth.com

  • Holiday or out of office update

To accommodate holidays and vacations, you can switch to your after-hours phone tree at any time. If you would like to have a particular holiday greeting play instead of your after hours phone tree please send us the updated holiday recording to our email support@sprucehealth.com. 

Follow these steps to manually override your clinic hours phone tree to play your after hours or holiday phone tree on holidays and other times your office is closed:

1. Select the Gear Icon to open your Settings, select Phone Numbers, and select your Spruce Number. 

2.  You will see the active phone tree listed. Select Edit and select your after-hours phone tree. 

3. Toggle the schedule to off (grey). 

4. 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. 

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