5 Tips To Manage Incoming Calls At Your Medical Practice Better
Managing a medical practice requires understanding the importance of proper handling of all incoming calls. It is important to realize that health concerns requiring medical assistance can happen outside the 9 am to 5 pm period. These can happen any hour of the day and night. So, you need a 24/7 answering service to always be there to answer all patient calls. Neglecting calls outside business hours exposes your practice to loss of revenue and risks patients’ health. To avoid this, here are ideas to improve management of incoming calls.
Keep staff well equipped
By the time someone calls your office, these are often worried and anxious about his or her health. Handling such customers requires equipping your staff with appropriate training in best industry practices. Additionally, always take your employees for refresher courses on appropriate phone etiquette. A medical office needs to have everyone to be courteous, helpful, and friendly to patients.
However, some hectic days can make medical practice staff not to act nice towards patients. Well, employees with appropriate customer service training always maintain their composure towards patients regardless of circumstances. Patient experience on the phone determines whether to come to your practice or to hang up and call another doctor.
Hire a doctor answering service
Medical issues might happen around the clock. Even when your practice is closed for the day, there are high chances of customers calling wishing to talk to a doctor. These might have clarifications they seek regarding their prescription or to book an appointment with the doctor. Hire a physician answering service to always be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for your patients.
An answering agency has live agents to attend to all callers. These will come in handy for tasks including taking messages for non-urgent calls and getting to the physician immediately for emergencies. The answering service works remotely to give you backup during staff shortages, emergencies, power outages, and when your internal lines are busy.
Prompt response to patient queries
Patients sometimes call a medical practice when frustrated with their current situation. The best way to calm them would be to give them an appropriate solution to their issue. Calling at an odd hour and being asked to leave a call back message will just cause more frustration. In addition, the chances are high that the caller will just hang up and call another practice.
Talking to a live agent will soothe and calm the callers regardless of their situation. Professional phone agents are experienced and understand the best way to talk to patients in such a situation. These listen to patients before making appropriate solutions. Busy callers wishing to book an appointment with the doctor will hang up after confirming their appointment date. This will lessen incessant calls to your practice.
Offer educational materials
When patients come to your practice, give them some educational materials for references at any time. These might answer some of the questions patients might have before calling your practice. Patients won’t have to call for minor issues in your reference materials. Patients will be more inclined to first read the materials before picking up the phone. The educational materials might be in form of:
- Blogs on your site
- FAQs on your site
By the time the patients pick up the phone to call your practice, they will have a better understanding of how to explain their condition. It also lessens the chances of frequent calls for minor issues that can wait. The answering agents will find knowledgeable callers easy to handle and not using much time.
Give patients visit summaries
Patients don’t absorb everything during the appointment with the physician. There is a likelihood of reaching home and calling to get clarification. To avoid this, take note of whatever transpires and give the patient a copy. An overview of their visit will give patients confidence that you are offering them personalized treatment.
Equally important is recording calls to your practice for reference purpose. In case a misunderstanding comes up or you need clarification, the recording will come up to save the day. When patients have an overview of their last visit, it becomes easier to remember their next appointment. This will limit the chances of unnecessary calls about their next appointment. When you use an answering service, your agents will not have to send more reminders. This significantly lowers the chances of appointment no shows.
Preventing patients from feeling alienated on calling your practice requires having an answering service to listen to their concerns carefully. This limits the chances of miscommunication that might inhibit offering quality patient care for ultimate satisfaction. To manage patient experiences in your practice involves various approaches including appropriate management of all incoming calls. Offering a 24/7 customer service relieves patient fears about accessing your services.