5 Things to Look For in A Doctors Answering Service
It’s important that a medical answering service be as accessible as possible. Here are five things to look for in a doctors answering service.
If you’re in the healthcare industry, it’s important to make sure you’re available to your patients when they need you. With all the moving parts of a physician’s office, this availability can prove difficult. You have patients to deal with, insurance to process, and those little office emergencies that can require your attention.
You can fix this problem with a doctor’s answering service. This allows you access to customer support reps that can answer questions and set appointments for your patients.
You want to make sure you sign up with an answering service that can take care of your office needs as a doctor. There are five factors important to a good doctor’s answering service.
What You Need from a Medical Answering Service
When sourcing an answering service, you want to look for professionals that understand the healthcare industry. You also want to find a service that’s available to your patients when they need help.
1. 24-Hour Service
90% of consumers require an immediate response when they have questions. For many, an immediate response means contacting someone within 10 minutes. This means you need customer support available 24 hours a day.
The need for 24-hour service is most important for a doctor. You want someone available to direct calls in case of a patient emergency.
24-hour service also means basic patient questions get answered, cutting down on interruptions during your day. A 24-hour service can also set appointments for office hours, meaning you don’t lose patients due to lack of response.
Short Hold Times
Along with around the clock service, you want to make sure patients get immediate access when they make a call. The longer someone stays on hold, the more likely they are to hang up and reach out to another doctor.
Check out the hold time for the answering service. Make sure they have enough reps to deal with calls so patients get immediate access to someone who can answer their questions. You can’t ensure an absence hold times, but you can check for limited time waiting for answers.
2. HIPAA Compliant
As a physician you have HIPAA regulations you must follow. If you use an answering service, it’s important to ensure they can meet this HIPAA compliance as well. An answering service with experience in the medical field will understand these HIPAA regulations.
HIPAA compliance ensures patient safety and privacy. Make sure they have encryption and safety measures in place to secure patient information. Check out what technologies and firewalls they have in place to protect this information from hackers.
3. Bilingual Customer Service
There are 41 million Spanish-speakers in the United States. This makes bilingual customer service reps essential to running your office. You want to make sure you can meet the needs of all patients in your area.
Check out the answering service’s availability of bilingual reps. Make sure they provide reps at all times of day that can help your Spanish speaking patients. You want reps that have a clear command of both English and Spanish to ensure the best service is provided.
Professional Sounding Reps
Whether it’s Spanish or English, you want to ensure answering service reps deal with your patients in a professional manner. Make sure the reps speak clearly so patients can understand the information they provide.
You also want to make sure reps know how to respond to emotional needs. You want to find reps that can show empathy to your patients and respond with compassion. You also want to ensure they are trained to answer basic questions so frustrated patients don’t need to wait to get help.
4. Multiple Call Centers
Power outages can happen to anyone due to weather or other disasters. You don’t want these outages to disrupt customer service though. A good call center will have a plan in place to keep lines open when outages occur.
The best way to deal with this is to provide multiple call centers. This means if one center is affected, calls can get directed elsewhere so patients can still get in touch with someone.
Ask about their plan to deal with outages before signing on with an answering service. Also, ask about their policy regarding notifying your office of any issues that arise.
5. References Provided
Before you sign with an answering service, it’s important to research their success. A good call center will provide references from other customers so you can evaluate their services.
Check out all the references and reviews to ensure the service provided will meet your needs. If they don’t list the references on their site, request references before making a decision.
If you want more information, these references should be available for you to contact. Make sure you can get your questions answered to make an informed decision.
A Free Trial Can Help with Your Decision
As you research your options for answering services, you should also check for a free trial with the center. A free trial time will help you see how well the service works for your office needs.
Look for a service that will provide this free trial period so you can weigh your options. Make sure you understand their trial policy including how long the trial lasts and the steps involved in canceling or completing the agreement.
This trial period gives you a chance to check out the basic services provided by the call center. This also gives you a chance to determine if you need other services with your plan.
Doctor’s Answering Service Professionals
There are many answering service companies available to choose from, but you want an answering service that can meet the needs of the healthcare industry.
It’s important to find a service that understands the details of working with patients so you maintain compliance and take care of your patients. If you’re ready to get started with a doctor’s answering service, contact us for free quotes.