Avoid These 3 Answering Service Mistakes for Medical Professionals
What are the answering service faux pas to avoid for medical professionals? Let’s dive in and discover so we know what to avoid!
Did you know that 44% of US customers will turn to a rival after experiencing bad customer service? When medical services fall short of expectations, customers will switch to another doctor.
Inconvenient business hours, inadequate interaction with your staff, or trouble accessing information are all factors that can detract from the patient experience in your practice.
As a physician, you do not believe that selecting the best answering service call center would be difficult. But, this comparatively minor cost will prove to be vital to your practice.
What are the medical professionals’ answering service mistakes to avoid? Let’s dive in and discover so we know what to avoid!
Choosing The Right Answering Service?
The worst mistake medical professionals can make is assuming that all answering services are the same or don’t matter.
Your medical answering service is your “twenty-four-hour front desk.” Your daytime receptionist is always the first point of contact with your patients, new and current.
If they do not sound pleasant, compassionate, and competent, or if they are less skilled or careless with facts, the outcome is catastrophic for your practice. The same goes for your after-hours service.
It is of the utmost importance to provide the best possible service to improve how the patients see you and their treatment. In reality, your patients are your customers, even though you may not want to think about your practice as a business.
Choosing the Right Answering Service
Your medical answering services handle all incoming calls to your practice. You should handle calls with a high level of customer service and pay careful attention to detail. Your answering services should also have client information confidentiality.
However, when hiring a medical answering service, you must prevent the following.
1-Dropping of Calls or Misdirection
Sadly, there are so many overlooked horrific stories of patients as a result of an answering service. That may be as a result of being unable to forward the call or hasn’t steered the patient in the right direction.
Time and consistency are critical in most health issues, and if you don’t have confidence in how you need the patient call handled, there may be a problem. Failure to contact a doctor about a patient in immediate trouble or call the wrong doctor in the middle of the night isn’t just a bit annoying but could end in a serious problem.
Few things irritate you as a doctor more than being contacted after hours when you are off duty. Worse, the patient is in distress and needs your assistance, but your provider fails to reach you promptly. It’s even more aggravating when the service cannot differentiate between an urgent call and a routine call. You’ll be surprised by how difficult it is for most answering systems to distinguish calls accurately.
2-Slow or Abprut Service
Patients deserve to feel that their welfare and well-being are a top priority. They deserve to know that when they contact medical professionals, they will be taken care of, not pushed to the side, which intends to have a medical answering service. However, some answering centers are short-staffed, and callers are placed on hold for extended periods of time.
According to research, if callers go through to voicemail or placed on hold for longer than 30 seconds, more than a third will hang up and not call again. This is especially true when patients call a doctor’s office.
If a patient suspects that the office is too busy to return phone calls promptly, they will conclude that doctors’ appointments and emergencies will be delayed. Leaving patients on hold for extended stretches of time is simply an opportunity for them to hang up and opt for more attentive service.
Similarly, rude and blunt receptionists who are curt or impatient can make callers wonder whether they will get the same treatment from anyone else in the practice. Each call reflects on your credibility, and it is an opportunity to instill trust and confidence in the caller rather than annoyance and mistrust.
3-Taking Correct Information
In the healthcare sector, accuracy is important, and inaccurate information is intolerable and could be fatal.
A top answering service can understand the importance of properly tracking and documenting all calls and reactions so that you know who called, why they called, and how the call was treated.
Clients place a high emphasis on time and efficiency, so you can make it as simple and convenient as possible for them to communicate with you, even though your practice may be closed.
For a profession to be credible and trustworthy, patient reports must be correct. Answering service receptionists are accountable for the accuracy of the details they provide. Errors with a patient’s name or contact number and insufficient knowledge about a health concern jeopardize a practice’s credibility and can have a negative effect on the patient.
Tailor Making Your Answering Service
It’s important to understand how critical it is to provide a personalized service to your practice. It sounds really simple at first. For example, the standard, please answer our phones, and if it’s urgent, please contact me ‘the doctor.’
However, there are other things to consider like:
- how you want to be contacted
- what to do if you don’t respond
- who’s on call and when
- what to do when you’re out of town
- what to do when you’re closed for lunch
- do you want your nurse to know what calls you handled last night
- what to do with non-urgent consultations
- prescription refills
Using an answering service that specializes in medical answering is extremely beneficial, to put it another way, so you won’t have to “start from scratch.” These challenging problems would be much easier for you to deal with if you have the correct medical answering service.
It’s Not Just An After Hours Service
Medical professionals often think that an answering service is just something they will use after hours. There are various times you will need to switch to an answering service during the day, for instance:
- what do you do when you’re closed for lunch?
- who will be on call (if anybody) at that time?
- what do you do if your phone lines are busy
- what do you do if your front desk is not able to answer?
- What happens if nobody turns on the answering machine before leaving the office?
All these issues can be easily handled. However, if you have never considered them, you will miss out on all of the assistance that a great answering service will offer.
Medical Professionals Need More Than a Traditional Operator Service
Medical professionals will be mistaken if they believe that the conventional operator service is the best and only way to go. It’s true; the standard operator service is still the better option for certain applications, such as scheduling appointments.
Like almost all other aspects of medical answering service, though, a fully integrated system would better accommodate patients and relieve doctor-on-call concerns. A well-designed, automated service can distinguish between urgent and non-urgent calls, make it simpler and faster for patients. They can leave messages, send messages to doctors faster and more accurately, and make it easier for doctors to call back.
Patients have no desire to waste time dealing with a call center agent who has no medical knowledge. They just want to speak with their doctor as soon as possible.
Handling Calls Twenty-Four Seven
Even if few people expect you to handle their calls around the clock, they do expect someone to respond. And the focus is on an individual rather than a thing, such as a machine or mechanical recording.
You don’t want to disappoint them, and your doctor’s answering service will help you avoid it and be there 24/7. That ensures you don’t leave it to chance, including how you communicate with patients and callers throughout the day.
When a competent patient answering service takes a call and answers it with care and compassion, it sets the tone for good relationships with your patients and with your employees the next day. Consider how a good call answered by a medical answering service will result in a 5-star rating. What you have to do now is build on the foundation your answering service laid when that call came in.
Uphold Your Oath!
In the medical industry, round-the-clock call answering isn’t just a perk. It is also a requirement, particularly in the event of an emergency. A reliable answering service makes it possible for practices to work seamlessly at all hours of the day and night.
On the other hand, a bad answering service will damage a practice’s credibility. It will also place patients’ details in jeopardy, and add a burden to medical professionals’ workload.
Patients often think they are speaking with a staff member as they contact their doctor rather than a remote operator. As a result, the practice’s answering service receptionists must give outstanding patient service on every call.
Outsourcing the practice’s calls allows you to sleep well at night by ensuring that your patients are treated with care and respect 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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