For a medical practice, professionalism and reputation are everything. When patients visit their doctor’s office, they expect to encounter a professional working environment where operations run smoothly to ensure the best quality of care. A messy, unprofessional medical office risks being seen as less trustworthy and capable than its competitors.
However, many small details can prevent your practice from projecting a professional image. Even situations that seem innocuous and common can lead to patient dissatisfaction, a poor reputation for your practice, and fewer patients in the long term.
As a physician, it is highly important for you to never underestimate how much your reputation can affect the way your community perceives you. This perception can also have an impact — whether positive or negative — on your business and revenue. If you wish to strive for your practice to constantly improve upon itself, you have to find ways to project professionalism each day.
A virtual answering service can be a very helpful tool for practices to improve their image. They can take on many tasks, allowing you to manage your day-to-day operations more efficiently and providing an easy way to communicate with your patients. Here are four ways in which hiring an answering service can help your medical practice project professionalism:
1. It will ensure that each customer is greeted in a friendly, professional manner.
The treatment that your patients receive from each and every member of your staff is sure to have a significant impact on their satisfaction.But a patient’s perception of your practice is formed long before they even walk through your door; instead, it starts when they first contact your office through a phone call.
By hiring a virtual answering service, you will get to work with professional operators who have already received extensive training before they are assigned to your practice. Rather than having to train new staff to handle phone calls, you will be making sure that your patients are treated in a professional yet warm manner before they even come to your practice.
2. It will keep your customer service lines open 24/7, 365 days a year.
A simple way to increase your patients’ trust in your practice is to ensure that they can always communicate with you. This is especially important in the healthcare industry, where emergencies can occur at any time of the day.
For your patients, knowing that their doctor is always easy to reach can be a great comfort. This can improve your practice’s reputation by making each member of your community feel valued and taken into account.
However, keeping up with your phone at all times can be draining or downright impossible. But remote operators will be able to pick up phone calls 24/7, taking messages to be delivered later or transferring calls directly to you or another member of staff according to your instructions.
3. It will help you shorten waiting times and maintain an efficient schedule.
Long waiting times are a common complaint for many medical practices. They may seem unavoidable, since procedures can take longer than expected and patients can forget their appointments or turn up late, thus delaying your entire schedule.
But this relatively simple issue can have a significant negative effect on your practice, creating discontent among your patients and leading to an inefficient use of your working time. A waiting room that is constantly full of disgruntled patients can impact your practice’s reputation and discourage new patients from coming in.
When you hire a virtual answering service, you will have to option to create automated reminders that will be sent out to your patients under specific circumstances. For example, you can choose to send out reminders to each patient the day before their appointment to decrease the risk of a missed appointment. You can also ask them to confirm whether they will attend, inform them that their lab results are ready, or send out any information that you believe may be relevant or useful.
As a result, these reminders will be able to help you shorten your waiting times, keeping your waiting room clear, and improve your practice’s image and your patients’ satisfaction.
4. It will create a more organized environment and improve your daily operations.
Thanks to your new answering service, your schedule will be updated regularly, automated reminders will reduce the risk of no-shows, waiting times will be shorter, and your on-site staff will have fewer responsibilities to handle each day. These changes will facilitate the management of your practice’s daily operations, making it easier for you and your on-site staff to focus all your attention on each patient to ensure that they have a positive, rewarding experience and receive great quality of care.
Although they may seem subtle, it won’t take long before these improvements are noticed and appreciated by your patients and community.