When you work in healthcare, your reputation means everything. What your patients say about their experience being treated by you — whether it’s good or bad — can certainly have a significant impact on your ability to attract new patients and retain old ones.
The reason for this is easy to understand. It doesn’t matter whether you handle medical emergencies, cosmetic procedures, or elective surgeries: your patients come to you trusting that you will be able to restore their health and increase their wellbeing. If they have a positive experience at your office, they will be more likely to return and to recommend your services to more people. But if your patients feel uncomfortable, unheard, or unsatisfied, they may advise their loved ones against seeking your care when the need arises.
In the past, these experiences may not have played such a big role in your medical practice’s reputation. But in modern times, a bad online review or negative statement can leave a permanent mark on your office’s standing.
Nowadays, social media, review websites, and online platforms such as blogs have made it easier for potential patients to seek out information about their healthcare provider. This can act as a double edged sword — after all, one poor review may not reflect your practice’s usual high standards of care, but it can still reach thousands or millions of people in the span of a just a few days or weeks.
The importance of maintaining a pristine reputation in healthcare can’t be overstated. However, many healthcare providers often forget that their reputation can hinge on many different factors, some of which can seem harder to manage than others. For example, what role does your non-medical staff in improving and maintaining your office’s reputation?
Believe it or not, a patient’s experience begins long before they even walk through your door. Unfriendly staff can make patients feel unwelcomed and apprehensive, and a poor first impression can take hold when patients who call your office can’t reach anyone. Long waiting lists and an unorganized schedule can also make it more difficult for you to generate a good impression on your patients, even before you actually get to see them.
Virtual answering services can provide solutions to many of problems commonly encountered by medical practices on a daily basis. Read on to discover how an answering service can enhance your medical business’s reputation.
Lessening your on-site staff’s workload to allow them to give each patient their full attention
Imagine visiting your healthcare provider only to be welcomed by a grumpy, rude receptionist. You’re already worried about your health, or looking for treatment for an ailment, and having to interact with a member of staff who is stressed or short-tempered would probably only make you feel worse and maybe even consider switching to a different healthcare provider.
Healthcare staff usually have to handle a significant amount of different responsibilities, which can make them overworked. This can lead to unpleasant interactions, mistakes, and poor customer satisfaction.
By hiring a virtual answering service and taking this responsibility off your staff’s shoulders, you will increase the time that they have to devote to each patient, increasing the likelihood that they will feel cared for and satisfied.
Sending out automated reminders and other messages to each patient to make them feel appreciated
Something as simply as a text message can make patients feel like your practice takes them into account, thus improving their experiences. Virtual answering services can be customized to offer automated reminders, which can be sent out to patients before appointments, once their test results arrive, or even to send out relevant information as you desire.
Automated reminders are a great way to maintain an ongoing line of communication with each patient. Without having to invest extra time or effort into sending out messages, your patients will feel appreciated and be able to communicate with your practice more effectively.
Maintaining a well-organized schedule to shorten waiting times
Long waiting lists can be very unappealing for prospective patients. One of the easiest ways to ensure shorter waiting lists is to make your daily schedule as efficient as possible, leaving no idle gaps in your timetable. This will allow your practice to offer shorter waiting lists, which can increase your patients’ satisfaction.
Automated reminders and virtual receptionists can be very helpful to maintain an effective schedule. By providing your patients with multiple ways to communicate with your practice, you can easily schedule new appointments, take cancellations quickly, remind patients of their appointments to reduce no-shows, and reschedule appointments and follow-up consultations without hassle.