Even if you don’t recognize the term, you probably already know what overflow call volume means: that dreadful sound of uninterrupted phone ringing when no one is able to take the call.
Overflow call volume can affect any type of business, but it’s especially worrying in healthcare. After all, your patients often call when they require medical guidance or immediate attention, and it’s vital for your practice to be able to stay on top of phone calls.
Here are 5 different ways in which a call center can help reduce your overflow call volume.
#1. Phones are handled by highly-skilled operators
If your customer service is being handled by inexperienced agents, it’s no surprise that they take a longer amount of time trying to solve issues, and that they may make simple mistakes in their everyday tasks. This can lead to a larger number of phone calls from unsatisfied or worried patients, increasing your overflow call volume.
But working with a good virtual answering service eliminates this problem. A reputable answering service will create a virtual call center manned by skilled customer service agents who have received training long before working with your practice. Inquiries will be solved quickly, patients will be happier, and fewer phone calls will be necessary.
#2. Keep your schedule clean so your office runs smoothly
In some cases, inquiries require a more complex management that involves several steps. If your staff also has to handle a million other tasks during their work day, they probably won’t be able to solve complicated inquiries quickly, leading to unanswered phone calls, emails, or messages from other patients.
But when you work with a medical virtual answering service, operators will take phone calls and deliver information; they’ll only transfer these calls when necessary. They’ll also help schedule appointments effectively to keep your practice running smoothly.
As a result, your on-site staff will get more time to handle other responsibilities, which will give them more flexibility and time to personally solve issues where your remote operators may need assistance.
#3. Operate 24/7
It’s not always possible for medical institutions to answer phone calls 24/7 — especially if you’re running a small practice or a specialized clinic. However, anyone who works in healthcare knows that phone calls never stop, not even when you’re supposed to be at home taking a break.
If your staff only works taking calls during certain times of the day, this can create a backlog of inquiries that may seem impossible to overcome. It may seem like your staff is constantly trying to get back to patients who called days and days ago, instead of focusing on new tasks.
A virtual receptionist provides an instant solution to this problem. Operators are able to work 24/7 to ensure that every phone call is answered on the spot, taking messages, calling patients back, and even transferring calls to you when needed.
Way #4. By providing bilingual attention
If you operate in a community with a large immigrant population, you’ll probably be used to receiving inquiries in different languages. But if no one at your office is able to communicate in these languages clearly, phone calls with patients who speak other languages can become lengthy, confusing, and even downright risky — especially if you can’t understand exactly what your patient needs.
When you hire a virtual answering service, you can opt to include operators who are fluent in different languages, thus solving this problem. Instead of having to wait around until a translator is available, or risk providing inaccurate information due to communication, your operators will be able to communicate clearly and overcome the language barrier.
Additionally, adding bilingual operators to your team will help improve your patients’ satisfaction and your relationship with the community, since it’s a great way to show them that you’re truly invested in their needs.
Way #5. By sending out automated reminders
As we have all learned during the COVID-19 pandemic — not everything needs to be a phone call. But in many cases, patients choose to call your practice to confirm their appointment, inquire about their lab results, or make another simple question.
And although all your patients’ doubts are important and need to be taken into account, inconsequential phone calls can still contribute greatly to your overflow call volume. When a member of your staff is busy confirming Mrs. Johnson appointment yet again, they may be missing more important calls from new patients who want to make a first-time appointment, or calling to learn more about the services you offer.
A virtual answering service can send out automated reminders, ensuring that many of these trivial inquiries need not happen at all. You’ll simply have to choose which reminders need to be sent out and when, and the service will send automatic messages to patients to remind them of different things relating to your practice. As a result, your phone lines will be free to receive other phone calls that may need a more urgent answer.