We all know how it feels: we want to communicate with someone and try to call them, but the phone just keeps ringing, and ringing, and ringing, and… You get our point.
But we also know that certain seasons are busier than others, and that also affects doctors’ offices. You can expect to see cases of patients with specific complaints rise at specific times of the year: home accidents during the holidays, sunburns during the summer, allergies in spring. As you get to know your community, you will probably be able to predict which season will be the busiest for your practice.
But how can you handle your overflow phone calls during these seasons?
Outsource your calls using a virtual answering service
One of the easiest ways to prepare for a higher volume of phone calls during different busy seasons throughout the year is by outsourcing your phone calls.
This may sound complicated, but in reality, it’s as easy as hiring a virtual answering service. These services allow you to work with experienced and highly trained customer service operators who will function as a remote call center for your medical practice.
Make sure each phone call is answered
Since operators work remotely, they will be able to take phone calls 24/7 without creating any type of hassle at your on-site location. Operators receive extensive training before they join your virtual reception, and they will provide a warm human touch to your phone answering department.
Because virtual operators only have to focus on taking phone calls, they will ensure that 100% of your phone calls are answered and the patients’ inquiries are resolved satisfactorily. Operators can help with many different tasks, such as scheduling appointments, taking cancellations, sending out reminders, taking care of follow-up calls, and many others.
Reduce your staff’s workload
A hectic medical practice typically translates into an incredibly stressful work environment, and it’s well known that these conditions can wear down even the most resilient members of your staff. This is especially true during those busy seasons that we mentioned earlier.
Overworked members of staff are more prone to making mistakes that can negatively impact your patients’ satisfaction and overall experience at your practice. These mistakes can turn into scheduling errors, poor time management, and a tense relationship between coworkers. This can also lead to grumpy staff, who won’t be able to provide the highest quality of service to your patients everyday.
By hiring a virtual answering service to outsource your phone calls, you will automatically be improving the morale of your workspace. Your staff won’t have to worry about taking phone calls anymore, although remote operators can still transfer important calls to your on-site staff when necessary. This way, your employees will be able to focus all their attention on providing good care to each patient, and they will only have to take phone calls when absolutely necessary.
Giving your staff the peace of mind that they need regarding phone calls and eliminating an extra source of stress can be particularly helpful during busy seasons, and it will help everyone at your office work more efficiently so you can take care of each patient with the level of attention that they deserve. As a result, it will be a lot easier to handle those stressful times of the year when it seems like tasks are endless.
Have a contingency plan in place
No matter how much experience you have or how solid your plans are, busy seasons can always catch you off guard. Things can change quickly when you are trying to take care of numerous patients, and your office can quickly become difficult to manage.
Under these circumstances, taking phone calls will probably (and understandably) be the last thing on your or your staff’s minds. It is nearly impossible to take notice of a ringing phone when you have a lot of patients that require attention right in front of you. This can result in a significant increase in your overflow call volume, which will in turn make callers unhappy and anxious. Some callers, whose issues could have been handled by phone, could even choose to go to your office in person, leading to even more people in your waiting room.
That is why it’s so important to have a contingency plan in place, which benefits from working with a virtual answering service. You can give out instructions ahead of time to make sure that operators automatically pick up phone calls after a certain number of rings, which will give your on-site staff more flexibility to handle patients while knowing that each phone call is being handled properly.