Once upon a time, there were only a few physicians in each community and patients would seek assistance from the same local physician throughout their entire lives, unless they had a condition that required very specialized care.
However, there are now dozens of medical specializations, and there are multiple healthcare institutions in many communities, with several physicians working in each of them. These changes have brought many benefits to patients, who now have a wider offering of services that they can choose from. But as a healthcare provider, it also means that you have to constantly think of new ways to keep your patients’ satisfaction levels high if you want to ensure patient retention.
The best way to boost your patient retention is by making sure that you are offering the highest quality of care that you possibly can. But in addition to medical care itself, this includes other aspects of healthcare that are typically associated with customer service. Even a doctor who is the best in their field will struggle with patient satisfaction if their customer service isn’t up to par.
A virtual answering service can be an easy and affordable way to boost your patient satisfaction. These services provide your office with a remote call center that will work around the clock to answer phone calls, schedule appointments, respond to inquiries, and even remind patients of their consultations.
Make sure patients don’t have to wait long to see you
Few things are more discouraging than trying to get an appointment with your trusted healthcare provider and finding out that you will have to wait months before you have the chance to see them. When it comes to our health, most of us prefer to work with people we trust, and once we have found them, we don’t want to take a risk and switch to a new provider.
However, the temptation to try our luck with a new doctor can arise if we have to wait too long for an appointment. Many things can happen during this waiting time, and our health will always be a priority in our minds.
A virtual answering service can help you maintain a more efficient schedule so you can reduce these waiting times significantly. No-shows and late arrivals can make you run behind schedule, which can result in being unable to use your working hours effectively. Idle time slots lead to seeing fewer patients during the day, thus increasing your waiting times.
Taking appointments properly can also play a role. If your on-site staff is already busy and overworked, they could make mistakes while scheduling your patients, or miss a patient’s call when they’re trying to cancel. A virtual answering service will ensure that these things don’t affect your patients anymore!
Remind patients of their doctor’s appointments
No one likes to realize that they missed their doctor’s appointment and have to wait for a new appointment date to open up. These instances affect the running of your office, but they can also make patients unhappy.
A virtual answering service can be customized to send out automated reminders to your patients. You can choose how long in advance these reminders will be sent, so patients will receive a message to make sure they don’t forget their upcoming appointment. This system can also reduce late arrivals, and it will promote a more relaxed environment at your practice, since it will be easier to keep your patient list running on time.
Keep your office available 24/7, 365 days a year
A patient can require medical assistance or guidance any day, at any time. If patients can only reach your practice during office hours, they may be forced to seek alternative arrangements at some point.
But thanks to a remote call center, you will be able to keep your phone lines open 24/7, giving patients more flexibility to communicate with you. Operators will provide information according to the instructions you have provided, and they will choose from different courses of action depending on each case: they may take messages and deliver them in the morning, provide information to solve inquiries in the moment, or even transfer calls directly to you or a member of your staff if there is an emergency that requires it.
This way, patients will know that they can easily reach their preferred healthcare provider (you!) at any time of the day, with the added bonus of being able to speak to a real, friendly human voice instead of an automated voicemail message.