There is no doubt that face-to-face interactions are one of the most important parts of any doctor-patient relationship. However, your relationship with patients can begin long before they ever set foot in your practice. In fact, you are generating an impression on patients from the moment they pick up the phone to call your office, and medical call centers can help you make this first impression truly memorable.
Many different factors can make patients feel unsatisfied with the attention they receive over the phone. They may be calling to schedule an appointment, to ask for advice, or simply to inquire about your services. But regardless of the reason for their call, it is important to ensure that each patient’s call is handled quickly and efficiently.
Anything from a grumpy member of staff on the other end of the line, a phone that rings but never gets picked up, to a call back that never arrives can make patients feel overlooked, unsatisfied, and not taken into consideration. There may be a perfectly reasonable answer to why this happens, but in the end, these mistakes will make patients more likely to seek a different medical provider. And as a medical business, losing patience can negatively impact your growth and bottom line.
So, what does a medical call center actually do?
It can reduce your staff’s workload
On a regular day, your stuff probably has to handle many different responsibilities. Even non-medical staff have plenty of things to take care of during the day, so it is understandable that they can feel overwhelmed and overworked.
But when a patient calls, they expect to be greeted in a warm and professional manner, and they hope that your practice is able to deliver medical attention efficiently. A poorly-handled phone call can deter patients from actually visiting your practice.
Fortunately, a virtual answering service can easily provide operators who will ensure that each phone call is handled by a friendly, professional, and warm human voice. Your on-site staff will also benefit from the addition, since they will have more time to focus on their daily tasks to make sure that everything is running smoothly. This way, you can improve your patients’ experience before, during, and after their medical appointments.
It ensures that each phone call is greeted by a pro
You may be wondering whether your remote call center operators will be truly competent and knowledgeable, and you will be happy to hear that the answer is a resounding yes.
Unlike a new member of on-site staff, remote operators have already received extensive customer service training before they ever start working for your practice. Thanks to these services, you can skip the long process of hiring new staff and training them; instead, you will simply need to provide the information that operators will use to answer patients’ inquiries and help your office run more efficiently.
Your practice’s reputation will undoubtedly improve once your phone lines are handled by experienced customer service operators who will always seek to provide the best possible experience for each caller.
It can maximize the efficiency of your schedule
Sticking to an efficient schedule can be difficult in healthcare. Appointments can run long, last minute cancellations are not uncommon, and busy members of staff can find it complicated to make sure that your office hours are filled with appointments.
But when you work with a virtual answering service, your operators will be able to schedule appointments and take cancellations quickly to ensure that your timetable is always up-to-date and as efficient as possible.
Even if a patient calls after hours, operators can schedule appointments or annotate cancellations for them, and later forward these messages to your staff as soon as possible. Making the scheduling process easier for patients will make your practice approachable and improve your reputation among your community.
It keeps your practice available during busy hours
It is normal for your office to experience busier peaks or slower periods during your work hours. And while it may be easy to cover all responsibilities during those slower periods, busy hours are definitely more difficult to handle. Those who work in the healthcare industry are probably familiar with these cycles, and understand how hard it can be to care for customer service or administrative tasks when your practice is packed with patients waiting to see their provider.
However, patients who are calling your practice during these times don’t know that you are busy — they simply know that they were unable to reach you, which can be very frustrating. Usually, patients are calling because they have a health-related inquiry, and they want to know the answers to their questions as quickly as possible.
A remote call center will eliminate this concern by ensuring that no phone call goes unanswered. Regardless of the time of the day, your operators will be available to pick up the phone and provide the information and guidance that your patients’ require. When a call is out of their scope of knowledge, they will also be able to take messages or forward the call per your instructions. Your patients will certainly feel taken care of knowing that someone will always be available at your practice to answer their questions and reassure them..