During office hours there’s always someone to answer phone calls. The task may fall to a specific person, to a department or group of people, or to “whoever is most available.” Answering ringing phone calls is critical because each call represents two things. First is a caller with the need they hope you can address. Second is a business opportunity for you to enhance an ongoing relationship with the patient or start a new one.
That’s why it’s so critical to answer each phone call that comes in. Answer it promptly. Answer it professionally. And answer it personally. This means with the real person, not automation. You know that.
But what happens to these all-important phone calls when your office is closed? What happens to your after-hours healthcare phone calls? Be sure to apply the same trio of goals to these calls: answer them promptly, professionally, and personally. Too many health practices and clinics forget the importance of these calls. They dismiss the reality that each call is a person with the need and a revenue-generating opportunity.
Here are three outcomes that after-office-hours phone calls might encounter.
1. Endless Ringing
Some healthcare businesses simply don’t bother to answer their after-hours healthcare phone calls. They wrongly assume that the person will call back during regular business hours or will make a trip to urgent care or the ER if they can’t wait.
In these instances, patients and potential patients don’t receive the attention they expect and deserve. Their healthcare concern goes unmet. And the practice has lost business, which they’re unlikely to recover.
2. Voicemail or Answering Machine
To address unanswered phone calls, a short-sighted solution that unwary business managers fall prey to is automation. They route these critical after-hours calls to an impersonal voicemail system or, even worse, a clunky answering machine.
Though this is slightly better than letting a call go unanswered, it’s not much of an improvement. These solutions may address the concern of promptly answering phone calls, but the implementation is far from professional and certainly not personal.
What’s the primary response when the caller hears a recording? They hang up and call someone else, never giving you a second chance of serving their healthcare needs or earning their business.
3. A Real Person
To combat the severe limitations of these first two options, the only remaining and viable solution is to have a real person answer these after-hours healthcare phone calls. Though you could staff someone to sit in your office and grab the phone whenever it rings, this is an expensive solution.
Instead, hire an accomplished medical answering service. They will be able to answer all your after-hours healthcare phone calls promptly, professionally, and personally.
The Right Way to Address After-Hours Healthcare Phone Calls
Healthcare professionals give the utmost attention to what happens in their office, practice, or clinic during business hours. But too many of them don’t consider what happens to their after-hours healthcare phone calls.
Letting the phone ring does nothing except lose business and diminish respect. Throwing automation at ringing phone calls still falls far short. The only acceptable solution is to have a real person answer these all-critical phone calls. And the best, most effective option is to hire an established medical answering service.
If how you manage your after-hours healthcare phone calls fall short of this ideal, don’t delay in fixing the problem. Your patients and your business will thank you.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.