Determining your answering service’s priorities is a key step to finding the right answering service for your medical practice or healthcare clinic. Your answering service has priorities in how they service your account, and you have priorities in the outcomes of their work.
Sometimes these priorities align, but other times they’re at cross purposes. Moreover, the staff at your answering service may have their own priorities, which may or may not coincide with their employer and clients.
Your Answering Service’s Priorities
Answering services are in business to make a profit. And even if they’re a not-for-profit entity, they still need to maximize revenue to maintain their operation. The bottom line with these answering services is the bottom line. Everything they do is to maximize profits. That is their priority. This can result in understaffing, underpaying agents, and not providing enough training. It can also include billing errors and poor customer service.
A more enlightened approach—but one that’s not so common—is to place a priority on providing excellent service. This serves to better retain clients, which has a long-term positive impact on profitability. The result is a responsive answering service that puts your needs first. Seek a medical answering service with this astute operational mentality.
Staff Priorities at Your Answering Service
In a properly-managed answering service, the priorities of the staff who answer your phone calls and serve your healthcare organization align—for better or worse—with their company’s paradigms. This means, they work hard to achieve management goals, be it to turn a profit or to serve clients well.
This alignment between employee and management, however, doesn’t always occur. Sometimes rogue telephone agents act as they please and disregard their employer’s objectives. Though this could occasionally result in going the extra mile to serve your account, the much more likely outcome is them taking shortcuts, so they have less work to do. This may result in them not answering all calls, handling calls as quickly as possible, or disregarding the thoroughness of their work. In short, they may be more interested in talking with their coworkers, surfing the internet, or playing online games than working.
They’re at cross purposes to their employer’s goals and your expectations.
Answering Service Client Priorities
The third element in our discussion of an answering service’s priorities, are you, their client. You seek the best value for their work. This means great service at a fair price.
You want your phone calls answered in a reasonable time. You expect they’ll treat your patients and callers with empathy and respect. You need them to give out accurate information and take complete messages.
In short, you desire them to represent you with excellence on every phone call.
Given the staff and answering service’s priorities at too many providers, you may face discouragement about finding the right medical answering service for your practice. But don’t despair.
There are enlightened answering services that serve the healthcare community with excellence. Their client-first perspective aligns with your priorities. And their investment in their staff’s training, supervision, and expectations smartly connects your answering service’s priorities with your own.