Does Your Answering Service Answer Calls Fast and Then Put Them on Hold?

answer and please hold

Most people want their answering services to answer their phone calls fast. But that’s a misleading request and fails to accomplish with they’re truly after. What’s more important is how long it takes them to complete calls.

Here’s why:

The Answer-and-Please-Hold Method

So that an answering service can say they answer calls quickly, many use a tactic that accomplishes this but disservices your callers. This is the answer-and-please-hold method. They assign one person to answer every call as fast as possible when it comes in. Once that person answers it, they have one responsibility: put the caller on hold, so they can answer the next one. Most do this without listening to the caller or even asking if it’s okay with them to hold. Most times it isn’t. But the answering service puts them on hold anyway.

What this accomplishes is answering calls quickly. Though this seems good, the reality is that your callers receive a huge disservice from this tactic. Not only are they left dwelling over the rushed and rude greeting the answering service provided, but now they are stuck on hold. And when someone who is ready to help them does pick up the line, it’s a different person. This is disconcerting. It confuses and often frustrates callers.

Don’t subject your patients and callers to this sort of mechanical, robotic approach to fast call answering. It shows disrespect and isn’t the message you want to send.

The Right Approach

Enlightened medical answering services take a different approach. They see the fallacy and shortcomings of the answer-and-please-hold method. Instead, to show respect to your patients and callers, when they answer one of your calls, they don’t put them on hold. Instead the answering service greets your callers professionally and listens to them politely. Then they go about addressing the reason for your patients’ calls. This may be to give out information, take a message, or gather needed details for your on-call person.

The result of this is that the answering service processes calls as they come in, efficiently, and with maximum effectiveness. If many calls come in at once, instead of resorting to the inadequate answer-and-please-hold method, callers go into a queue. In doing so, their calls are answered in the order they arrived by the next available person. This is both fair and the appropriate way to handle calls.

This enlightened approach shows respect to your callers, which is the exact message you want to send.


Professional medical answering services avoid the shortsighted answer-and-please-hold method of handling calls, which disrespects callers and doesn’t serve their healthcare clients well. Instead they use the right approach of answering calls in the order they came in and giving each caller their full attention to address the reason for the call.

This is how it should be. Make sure your medical answering service uses this right approach.

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.