Is Your Answering Service Like a Bad Santa?
What comes to mind when you think of Santa Claus? Is it a jolly old man (or grandmotherly woman) who loves children, shares joy, and gives good gifts? When we take our children to visit St. Nick, we expect them to have a positive experience and form happy memories. But what if you get a bad Santa? It happens. Then they have a negative experience and form painful memories.
What if your answering service is like a bad Santa? What if you have a bad Santa answering service? Then you may encounter a provider that is rude to your patients, mishandles critical information, or drops emergency calls. This is unacceptable to both you and your patients.
Rude to Patients
Just as a bad Santa is rude to the children they serve, a bad Santa answering service is rude to your callers, both your patients and your prospective patients. Don’t let a negative answering service experience driveaway existing business or scare off future business.
Though not every call can be perfect—that’s not practical or achievable—rudeness is always unacceptable. There’s never a place for impolite, bad-mannered, or disrespectful behavior from telephone reps when it comes to treating your patients and callers with the kindness they deserve.
Each telephone call your answering service receives relates to your patients’ health and overall well-being. In some cases, this could rise to a level of life and death. Regardless, accuracy is critical. This includes both precision in giving out information to patients, as well as completeness in documenting their information for you and your staff.
But a bad Santa answering service mishandles information. If your callers ask a question, who knows what the telephone reps may say? They could make something up. Or they could tell your patient what they want to hear, even if it’s wrong. Or they could say “I don’t know,” when they’re just too lazy to look up the answer.
And when they gather information, do they take a full message? Is the phone number complete and accurate? Is your patient’s name spelled right? Did they correctly state your patient’s concern?
When your patients’ health hangs in the balance, mishandled information is never okay.
Dropped Emergency Calls
Most of the calls your answering service receives involve taking a message for your office or giving out information to your patients. Some calls, however, are urgent, even emergencies. They require immediate attention. You are right to expect that these calls are handled quickly, accurately, and correctly.
Yet a bad Santa answering service is apt to stumble on any or all these expectations. Your patients deserve better. Your patients demand better. Don’t let your answering service be your weak link when it comes to urgent communications with your patients.
Fire Your Bad Santa Answering Service
If you have a bad Santa answering service, don’t despair. You don’t need to tolerate them any longer. Fire them and hire the best.
Consider an established medical answering service that focuses 100 percent on the healthcare community. They’ll treat your patients right. This includes being polite to your callers, properly handling information, and offering diligent follow-up on emergency situations.