Most answering services will take on any client, from any industry. These are general-purpose answering services, and they make up most of the providers in the industry. While they may claim to offer quality service to every client regardless of the situation, the reality is that they can’t effectively be all things to all people.
If your patients and your practice are important to you, don’t go with a general-purpose answering service. Instead select a specialized medical answering service that handles only medical related calls, has experience with healthcare, and turns away business in all other areas. This is the only way to experience the quality that you expect and the response that your patients deserve.
Here are the key risks of going with the general-purpose answering service.
A Lack of Focus on Healthcare
It’s a sad truth, but an answering service that handles calls from any industry specializes in nothing. As the saying goes, they are a jack of all trades and a master of none. Therefore, they don’t have the opportunity to immerse themselves with the latest trends and expectations of the medical industry—or any of the industries they serve.
Limited Experience with Medical Calls
Coupled with this lack of focus on healthcare is that they simply don’t have the bandwidth to become experts in any one area. Instead, they must hope that general answering service practices will work for any of their clients, regardless of what industry they may happen to be in or how specific their needs are.
If their clients seek a vanilla answering service, this approach works fine. But for discerning practitioners, such as those in the healthcare industry, this generic approach falls far short of expectations.
Unaware of Current Healthcare Practices
A general-purpose answering service may have some medical clients, but most will hail from other industries. Let’s say, for example, that 10 percent of their clients are in healthcare. This means, that on average, they will spend 10 percent of their time handling medical-related calls. It also suggests that, at best, they’ll be able to allocate 10 percent of their available overhead to learn about medical accounts.
If, however, the majority of their clients are in the trades—which is typical at some services—that industry will receive the bulk of their focus and most of their attention. Guess which industry will suffer as a result? The healthcare industry—and your account along with it.
This is the reality of going with a general-purpose answering service. Whatever industry makes up most of their clients, it will receive most of their efforts, with their also-ran client base getting whatever’s left over.
Though a one-size-fits-all answering service works well for some businesses, in some industries, it’s a nonstarter for healthcare and the more exacting requirements of handling medical accounts and successfully dealing with patients and callers.
The choice is yours, a general-purpose answering service or a healthcare specialist answering service? For optimal results, go with a 100 percent medical answering service.