Do you ever wonder what goes on at your answering service? Do you sometimes suspect they aren’t giving you their full attention, as if they’re sleeping on the job, throwing a party, or just plain goofing off? Of course, you’ll never know these things for sure because you’re not there, but you can look for indicators that might hint at what’s going on.
If your healthcare answering service produces the following positive outcomes, know that you’ve found a quality-minded answering service. And if they fall short in these areas, you have every reason to worry—and every reason to find a new provider.
No answering service can have a real person answer every call on the first ring. That’s not a realistic expectation. Don’t believe anyone that suggests otherwise. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t be prompt. The client-focused services are.
Answering phone calls promptly means an average of about 18 seconds (three rings), with the goal of answering every call within 30 seconds (five rings). Few people will complain about a call that rings a few times. But beware of the services that allow calls to ring and ring and ring.
Answering calls promptly is the first way that your answering service gives you their full attention.
Once they answer your phone, do they immediately place your caller on hold? Sometimes placing callers on hold is necessary, but it should be the exception and not the norm. Holds can even happen at services that have a no-holds goal. Don’t begrudge them the occasional caller placed on hold, but celebrate the many, many callers who never experience it.
Bouncing between multiple calls—placing callers on hold repeatedly—is bad form and unacceptable in a professional communication environment. This form of multitasking is inefficient and doesn’t serve your patients and callers well. It’s also a sure sign that your answering service isn’t giving your account their full attention.
Another concern relating to placing callers on hold is the length of time they must wait on hold. It should be short, under a minute. Long hold times are nearly as bad as endless ringing.
Another indication of receiving your answering service’s full attention is minimal errors and high accuracy. The best answering services strive to be error-free, but perfection isn’t achievable. Though they should get it right most every time.
Services that fall short produce error-prone results, which prove that they’re distracted and trying to do too much at once. You shouldn’t have to put up with this for your practice and neither should your patients.
Receive Your Answering Service’s Full Attention
Quality medical answering services will answer your calls promptly, minimize the number of holds and hold time, and produce highly accurate results. This demonstrates that they are giving you and your patients their full attention.
But if they repeatedly fall short in these areas, it’s time to consider a medical answering service that will produce the outcomes you want and your callers desire.