I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For many healthcare organizations, this first impression occurs over the phone. What type of impact does your telephone communications have when patients call you? What about when they reach your medical answering service?
Consider these telephone tips.
The first element of the impression you make is caused by how quickly you answer the telephone when people call. This doesn’t mean you must answer on the first ring every time. In fact, answering too fast can be jarring to some people. A great goal to shoot for is to answer by the third ring and no more than five. Few callers will fault you if you hit this goal. What you want to avoid, however, is letting phone calls ring longer than that. And, most certainly, never answering is the worst thing you can do.
Have you ever called a business and weren’t sure if you reached the right place? It happens. Just make sure it doesn’t happen to the people who call your organization. Answer each call with the uniform phrase that clearly identifies your organization’s name. State this professionally and without rushing so callers will know they reached the right place.
After answering promptly and professionally, a third element of making a great first impression on the telephone is to be polite. This means to take a genuine interest in the caller. Use a comforting tone of voice to put them at ease. Let your word choice communicate that talking to them is the most important thing you can be doing at that moment—because it is. And if it isn’t, you shouldn’t be wasting your time and theirs.
Listen to what they say, and take notes as needed so they don’t have to repeat themselves. Another aspect of politeness is expressing appropriate empathy. Though this may be your tenth—or your one hundredth—call just like this, don’t let on that you’re bored or irritated. For your caller, this is new to them, and their situation is important to them. Make sure it’s important to you.
Next, address the reason for their call. Do they have an insurance question? Are they calling about making a payment? It may be that they want to leave information with you that you’re looking for or want to receive information that they’re waiting for. Whatever the reason, being helpful means focusing your attention on their agenda and helping them reach it with both ease and speed.
The last words out of your mouth before you end the call stand as what your caller remembers most vividly. An otherwise great call could be ruined by a poor end. Likewise finishing strong could salvage a call that you struggled with earlier on. This doesn’t need to be long or complicated. In many situations, saying a sincere “thank you” is a strong wrap-up. Or you could ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” But before you ask this question, make sure that you sufficiently helped them with their initial request.
Apply these five tips to every phone call that your office staff handles and you will make a great first impression every time. Now be sure that your medical answering service also makes a great first impression on the calls they handle for you by doing these exact same things.
In fact, the best medical answering services could rival the first impression your office makes. They might even be able to surpass it. Wouldn’t you appreciate an answering service like that handling your after-office-hours calls and making a great first impression every time?
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.