When you get a new patient for your practice, they usually represent more than a one-time transaction. They’ll generally return and continue using your healthcare services until something changes in their circumstances and they go someplace else. The key is to make sure you do everything you can to keep them returning to you and not leave for another provider.
While this is largely up to you, your staff, and how your office functions, there is help from a source you may never have considered. Did you know your medical answering service can play an important supporting role in maximizing the lifetime value of a patient? Here’s how.
Offer Continuous Availability
Your office is open maybe 40 to 45 hours a week. That leaves most of the week (123 to 128 hours) when your office is closed. What are your patients to do when you’re not open? You run a real risk of them going someplace else and taking their future healthcare business with them.
That’s why a medical answering service is so important. They can answer your office phone after hours, weekends, and holidays. This extends your availability from forty hours a week to 168 hours. Through your answering service your practice is always available to your patients.
When someone wants to make an appointment, they expect to be able to do it whenever they happen to think about it, not when your office is open. In a society that expects instant gratification, if you can’t schedule their appointment when they call, they’ll likely seek an alternate solution. And when they do, you just lost a patient—and their lifetime value along with them.
However, with a 24/7 medical answering service handling your calls, they can book appointments for you anytime of the day or night. This means no more missed opportunities, because your answering service is working for you and keeping your appointment calendar full even when your office is closed.
Enhance Customer Service
Your medical answering service provides a high level of customer service to your patients when they call. This is something that a voicemail or automated phone system can never do. Don’t force your patients to use automation when they want the personal care of a real person handling their calls.
With the high-touch, continuous availability of your answering service you elevate the overall level of customer service and enhance your patients’ customer experience. That’s what keeps patients coming back and maximizes their lifetime value to your practice.
Provide Urgent Access
If your patient has an emergency, they will go to the ER. However, what if their need is urgent but doesn’t reach the level of an emergency? Then they’ll likely call you. But if it’s after hours and you don’t answer, they’ll seek other solutions. Maybe they’ll go to a walk-in clinic. What if they like the walk-in clinic better than your practice? You probably just lost a patient, and their lifetime value to your organization will leave with them.
Yet when you have an answering service handling your phone calls around-the-clock, you eliminate this risk. Your answering service can answer all your calls and screen them according to your protocols. That means these urgent situations are put through to your on-call personnel. When you do this, you keep a patient’s business and don’t send them elsewhere.
Patient retention starts with you in your office. But it doesn’t end there. Your medical answering service can help greatly when it comes to retaining patients and maximizing their lifetime value. However, if you skimp on your answering service, you’re bound to decrease the lifetime value of your patients.
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.