Medical Reception SOS: How to Cope with Rude Patient Calls

One rude phone call from an angry or dissatisfied patient can instantly destroy medical office staff morale. Training your staff to diffuse patient anger and handle rude phone calls tactfully can help keep your medical office functioning smoothly and improve patient relations.

Even if certain people are tasked with answering the phone, you should consider training your entire office staff on correct phone answering procedures and techniques for dealing with rude callers. In many medical practices, staff members are frequently required to step in to cover for their colleagues on busy days or when someone is out sick or on vacation. Extending phone training to your entire staff allows them to assume phone answering duties with confidence and ensures that practice standards will be maintained when patients call. Using a professional medical answering service is an efficient and cost-effective way to solve the problem and remove the burden from your staff.

Use the following phone answering techniques to successfully handle rude patient calls:

  • Remain calm when angry patients call. It’s hard to stay angry when the person on the other end of the line is being calm and reasonable and treating you with courtesy and respect. 
  • Don’t argue with patients. Give them a chance to vent their anger. Diffuse anger by practicing active listening techniques so patients know they are being heard. To move a conversation from confrontational to collaborative, use calming phrases like I understand, that must be frustrating and let me so what I can do to help you.

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