Is Your Answering Service Sleeping on the Job?

Sleeping on the job

Some answering services, particularly small ones, may allow their staff to sleep at work. Seriously. Sleeping on the job has happened—especially late in the evening and on third shift. Though this is most assuredly not acceptable here and at other leading medical answering services, be aware that this can happen. 

And sometimes a fatigued agent who’s working alone may close their eyes for “just a second or two” even though it’s prohibited. These seconds turn into minutes, with a ringing phone call serving as their alarm. How well does a recently rousted person handle the interruption? As you might imagine, the answer is, not well.

Here are some more related questions to ask about this troubling situation.

Do You Think Your Phone Call Woke Them Up? 

Even if your answering service representative wasn’t sleeping on the job, they still may come across as if they were. They should answer your calls promptly, and when they do, they should be 100 percent ready to engage with you and your patients. 

Though they—like all of us—yawn upon occasion, it should never happen as they answer your phone. They shouldn’t have to clear their throat first. You should never have to ask them to repeat what they just said. Being ready to handle your phone calls is the essential requirement of the job. Don’t accept anything less.

When They Answer Your Calls Are They Ready to Talk?

If they pause before they speak, stumble over greeting your patients, or make an excuse about getting to the right screen, these are all signs that something is amiss. It might be that they were sleeping on the job, or it could be that they have a lack of focus. Either way your patients suffer.

When your phone rings, they should answer it within a couple rings and be ready to address the reason for your patients’ calls. That’s what you pay your answering service to do, and that’s what they should provide.

Do They Sound Awake but Act Like They’re Tired?

A different scenario exists from those positively perky people who make mistake after mistake. They may have been sleeping on the job and overcompensate to try to cover their lapse. Alternately they might just be too tired to work and are trying too hard to mask their fatigue.

Being tired causes errors. And in healthcare errors have ramifications, sometimes dire.


Though sleeping on the job is never acceptable in a professional environment, such as at an answering service that serves the healthcare community, it can happen. Equally as bad is when the person answering the phone conducts their work at such a poor level that callers wonder if they’d been sleeping.

That’s why it’s critical to go with a patient-focused, service-oriented answering service that’s committed to serving the healthcare community and hires the best people to get the job done.

Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their professional healthcare communication services are.