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Are Your Patients Losing Patience With Being Put On Hold?

Posted by Joann Fussell on Sep 25, 2017 9:48:43 AM

listeners-2157348_960_720.jpgPhone calls remain the primary way that patients communicate with their doctors or healthcare providers. Whether they are making an appointment, requesting a refill, or calling to discuss medical concerns, patients first action step is to call the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, all too often they’re greeted with, “Can you hold please?” 

This is a problem because patients today expect to be treated like a valuable consumer of healthcare. They know they have the choice to go elsewhere if they’re not satisfied with the services provided, and one of the most essential services they value is communication.

Even though they understand that a medical practice is likely to be busy, patients also want to be reassured that the practice is prepared to respond to their needs, day or night. This starts with how they are taken care of when they call the doctor’s office.

Putting them on hold only opens the door for them to wonder why the practice is too busy to take their call. If your staff is too busy to answer phone calls in a timely manner, patients intuitively assume that office visits and even emergencies will also involve delays.

Plus, research has shown that if callers are put on hold for more than 30 seconds, more than a third of them will hang up and not call back. Given that many calls to a physician’s office are likely from potential new patients, that’s a significant amount of missed opportunities for growing a medical practice.

Simply put, phone calls are the first impression of your medical practice’s reputation. How each call is handled is an opportunity to instill comfort and trust in potential or current patients, not frustration and impatience. While it’s common knowledge that medical practice offices are routinely over-scheduled and the days can get backed up, it shouldn’t be commonplace that your patients become anxious or irritated by slow communications.

With a live answering service, patients are greeted by professional agents who answer each call with the name of their doctor’s practice. All calls are answered promptly, no matter the time of day or night. Patients rarely realize that they’re talking with a receptionist who isn’t actually in their doctor’s office.

By outsourcing calls to an answering service, you also free up time and energy for all your team members. Patient calls are directed to a live operator who screens the calls for importance based on your priorities. If the call is urgent, the operator directs it to the right staff member. If it’s not urgent, the caller’s question is answered courteously and professionally, or a message is taken and forwarded to your practice. An answering service can also assist with scheduling appointments and other requests. Your patients always talk to a live operator who is equipped to handle your call volume.

Outsourcing your medical practice calls is typically more cost-effective than paying a full-time employee, and frees up your office staff to be more attentive to your patients in-house. As a result, patients feel valued and appreciate that wait times are also minimized. Your practice gains the reputation of caring enough to operate efficiently in order to value their time, which goes a long way in building patient loyalty and referrals.

At Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., our passion is helping healthcare companies and medical practices serve their patients with excellent customer service. Voice Link was started nearly 30 years ago in Columbus, Georgia, to address the need our founders personally saw and felt for exceptional answering services for the medical field. We believe a live answering service is an extension of your practice and we understand that the way calls are handled can be the difference between patient acquisition and retention, or loss.

Because of this, we work hard to make sure you and your patients receive top quality care by hiring knowledgeable and courteous people who enjoy what they do, and who are rigorously trained to comply with HIPAA regulations so that your patients’ data is never at risk.

Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., provides each medical practice a secure web portal in connection with our HIPAA compliant secure messaging app. The web browser enables you to securely view messages from the answering service or co-workers for fast, reliable, and convenient communication.  

And if you’re wondering where to start when hiring a live answering service for your medical practice, check out our free eBook about how to find the best live answering service to help you manage and grow your practice: The Quick & Complete Guidebook For Choosing A Medical Answering Service Provider..

Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., offers state-of-the-art technology solutions and personalized customer service  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We offer month-to-month service agreements to meet the needs of any practice or business regardless of size. With an 84% referral rate, our excellent reputation, expert staff, and customized technology will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.


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