The gateway to a medical office isn’t the front door; it’s your voice on the phone.
Most patients will initially dial in to either schedule an appointment or follow up on test results, so it’s critical to establish a good relationship. For example, if you come across as annoyed or hurried on the phone, people might think that’s how the practice is run.
We put together a few phone etiquette tips to help your practice come across as helpful, caring, friendly, and efficient, improving your medical practice’s patient satisfaction. Keep reading to learn more!
Tips For Putting Callers on Hold
Ask for Permission
This may seem like a small gesture regarding patient satisfaction, but it can make a big difference to the person on the other end of the phone. Simply asking, “Is it okay if I put you on hold?” can make a customer feel more valued.
Give Them an Expected Wait Time
Telling the caller they will only be on hold for a short time isn’t always true, even if you want it to be. Generally, a short time is anywhere from one to 30 seconds. If it’s going to be any longer than 30 seconds, tell the person it’s going to be a few minutes until you can get back to them, and ask the caller if they would prefer to have you call them back.
Follow Through When You Transfer Calls
When you transfer the caller to someone who can help him, ensure a live person will answer — this is essential to patient satisfaction.
What if the practitioner isn’t available? In that case, explain that they are away from their desk and ask if they may call the patient back. Give the practitioner the message immediately, including notes on what the person is calling about. That way, the practitioner won’t have to ask the patient to start the process over when they call.
Use Your Manners
What and What Not to Ask
Don’t ask, “Have you been here before?” Instead, ask, “When was the last time you were in?”
This lets you determine if the patient is new without offending a patient with a history at the practice. A patient who has been coming to you for 15 years won’t feel appreciated if you ask her if she’s been in.
Make Your Automated Menu or Voicemail Accessible
Automated systems should be at least one layer deep and offer four options. Otherwise, they annoy the caller. When people figure out what to do, they may forget why they are calling.
It’s good practice to check in with your caller and make sure their experience with your practice’s technology was pleasant.
Practice Active Listening
When a patient is explaining something to you on the phone, make sure to chime in with a “Yes, I understand” or “I see” when there is a gap in their speech. This lets the caller know that you are listening to what they are saying and not distracted or doing something else, making them feel valued.
Communicate With a Smile
It may sound silly, but try putting a small mirror in front of you and smiling when you talk on the phone with a client.
You’ll notice that your entire demeanor and tone change when you smile! Patients can feel your warmth and positivity through the phone, making the conversation more enjoyable for both parties.
Need Help Managing Your Medical Office’s Calls?
With over 45 years of experience, we know missed calls are missed opportunities. With Always Answer, you never have to miss a conversion again!
Our live answering services, like virtual receptionists, allow your practice to meet patient requests in real-time. If you need help managing your calls, get in touch with our team! We’d love to hear from you.