26 May How Well is Your Staff Representing Your Practice?
A first impression is crucial when speaking with a potential patient, and keeping that patient in the long run. The first impression for most practices often starts with an initial phone call. At your practice, is your staff representing your practice in the best possible way? Let’s discuss this in more detail to find out if your staff pass the test!
When a potential patient calls for the first time, they are most likely anxious or upset. They are calling you about an issue that is extremely important to them and they want to know that you, their physician, care. If they are met with a curt, insensitive reply, placed immediately on hold or, treated like no one cares about them or their concerns, it reflects poorly not only on your office staff but on your practice as a whole.
Have you ever called your own practice to see how your front desk handles incoming calls? If not, ask a family member or volunteer to call the practice from time to time. You should let your staff know that their patient-contact demeanor is being monitored. Depending on how the phone call went, discuss relevant changes with staff members afterward.
If you have an automated system or voicemail, check to see that the system is simple to follow, does not frustrate callers, and gets patients the information they need as quickly as possible. Make sure to make regular updates and improvements to the system.
Your staff’s phone call etiquette should adhere to these guidelines:
- Answer quickly, within three rings if possible.
- Answer in a friendly tone with the name of the practice and their first name.
- Be pleasant and calm throughout the conversation.
- Avoid speaking too quickly. Remember that patients know less about medical terms, insurance and medications than they do.
- Listen carefully and with care, focusing on the patient.
- Show interest. Try to use the patient’s name during the conversation.
- Answer questions thoroughly, and be sure the information you take is accurate.
- Don’t judge the patient or make them feel uncomfortable for calling.
- Speak only to the caller, not to other patients or personnel.
- Try not to interrupt.
- If you must place a caller on hold, ask permission. Try not to leave the patient on hold long.
- Maintain patient confidentiality during the discussion.
- Call a patient to remind them about their upcoming appointment.
- Return voicemails in a timely manner.
- Thank the patient for calling.
Here are some other questions to ask: When it comes to paperwork, is your staff organized? Are they keeping your patients information updated? How are they treating your patients when they come to their first appointment? The person at the front desk should welcome each patient as soon as they walk into the office. Then ask for them to sign in and to have a seat after they provide their initial paperwork and insurance information. They could also answer any questions the patients may have or offer them a magazine or water to drink.
How are your nurses or practitioners assistants treating your patients before you enter the room? You may want to have an anonymous survey at the office so that patients can rate you and the remainder of your staff on a daily basis. There’s nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism and listening to your patients’ suggestions can go a long way.
Remember, patients have many options when deciding which practice to use. Make sure that your staff is representing you and your practice with the standards that you set and the integrity that you expect.
Do you have more questions about your staff’s representation of your practice? If so, reach out to us! ClickMD Marketing is a marketing agency specializing in physicians and healthcare facilities. Contact us today to learn about what we can do for you. Your patients are only one click away!