Making Your Next Business Move Count

5 Ways Your Medical Practice Can Balance Phones And Clients

Every medical practice owner wants their office to be as responsive to customers as possible. For many practices, though, this can lead to a confusing conundrum about how to handle competing needs when clients are both calling and standing in the office. What can you do to help your staff do their jobs, meet the needs of clients, and not be overwhelmed? Here are a few ways to handle things well.

1. Use an Answering Service. Patients generally don't like to go to voice mail. And medical practice clients may not be able to wait for someone to listen to their voice mail. Instead, use a medical answering service with trained professionals. The service can 'triage' calls by determining the urgency of the matter and routing it to appropriate staff as your office outlines. 

2. Have a 'Number of Rings' Policy. One easy way to ensure that calls are handled and customers don't wait is to arrange for calls to 'roll over' to a service after a certain number of rings. If the reception staff cannot pick up a line by the fourth or fifth ring, let it go to the answering service. This way, no one feels compelled to interrupt what they're doing and everyone gets a live person to help them. 

3. Set a Schedule. Does your staff regularly turn over the phones to an answering service so they can get other tasks done? Many practices reserve this process solely for lunchtime or after the office closes for the day. But you should be scheduling a time each day when the answering service will take over and staff can do jobs they may have been putting off. This could be at the start of each day, an hour after lunch, or an hour before closing, for instance.

4. Have Backup Personnel. Every practice should have staff assigned to serve as a backup for those who greet customers and answer phones. This backup staff should know which providers do what, how to handle routine inquiries, and which staff are in or out. Keep your backup personnel updated on changes just the same as primary receptionists and check-in personnel. 

5. Make Your Priorities Clear. Your people will follow your lead. But they can't know what to prioritize if you don't make that clear. If you want staff to prioritize clients who are in the office, let them know this. If you want someone to prioritize backing up the phone lines rather than doing another task, be clear with that individual. If you want people to schedule time to do other tasks, schedule your own time this way as well. Leadership gives staff the confidence they need and establishes the practice's values. 

These few steps will help ensure that all of your clients are assisted in a timely manner. Why not start putting them into practice today by speaking with a qualified medical answering service?