Patient Experience Can Be Improved with Telephone Etiquette
Every patient’s satisfaction with their care starts with their experience in the physician’s office. As the importance of online reviews and satisfaction surveys has grown, the way staff interacts with your patients has become more important than ever. Consider these tips the next time you talk to a patient on the telephone.
Cheerful and Efficient
Answer inbound calls as quickly as possible, certainly before the third ring, to prevent a caller from thinking the office is understaffed or to create a negative office atmosphere for waiting patients. When you answer, use a friendly greeting and your name, like this: “Thank you for calling (practice). (Name) speaking. How may I help you?”
Friendly and Professional
Smile during every call; even though the caller cannot see your smile, they can hear it in your voice. Speak slowly and cheerfully. Even when a patient is rude to you, stay calm and polite. Always thank a patient for a calling.
Polite and Considerate
Ask a caller’s permission to place them on hold if necessary. Let them know how many calls are ahead of them if you need to put them on hold. Always check back with a caller on hold to reassure the caller that (s)he hasn’t been forgotten. If you think they will be on a long hold, ask if they’d like to leave a message.
Attentive and Engaged
Listen attentively to determine the best way to assist and to show interest and concern. Take notes while listening, wait for the caller to finish speaking and repeat key points or ask questions to clarify the caller’s statements. When taking messages, get as much information as possible.
Assure them if you do not know how to answer their question or concern, that you will inquire and someone will get back to them as quickly as possible.
Caring at the Close
Close the call in a friendly, professional way. Ask if there is anything more the caller would like help with and assure them that their message will get to the doctor or their concern will be taken care of. Thank them for calling and wish them a nice day. Finally, be sure patients get their calls returned as quickly as possible!
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