What Message Does your Call Center Send?
Is Saying “Your Call Is Important to Us” Rhetoric or Reality?
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
Whenever I call a company, I pay close attention to what happens. You probably do too. I look for specific details that thrill me. I also look for areas that need improvement. And I especially note my overall reaction to the call. Did they delight me, treat me with respect, and leave me with a satisfied feeling? Or did I feel frustrated over their indifferent attitude, poor response, and haste to move on to the next call?
If I’m delighted, I look forward to my next call. If I’m frustrated, I don’t want to call again and will do anything to avoid it. Today’s results foretell future interaction.
Every call center says, “your call is important to us,” but sometimes they don’t act like it. As agents breathlessly rush from one call to the next, they send the opposite message, that my call is an eruption to them and causes irritation.
In the healthcare industry, call centers rise in importance as a key means to serve patients and enhance their overall level of care. While the call center can’t replace in-person interaction with a trained healthcare professional, a good call center can certainly supplement it and serve as an invaluable resource to advance the overall level of care.
This, of course, depends on the call center agent delighting the caller, of giving focused, unhurried attention. They must fully and professionally address the reason for the call. However, a medical call center that leaves patients feeling frustrated, hampers the overall provision of quality care, and lessens the chance of the patient calling back the next time they have a need.
In your medical call center make sure the phrase, “Your call is important to us,” is more than a slogan or a hollow promise. Make sure you show each caller just how important they are by how you treat them and how you serve them. That’s the message your call center wants to send on every call. That’s the way to make your operation be an indispensable part of the overall provision of healthcare in your community.
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Eliminate Patient Irritation over the Phone Automation
By Aaron Boatin
To cut costs, too many medical practices have made the error of scaling back what they allow their answering services to do for them. In place of a real, live human being, the cost-conscious doctor makes a mistake of forcing automation on their patients when they call.
Though automation may save a few dollars a day on an already-affordable medical answering service bill, the impact of automation on patients’ regard for their providers is devastating. Automation replaces human interaction with impersonal technology. When a patient calls hoping for a listening, empathetic ear, the last thing they want to encounter is an answering machine, voicemail jail, or endless prompts to press various digits, which invariably fail to get them to their desired destination.
And that’s for providers who try to mix automation with a live medical answering service. What about practices that force their patients into a 100 percent automated solution?
What’s a patient’s common reaction? They hang up in disgust. Yes, they may pick up the phone again, but they’re more likely to call another provider then to call their doctor’s office back. When this happens, the small savings of automation comes at the expense of losing the lifetime value of a patient.
Yes, medical answering services should offer automated solutions to their clients who need them, but these answering services should also steer their clients toward live services whenever possible. This is the best way to serve to answer service clients and their patients.
Aaron Boatin is President of Ambs Call Center, a virtual receptionist and telephone answering service provider that specializes in serving the healthcare industry. This article is adapted from the post “10 Ways Your Patients Benefit from a Doctors Answering Service.”
Healthcare Call Center News
Call 4 Health Announces 5th Annual User Conference: Call 4 Health announced details for its 5th Annual User Conference, January 16-17, 2019 at the Delray Beach Marriott. The intensive, two-day event will focus on customer service satisfaction, in which participants will acquire the essential tools, resources, and solutions necessary to manage and elevate their business’s healthcare footprint. Conference features include informative industry lectures, networking opportunities, and interactive discussion pods to bring businesses to the next level and beyond.
“The Annual User Conference is our way of equipping industry clients and partners with the influential tools they need to thrive in the healthcare industry,” said Joseph Pores, CEO of Call 4 Health. “This year’s schedule of training sessions, networking opportunities, and entertainment is sure to make the 2019 conference unparalleled.”
Call 4 HealthSponsors include 1 Call, Compass IT Compliance, Commonwealth Purchasing Group, Crown Castle, and BlueStream. For more information visit call4health.com.
A Thought for Today
It is by character and not by intellect the world is won. -Evelyn Beatrice HallPeter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat. Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.