There was a time that doctors were considered medical experts with knowledge beyond what the average person possessed. Patients trusted their physician to accurately diagnosis ailments and provide appropriate treatment. Today, patients are proactive consumers. Many people arrive at the first appointment with a print out of symptoms and possible treatment options. These consumers expect conversations, not instructions.
One of the fastest ways to shut down important health discussions is interjecting the word “no” into your conversation. Rather than telling your patient “no” when they have unrealistic expectations, focus on positive language for improved customer experiences.
Live Answering Services Help Keep the Focus on Positive Language
Patients calling after hours may be afraid, in pain or generally needing emotional support more than medical attention. A well-trained staff understands the importance of never saying “no,” without first finding out why callers are making a request. Live operators calm your callers by asking them for additional information before providing them with options. The benefits of using live answering services include keeping callers on the line so you can determine if there is a medical need or if it is something less urgent.
Customer Service Improves With Respect
Along with using language that signals you are listening to consumer needs and expectations, the customer experience is greatly improved when your staff communicates in common, everyday language. Your medical team can effectively remove communication barriers by toning down the medical verbiage and taking into consideration non-English speaking patients. Partnering with an after-hours medical answering center, with bilingual call center employees will help solve both of those issues.
Resist the Temptation to Document the Call and Move On
It’s important to remember that most callers are focused on their own needs. Assume that he or she is distracted and not giving you their full attention. Keep your responses clear and concise. Consistency is crucial too. If your practice has a zero refill authorization policy without an office visit, train your staff and your live answering service operators to explain why you have this policy. It could be a legal compliance issue or a patient services policy that helps doctors watch for signs of adverse side effects or addiction.
Each Caller Experience is Unique
Working with a bilingual call center improves communication for non-English speaking patients. You can improve caller experiences with a dedicated live answering service, if you focus on making each call a positive experience. Remember every rule has an exception; clearly define those exceptions for calls that fall outside the norm. Every practice is unique and there isn’t a single, one-size fits all package.
If you need help creating more positive customer experiences at your practice, call us now to learn more about how our live answering service can benefit you, your patients and your staff.