Calls Going Unanswered? 3 Tips to Answer Every Call & Provide the Ideal Patient Experience

3 minutes read

Every business is focused on creating a great customer service experience and healthcare is no different. Patients expect to receive the same kind of service on the phone as they do in person. Knowing they have options when choosing a healthcare provider, they are less concerned about finding a practice that can do what they need and more focused on how well they do it.

When calls go unanswered, it creates a bad impression for new and existing patients. The consequence? Fewer patients and diminishing revenue for your practice.

Fortunately, there are actionable ways to ensure your practice is delivering the ideal customer experience patients want.

Tip #1: Get a Handle on Call Volume

First, evaluate how many people you need answering calls by reviewing call volume trends. Are there peak times when you receive more calls than others? On average, how long do people wait on hold? Every time a patient has to navigate the IVR menu or make multiple calls to receive the level of care they need, the higher the likelihood they’ll hang up and look elsewhere for service.

If this data isn’t readily available, reach out to a professional for a consultation. Many contact centers offer advisory services for assessing call volume and service levels, but, not all contact centers are the same.

The average answering service does not have the people, tools, or resources to offer the level of service patients want and expect. You can’t trust just anyone to answer your patients’ calls. Look for a healthcare-specific call center with associates who have the experience, HIPAA training, and are sincerely dedicated to service. .

Tip #2: Find Where the Gaps Are

After determining call volume levels and what resources are needed to ensure calls don’t go unanswered, look for other gaps in the patient experience. Is the person answering the phone able to achieve a one-call resolution or does it take multiple transfers before a solution is in place? Having the right people in place is essential.

When a practice is overwhelmed with calls and can’t implement sufficient training due to lack of time and staff, it can greatly diminish the patient experience. Partnering with a medical call center yields a greater benefit than hiring a part-time staff member or outsourcing to an answering service team. Call associates with the right training and tools can be more proactive in anticipating patient needs.

For example, following an initial appointment, it’s likely patients will need follow-up care, either with a routine checkup or additional services. Well-trained medical call center associates can identify these needs, book the follow-up, or make an in-network referral right on the spot, thereby reducing patient leakage. It saves the patient from making another call and keeps the patient in your “family” of health services.

Tip #3: Make It Easy for Patients to Connect

Finally, to create an ideal patient experience, make it convenient for people to connect with your office. There are several HIPAA-compliant, omnichannel options that allow callers to connect with providers via phone, when the time is convenient for the patient. This may involve implementing LUCY (Let Us Call You), which allows patients to keep their place in line and receive a call back when it’s their turn to speak to someone. It could also include receiving a call back via text. Whatever the method may be, patient convenience is the goal.

Designating specific phone numbers for certain affiliated groups is one way to ensure the service levels and protocols are followed. For example, if a high school needs its students to schedule annual physicals with certain doctors in a specific timeframe. Call centers using sophisticated patient communication software can automatically identify callers based on the dedicated phone number and follows a subsequent workflow to deliver a VIP level of service.

Take control of your call volume and consistently deliver patients a quality level of care by making the services work for you. Contact us today to find a customizable solution that’s best suited for your practice.

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