Phone Training 101
Why Answering the Phone Still Matters to Patients
Healthcare today is constantly changing. Electronic Health Records have allowed patients and providers to better and more quickly communicate, view test results without waiting for a phone call, and patients have a better paper trail of their care. But, as great as this technology is, it still won’t replace the need for patients to speak to a staff member at your practice. This is especially true for new patients making initial contact with your practice.
Phone training is something some practices don’t put much attention on; and unfortunately, those practices are losing money by not investing in phone training! When a new patient calls your practice, that is the second point of contact they have with you (their first point of contact is their visit to your website). Not only is it important to answer the phone by the third ring, it’s important to have your staff member properly answer the phone. Remember, first impressions last a lifetime. If you don’t have a well-trained operator answering your phone, you are losing a potential new patient – which could result in a loss of thousands of dollars of services or treatment.
To help create a positive first impression on the phone, here are a few important tips for your staff phone operators:
- Answer the phone by the third ring.
- Answer in a friendly tone and give the caller your name and the practice name.
- If a caller is a new patient, welcome them to the practice.
- Don’t immediately ask the caller to be put on hold. We understand the desk can get incredibly busy, but you don’t want to lose a potential new patient by being rude. Ask for the caller’s name and a good call back number in case you get disconnected while they are on hold. Also give them an estimated hold time.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question they are asking, ask if you can place them on a brief hold and find someone who can answer the caller’s question. If you can’t do that in a few minutes, ask if you can call them back with that requested information.
- If you are transferring a call to another staff member, such as a refractive coordinator, give the caller that person’s name and extension, in case the call the gets dropped during the transfer.
- At the end of the call, thank the caller by name and tell them to have a good day.
In addition to your staff phone operators, it’s important your refractive coordinators have great phone etiquette as well. Many patients aren’t quite ready to move forward with LASIK or upgrade to premium IOLs during their appointment, so a follow-up call may be in order. Your coordinators need to be great at soft selling not only in person but on the phone. During the initial meeting with the patient, your refractive coordinator should take the time to learn about the patient – their likes, dislikes, and concerns for not moving forward with the surgery. This is all valuable information that will be useful in the follow-up phone call. Remember, this is a big investment for many people, so having your refractive coordinator use a friendly and warm tone while trying to get the patient to understand how life-changing LASIK or upgraded premium IOLs can be is very important.
At Denali Creative, our services include in-depth phone training. Our president, Paul Stubenbordt, personally conducts all phone training sessions, including any follow-up training sessions. He works one-on-one with staff members to help them improve their phone skills and can turn your refractive coordinators into “rain makers”.
If you are interested in learning more about our phone training services, please reach out to Denali Creative today to set up a meeting today.