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MedConnectUSA - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Now Is a Good Time for a Checkup—With Your Answering Service

We know that regular checkups are in important part of taking care of our physical health. We also check in with our financial advisor and do periodic oil changes on our car.

In the same manner it's wise to have seasonal checkups with your medical answering service to make sure they're ready to serve you and your patients in the best possible way. As summer ends and we move into fall, now is a great time to schedule a checkup with your answering service.

Here are some things to consider 

Staff Changes

Over time employees come and go. Healthcare providers join your practice or clinic, while support staff may arrive and depart on a regular basis. With all that's involved in onboarding new members to your team, as well as saying goodbye, it's a lot of details to keep track of.

In addition to changes in staffing, a related issue is changes in roles. Employees may take on new assignments or move into new positions, with new responsibilities.

Letting your answering service know about these changes often gets overlooked, but they need up-to-date information to properly handle your calls and represent you appropriately to your patients.

Review your employee roster and their duties with your answering service to help them better help you and your patients. Don't leave your answering service in the dark.

Update Contact Information

Another thing that changes is contact information. Employees may get a new home phone or cell number. Perhaps alternate forms of contact have changed. An answering service that doesn't have the right information or accurate numbers to reach your staff will encounter roadblocks as they work for you.

As you review your employee list with your answering service, doublecheck all contact information that they have to make sure it's current.

Key Practice Details

Did you change your hours? Did your office move or add a location? Check to make sure your answering service knows. Too often no one communicates this to your answering service, and they're still giving patients your old information. Also look at what your answering service has listed for alternate phone numbers for your office, as well as your main email address, fax number, and private line.

New Call-Handling Protocols

In the ever-changing healthcare environment, our processes must adapt with it, striving to best respond to evolving conditions and expectations. Make sure your medical answering service knows about your preferred call-handling protocols. If they're operating under old instructions that no longer apply, it will be hard for them to do the job you want them to.

This includes defining what constitutes an urgent call, what's referred to the ER, and what can wait for the office in the morning. Related to this is on-call procedures. Is your answering service operating under your current expectations? You can avoid a lot of frustration for yourself, your staff, and your answering service when you verify that the instructions you once gave them are still what you want them to follow. 

Conclusion

Now is a great time to schedule a checkup with your medical answering service to make sure they're aware of staff changes and how to reach them, know the correct information about your practice, and have up-to-date instructions on how you want your calls handled.

Don't wait for a problem to occur to prod you to review the information and instructions your answering service has. If you and they are operating under different parameters, frustration will result. And no one wants that.

Now is a great time for a checkup with your medical answering service.

Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.

Source: http://medconnectusa.com/blog/now-is-a-good-time-for-a-checkup-with-your-answering-service

Publish Date: August 23, 2018


What If You Forget to Forward Your Phone?

Most medical offices and clinics use call forwarding service to send their phone calls to their medical answering service. Call forwarding service is an inexpensive feature provided by your local phone company. Though there are other options to send your calls to your answering service, call forwarding is the most common and convenient—providing someone remembers to activate it each day.

But what happens if you forget to forward your phone line to your answering service? Or what happens if you forwarded your phone, but for some reason it didn't work or stopped working? That's a real problem.
Here are your options: ​

Go Back to Your Office to Activate Call-Forwarding

The typical solution is to make a return trip to your office. That's a hassle, but often it's the only option. If you live close to your office, it's a mild inconvenience. However, if you live further away or must deal with traffic or bad weather, making that return trip is downright irritating, not to mention time-consuming.

Even worse, what if you're headed out of town, perhaps for a well-deserved vacation or weekend getaway? Then the break you so desperately need will have to wait.

One solution is to arrange for the staff member who lives closest to the office to serve as the emergency person to handle this. They make a return trip to the office, activate call forwarding, and then return to what they were doing. Though this is far from convenient, it has the overall lowest interruption on you and the rest of your staff. But what if the designated person isn't available? That's a problem.

Let Phone Calls Go Unanswered

​The alternate solution is to leave your phone unforwarded and simply let calls ring. Though shocking, this sometimes seems like the only solution to a harried healthcare worker who desperately needs time away from the office in hopes of achieving some work-life balance.

This, however, is a grave disservice to patients and callers, which may have significant negative side effects to their continued use of your healthcare services. Certainly this option isn't ideal, but it's understandable why some healthcare providers may choose it, particularly after an especially difficult day.

Use Remote Call Forwarding

​The good news is that there's a third option. It's called remote call forwarding. When your office phone number is provisioned with remote call forwarding, you can activate call forwarding remotely from any phone. This means there's no driving back to the office to activate it or opting to leave your phone unforwarded—and unanswered.

As a bonus, if you let your medical answering service know your access code, they can keep it on file for future use. This means that they can remotely activate call forwarding for you if your office staff forgets or if it becomes deactivated for some reason.

Remote call forwarding is a feature that you must set up with your telephone company in advance. There's a small monthly fee for it, but it's certainly worth the peace of mind that it provides knowing you have a backup plan to activate call forwarding and won't need to make an extra trip to the office. You can place the order directly with your phone company or ask your medical answering service to order it for you.

Conclusion

Having the remote call forwarding feature configured for your practice or clinic's office telephone will allow you or your medical answering service the capability to forward your phone if someone forgets to do it or if call forwarding becomes deactivated for any reason.

It's a low-cost insurance policy that will save time and frustration if you need to remotely call forward your line. Set it up today, and you won't have to worry about call forwarding problems in the future.

Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.

Source: http://medconnectusa.com/blog/what-if-you-forget-to-forward-your-phone

Publish Date: August 16, 2018


Discover How a Professional Medical Answering Service Deals with the Hold Problem

No one wants to be placed on hold, but it does occur. There's no way around it. This happens in your office, clinic, or medical facility. It also happens at your answering service. The solution isn't to eliminate placing callers on hold—because that's impossible. The key is to use the right approach when it's necessary to push the hold button.

The Normal Way of Handling Calls Isn't the Best Way

Most answering services—just like most offices—use the "call-juggling" approach to handle more than one call at a time. With this method, the receptionist places caller number 1 on hold when line 2 rings. Then they put line 2 on hold and go back to line 1.

But what happens when a third call comes in? They put caller 1 on hold to answer number 3. Then they put number 3 on hold to go back to number 1, but before they do, they usually make a quick check on caller number 2 to make sure they're still there and not getting too frustrated.

Now, what was caller number 1 calling about? At about the time the receptionist remembers, she notices that caller number two has hung up, but then a fourth call rings in. She apologizes to caller number 1 before putting them on hold—again. Then she answers caller number 4 only to discover that it's caller number 2 who hung up and called back, hoping for more attention the second time.

Is your head swimming?

By now caller number 1 is frustrated. Caller number 3 thinks they've been forgotten, and caller number 4—who's really caller 2—is ready to resort to yelling to get the receptionist's attention.

That's the normal way most people handle phone calls. And it's mostly wrong. It irritates callers, is inefficient, and produces errors because of all the call juggling and getting people's stories mixed up. Nothing good comes from it.

An Enlightened Approach of Answering Calls Provides Better Outcomes

A better way to do this is fairer to callers, improves call efficiency, and reduces errors. It gives priority to the person you're talking to and lets you focus on them until their call is complete. Then you move on to the next call. It's that simple.
At an answering service that uses this progressive method of handling calls, most of the time an operator is available to answer a call when it rings. She answers the call, gives the caller her complete focus, and completes the call, never needing to place them on hold.
If every operator at the medical answering service is already on a call when a new one comes in, the answering service system will automatically answer the new call and play a special greeting that's developed specifically for that client. This new caller, which is now on hold, will go to the next available operator who finishes up her current call.

Using this approach, most callers are never put on hold. And for the minority who are, they're only placed on hold once. And the average hold time is less than thirty seconds. Most people are willing to wait that long, which isn't very long at all.

Conclusion

When it comes to the telephone, there's no way to answer calls and avoid placing callers on hold. However, when done right—using an enlightened approach to managing calls—most calls are never put on hold and those that are only wait for an average of thirty seconds or less.

This is the smart way of handling calls. Does your medical answering service do that? If not, it's time to find one that does.

Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.

Source: http://medconnectusa.com/blog/the-right-way-to-put-callers-on-hold

Publish Date: July 27, 2018

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