Jane Braithwaite’s contribution to the Independent Practitioner Today this month is all about the importance of answering calls to your private practice.
NOW THIS is a thorny subject for patients, medical secretaries and consultants alike. Here’s two common scenarios: ‘The patient says she couldn’t get through’. ‘She was a new patient. That’s like gold dust. We need to answer every call’. ‘I just received a complaint from a GP who couldn’t get through to refer a patient’.
How do we answer every call? Is that even possible? How many calls are being answered at your practice today? 50%? 90%? Can you measure this?
TOP TIPS TO AVOID MISSING A CALL
- Own your phone number. Ensure you have a number for life
- Measure it to manage it – Monthly reviews of our performance will ensure we continue to focus on this key element of practice management
- Call audit – Address the reasons why patients are calling and look at ways to reduce the calls that are less productive
- Technology solutions – Investigate the ways in which your phone system can support the process
- Voicemail – Ensure messages are returned promptly
- Appointment reminders – Ensure we include the address and details of how to find us. Ask patients to email to confirm not call
- Online booking should be embraced by all
- Call-answering bureaux/call centres – Can be used as a back-up option
- Patient calls are vital and high priority. It is important to have a culture that treats them as such
- I will leave you with the famous words of Blondie: ‘Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.’