Your telephone is indispensable to the life of your business. Have you called your business recently? If you have not, please do! What did you experience?
Does your phone ring and ring and go to voice mail? Is it answered with “Please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed?” Or does a Customer Care Representative answer every call within a ring or two?
Your telephone system provides the first impression to your customer; let’s make it exceptional.
Many times, this critical system is taken for granted. It is a frequently used device to which we don’t give much thought or consideration. Over time, and with the growth of a business, a system can become old and outdated, frustrating customers and your employees trying to provide the best service to them.
You may not notice the “creep” of unanswered calls, too many voice mails, calls being answered by the wrong person, or forwarded to the wrong department. Like a well-designed website, a well-designed telephone system can quickly direct incoming calls to the precise individual who can handle customer requests. Granted, the highest level of service would be a person answering every call within the first two rings and then redirecting the call to the appropriate individual or department. In a busy business, this can be impractical and, many times, inefficient, depending upon the volume of incoming calls.
Plan and customize the “flow” of a telephone call for the clients/patients you serve most.
Our busy, multi-office, multi-doctor practice categorizes calls into the two customers we serve; referring offices and patients. Patient calls are divided into “new patients” and “previous patients.” New patients need appointments fast, and previous patients have questions about treatment and insurance.
Referring doctors’ offices are the most significant source of new referrals to our practice. We designed a custom workflow to speed up the referral process, “referring offices dial 9”. Once the phone tree picks up, they know to “dial 9”. These calls are routed to selected workstations primed to service our referring offices. As a backup, we have private direct dial numbers for referring office staff.
Although not perfect, a well-designed auto attendant can quickly direct calls to the individuals who can best serve their needs. Patient calls are routed depending on if they are “new,” “previous,” or have questions regarding “insurance.” After hours and on weekends, the auto attendant can leave instructions on how patients can contact the doctor on call.
Playing phone tag is a “game” that leads to delays and frustrations on both sides of the telephone.
Most importantly, your telephone system is not a “set it and forget it!” Your menu items and call routing should be constantly evaluated and updated to meet the changing needs of your business to serve your customers better.