No matter how much money, time and effort you spend on marketing your medical practice it will all be for nothing if each new patient caller reaches voice mail, gets lost in a dizzying array of options, gets hung up on, or, EVEN WORSE, gets stuck on a call with someone who does not know how to handle a patient call. Do you realize that a poorly managed telephone call could cost you many thousands of dollars in lost revenue? The majority of medical practices pay the least amount of money for what is one of the most important jobs in the office next to the doctor’s job. Yes. You got it right the first time. The receptionist is often the most UNDERPAID and least trained person in the office. No wonder you’re losing money.
The receptionist is not just answering the phone. They are your immediate connection with the outside world. They are the FACE and VOICE of YOUR practice. Your receptionist holds the power to turn that caller into a paying patient, or to lose them, allowing that patient to go elsewhere for a procedure that you could have performed. Also, consider the fact that we are not talking about just one procedure. That same patient may have returned to you for further procedures, and referred their friends and family. A prospective patient will never have the chance to consult with you if they have a bad experience with your receptionist.
Your medical practice is a business that sells medical services. In any other business organization these types of calls would be called Sales Leads. These calls must be treated with importance.
The receptionist should NEVER
- Refer prospective patients to any of your competitors. If you do not offer the procedure they are requesting, you should have a clear protocol of how to handle this type of caller.
- Sound anxious to get off the phone.
- Be discourteous or uninterested in the patient’s needs.
- Give any medical advice, e.g. determine the length of recovery time if a caller is planning to have surgery before a big event.
- Think they are offering good advice when, in fact, they are putting the caller off having a procedure with you.
- Forget to take down the name and contact info.
- Hang up without booking a consultation.
The receptionist should ALWAYS
- Greet the caller with a warm, friendly smile.
- Ask how they can help them and listen.
- Ask how they heard of you.
- Only offer basic information and then suggest a consultation with you.
- Obtain contact information and put it on the Tracking Sheet.
- Book a consultation.
- If the caller is not ready to book a consultation, they should ask if they can add them to your e-newsletter or if they can send literature in the mail, then schedule to call that patient back in one week’s time.