The way people deal with any business is impacted by the way phone calls are handled. Most Americans will hang up on a voicemail, if that is what they get. Bad customer service costs businesses $41 billion every year and a lot of that is based on people?s interaction with a business over the phone. The largest concern people have when dealing with companies over the phone is that their problems will be dealt with in an appropriate manner. This is all the more true for a medical answering service.
Medical practices have to be very careful when choosing a medical answering service. Here are some tips for finding the best answering service:
- Make sure they can work the hours your practice needs them to. Do you only need an after hours phone answering service? Do you need your phones to be covered during any part of the day? Not all answering services will cover the same hours so make sure to ask what hours they can cover your phones. Remember there may be times when you need a 24 hour answering service such as times when your office is closed such as over the weekend or on holidays.
- Make sure they can follow HIPAA guidelines. Maintaining your patients? privacy needs to be a top priority for any medical answering service you select. Your patients need to know that they can trust the person with whom they are communicating their medical issues and problems. You have to be confident that they will take your patients? privacy incredibly seriously. If there is a breach of any kind, it can be very detrimental to your practice and reputation.
- What is their pricing structure? It needs to be transparent and easy to understand. The last thing you need is to find out there are a lot of hidden fees. Ask if you can upgrade or downgrade your service plans per your needs, which may change over time. There may be a set up fee or a fee to change the service plan and it is important to know what the situation when you sign a contract with any medical answering service. You should also ask if they have special fees for work over the holidays
- Features. What features do you need? Do you need a live answering service to help you make appointments or is this just for after hours emergencies? Do you need back up for your peak hours? Think about what your needs are and make sure the medical answering service can meet them. Not all answering service companies offer the same services.
- Talk to some of the operators. The staff of the medical answering service you select will become the face of your practice and you have to feel comfortable with their customer service skills. They need to be professional and compassionate. Patients calling a medical practice need to know your practice cares about them and their problems. It is worth your time to see how these people interact with callers so you know they are projecting the right tone.
Doing the research before you hire a medical answering service may take some time but it will be well worth it in the long run.