For service oriented businesses, like medical practices—your reputation can make or break you. Excellent rapport with your patients, top-notch skills in treatment, and a staff that make your patients feel welcome and cared for are just a few ways to boost your reputation, and encourage growth.
Reputation can have major impacts on a practice’s growth, but unfortunately often remains overlooked. It takes work to build and maintain a great reputation and can lead to more referrals, assist with retaining customers, and keep employees around longer.
Here are a 5 suggestions to improve your medical practice’s reputation:
1) Improve your practice’s workflow.
Optimizing the workflow of your practice will help you to improve patient wait times, define the roles and responsibilities for your staff, and provide the best experience for your patients.
Here are two ways that you can help your office run more smoothly:
- Host a brief weekly meeting to assess your appointment schedule. Rather than simply racing from appointment to appointment, review your global schedule with the team. Look for efficiency, length of time for each appointment, a comfortable mix of complex and non-complex appointment types, and buffer times for catching up or seeing walk in patients.
- Establish a daily huddle for 10 minutes or less with your staff to communicate answers to questions about treatments, coordinate lab orders, refills, or respond to messages from patients.
2) Succeed on the phone with scripting.
Phone scripting is a best practice must for delivering a consistent, quality experience for your caller.
Here are a few ways for you to work out scripting for your office:
- Meet with your staff to determine your common call types. Then write a general greeting script, and formulate a script for all of your other calls. Make sure to read your scripts out loud in your speaking “voice” to avoid having your staff sound robotic.
- Be sure to update your scripts periodically when you add services, change providers, or have other changes in the office.
3) Train, train, train.
After you have good scripts written, you will need to role play them with your front office staff, so that simulated calls reflect ones that are really occurring. This is essential because practice makes perfect when it comes to communication skills. The important thing to remember about training your staff to field phone calls is that the experience they deliver matters most.
Here are a couple of ways to determine if your training is working:
- Listen to your staff when they answer your calls. Are they rushing through calls or teetering off script? Also, listen to their tone of voice, call control, listening skills. All of these can be enhanced with additional quality training.
- Have staff or family member’s mystery call into your office, or even better have a professional answering service do a quality audit to determine if your team needs more training.
4) Have the right person and amount of people answering your phone calls.
If the majority of your new patients schedule their appointments via phone call, then it is essential to have proper staffing at your front desk, and also equally important to have the correct people in place to answer your calls. Short staffing or hiring the wrong employees for your front office operations can cost you thousands in lost revenue per year.
Here is how you can improve your staffing:
- Analyze your call traffic to determine if you have enough staffing to handle your incoming calls.
- Make sure that you are hiring staff who are truly compassionate about helping people.
5) Ditch Voicemail.
Step into your patient’s shoes for a moment. Now imagine that you call into your office only to be greeted by a voicemail that says, “We can’t take your call right now. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” What would you do? You could hang up the phone and call again, abandoning the call in the process, or leave a message and hope that it gets returned. This is a terrible experience for your caller. In fact, studies show that 80% of those callers will hang up once they hit voicemail. The reality is that a live voice is the only way to ensure that your patients know they will get the help they are looking for.
Here are a two recommended alternatives to voicemail:
- Partner with an answering service to handle your overflow
- Partner with an answering service to handle your important after-hours
It is important that you remain vigilant about making a positive impression on your patients and potential patients. You can do this by improving your medical practice's reputation in these 5 simple ways; improving your practice’s workflow, succeeding on the phone with scripting, training, having the right person and amount of people answering your phone calls, and ditching voicemail. At the end of the day your reputation is one of your practice’s biggest assets. Protecting it and then building upon it will pay off in patient satisfaction, more referrals, and a happier staff.
Are you ready to outsource your calls?
(Find out by downloading our free e-book.)