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When it comes to the smooth functioning of a healthcare organisation, communication plays a vital role. One of the most crucial skills which can make or break your clinical business are your phone skills. Phone etiquette and the ability to professionally and eloquently speak to a patient play a critical role in providing exceptional services to the patients. Therefore, it’s fundamental to ensure your staff has the necessary training to carry themselves professionally and efficiently over the phone.
Most clinics and hospitals fail to utilise phone etiquette effectively in facilitating their patients. Failure to effectively communicate with patients can result in a tremendous loss of revenue for healthcare organisations. Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary measures to ensure that your clinic’s medical staff effectively communicate with both existing and new patients trying to reach you via telephone.
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How Does Phone Etiquette Affect Your Clinic?
If your medical staff cannot provide a comfortable experience to patient callers, it would lose them. Thus, making it essential for clinical staff to make sure they effectively communicate with their patients to provide valuable support. The importance of phone etiquette cannot be overemphasised because it is the decisive factor in making your healthcare business successful.
First Point of Contact
When your clinic representative answers a patient’s call, it acts as the first impression of the healthcare organisation and sets the tone as to what can be expected. The manner in which your patient is received over the phone is likely to lead to them deciding how comfortable they feel about receiving treatment from your clinic.
If clinical staff fail to be both professional and knowledgeable, they may lose the prospect. On the other hand, if the medical staff is polite and focused on helping the patient, it creates a positive impression, allowing you to reach and help more patients in the long run.
Phone etiquette can become a decisive factor in increasing or decreasing customer loyalty. When your clinic staff pay extra attention to your patients and genuinely work towards helping them, it creates a sense of belonging and trust for patients. In contrast, if clinical staff are careless and rude when dealing with patients, they reduce the chances of getting leads, resulting in losing current and potential patients.
Remind your clinic staff to remain calm and professional when speaking to patients. If they need to confirm information or check with a doctor, advise that they let the patient know they will be putting them on hold to do so.
Phone calls provide medical staff with an opportunity to bond with patients personally. It is your clinic’s first point of contact, resulting in patients getting treatment from you or moving toward other organisations.
A patient is likely to analyse the attitude and behaviour of your staff during the first interaction before making their decision. Likewise, suppose your clinic staff is successful in aiding the patient with whatever query they have. In that case, the patient is more likely to be satisfied with your level of service, resulting in a higher level of trust regarding your clinic and capability.
How Can You Ensure Appropriate Phone Etiquette?
Excellent phone etiquette allows your clinic to stand out from your competitors. It would help attract patients to your healthcare organisation and help you touch more patients’ lives. Therefore, it is vital to create a culture where your clinic staff understand how to effectively manage phone calls.
Here are ways to ensure that your team deals with patients efficiently and professionally.
Choose the Right Clinic Staff
When choosing staff for managing phone calls, the number one thing to consider is selecting the right person for the right job. Typically, in healthcare companies, front desk staff handle the phone calls for patients. Many clinics make the mistake of placing the newest member of the team on phone duty.
If your clinic opts to do this, creating a script for new staff members to follow can help raise your clinic’s standards of professionalism (which we will touch more on a little bit later). Allow for pauses in the script should the staff member need to confirm a piece of information with a more senior member or with a doctor.
While the selected staff member should possess excellent listening, sales, and verbal skills – these things can be taught. Keep in mind that a phone call is the first impression of your healthcare organisation. And you won’t get a second chance to make the first impression.
As mentioned, a healthcare organisation should invest in training programs for their staff to handle phone calls effectively. Schedule training workshops and sessions to aid medical staff in handling difficult situations and answer patients’ queries calmly.
A patient’s status may vary according to his condition; therefore, if clinical staff is not ready to deal with several situations, they may lose the patient. Moreover, handling phone calls may become a stressful situation, so the medical team must be able to manage their stress and emotions. Remember, your patients are likely to be undergoing stress and discomfort as well.
Clinics should pay close attention to motivating their team. Consider incentives and compensation to individuals who go the extra mile towards solving patients’ problems.
Additionally, every healthcare business should establish specific phone guidelines and train their staff accordingly to ensure quality customer service. Conduct training several times a year to ensure that everything is up to date and that the team is well aware of all the requirements for handling patient calls.
Nowadays, everybody wants quick solutions to their problems. The same is true for patients, and in reality, they may have an emergency that requires rapid action. One of the best ideas to ensure effective phone etiquette is to have a script. A script would contain all the guidelines and solutions to the patient’s problems. It would save time for call personnel and aid in providing timely solutions.
When creating a script for phone calls, avoid a restrictive one. Instead, management should upgrade the script gradually by complying with evolving patients’ needs. An effective script should answer all the crucial questions relative to the customer’s requirements.
Moreover, it should anticipate what customers may need after asking one thing. Anticipation helps you become proactive and develop solutions to problems that the patient may forget. This takes on the additional role of showing patients that your team is prepared and organised and that they will be in good hands during their healthcare journey.
To conclude, phone etiquette can make or break your healthcare organisation. It is your clinic’s primary impression, which makes it important enough to make it the best one. Effective phone skills help create patient perception. By providing proper training to your clinical staff and equipping them with the necessary skills, you can deliver exceptional customer service to your patients in their time of need.