So what do you do if your front desk is overwhelmed with calls? Of course, you could hire an actual receptionist but there’s only so much a human being can spread themselves thin. An effective way to climb out of this sticky puddle is to install a live phone answering service at your practice.
Update – PatLive, The #1 Most Recommended Virtual Receptionist Service Now Has A Free Trial (so you can try before you buy)
PatLive, the recommended answering service for chiropractors, has a 2 week free trial using this coupon code for Clever Leverage readers only. There is also an additional lifetime discount, should you decide it’s the right fit for you. I recommend them specifically, so you can test out the flow of inbound calls for your office, and make sure it’s the right fit for your practice before spending a bunch of money. There are other medical specific answering services out there, but often times they are just heavily marketed toward doctors, and are farmed out to overseas call centers. (not a good idea for your business image or conversion rates on new signups for the practice)
- You may also like GabbyVille virtual receptionists
What’s A Live Phone Answering Service & How Can It Help Your Chiro Practice?
Live answering services enlist the support of virtual receptionists who have a certain level of expertise or knowledge about the field. When a patient calls, it is the job of the call answering service to connect the patient to someone who can attend to the caller’s queries. The virtual receptionists undergo some amount of training so they are able to discern which calls are urgent and which aren’t. What’s great is that the service can be on for 24 hours so your answering service can take messages for you even when you’re asleep at home.
*Not to Be Confused with a Call Center
People often confuse live answering services with call centers. While both involve a large group of people answering calls for others, here are a few key differences:
- Call centers are much larger and are attached to bigger multi-nationals or organizations that typically lead to an impersonal patient experience. (that’s obviously not what we want for our practice!)
- Call answering services are contracted out to relatively smaller businesses. They are responsible for answering calls, taking messages and scheduling reminders, among other things, and handle all inbound patient calls according to the manner you specify.
- Call answering services are required to do more than simply gather information. Often, the job of the virtual receptionist also requires some amount of decision making, just as your in house office staff handles inbound leads. Appointment setting, plan details, etc…
There are several ways your practice could benefit from a live phone answering service, like those offered at PATLive. The following are some of the key advantages of installing one in your office:
Save Money and Get Better Customer Interactions! (without the additional payroll/overhead)
By enlisting an answering service with virtual receptionists you can cut down on your payroll. No longer do you need an extra set of hands at work. The virtual receptionists are at your service for 24 hours. It’s the responsibility of the answering service to ensure a virtual receptionist is always available on call, no matter time of day or year.
You also don’t need to worry about training the receptionist, ensuring they work professionally or let them go if things don’t work out. All these smaller managerial tasks can be handed over to the live answering service. You can now focus on your actual practice and leave the logistical headache to your virtual receptionist.
Once the service has been installed, you only have to update it every once in a while or as you see fit.
As mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about training the receptionist. The virtual receptionists hired by the live answering service come onboard knowing fully what is expected of them. Most virtual receptionists have either worked at a medical professional’s practice before or have prior knowledge of chiropractic. They will be able to answer your patient’s queries better than a live receptionist whose only job is to answer the phone and do managerial tasks.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that the virtual receptionist will give out medical advice on your behalf. But they are trained enough to know which call may be an emergency and what can wait, other than knowing how to speak confidently about medical terms with patients.
One of the biggest benefits of enlisting a third party answering service is that it is fully tax deductible! If you hire a person as a receptionist, not only do you have to pay them a salary you also owe payroll tax at the end of each financial year. With a live phone answering service, you can simply write it off as a business expense. You are enlisting the services of a third-party and not someone from your own payroll, therefore it can be written off on your taxes. Now, who doesn’t want some good customer service as well as tax benefits?
The best part of the live answering service is that you can be available to your clients and patients 24×7. You customize the facilities on your device to allow patients to book appointments, call for queries etc, even while you’re away from your clinic or are asleep at home at night.
In that sense, the live phone answering service is similar to a call centre as it provides 24-hour support. The service may hire 10 or 15 virtual receptionists, who work in shifts and ensure an entire 24-hour cycle is covered. This is not something you’re likely to get with an actual receptionist on your own payroll.
If patients call for something other than booking an appointment, the virtual receptionist is sure to pass on the message. While your staff receptionist may be bogged down by other duties to attend to patient calls all the time, the virtual receptionist has been hired to do just this. Patients can be confident that their message will be recorded and forwarded to you and if you can get back to them promptly too, it is only bound to increase customer satisfaction.
You can receive your messages in multiple ways too. Several services provide you with a transcript of your voicemail and send it to your email if you like. The service can also sort out which messages are important, whether its a new business prospect for you or someone else propositioning a business.
Making a follow-up call to your patient to check how they are doing is one of the key requirements to keep them satisfied. It lets your patient know that you’re thinking of their wellbeing and health even when they’re not at your clinic or don’t have another appointment coming up soon. But most practices let go of the follow-up call simply because it’s too time-consuming for the staff to follow-up as well as keep a record.
With a live phone answering service, your virtual receptionists can make follow up calls for you and even make a note of the feedback the patient has provided. This will go a long way in you not only improving your craft but also retaining patients.
This will also come in handy to collect patients’ contact information and details, especially for insurance purposes. While your own staff may find it time-consuming to keep track of all of these details, outsourcing the task to a live answering service will free your staff up to do other things.
Most live phone answering services will allow you to continue with the same phone hardware and even the same number. So you don’t have to spend more money on buying extra equipment. What you already have is enough to get started. In fact, with a virtual receptionist taking care of your appointments and messages, you can even get rid of that cumbersome answering machine.
Besides, with the same equipment and number, you can give your customers more control of who they want to speak to. They can direct the call to the right department or person at your practice without having to wait for too long. Meanwhile, the calls keep coming in without any hindrances.
So there you have it, a concise list of how a live phone answering service could improve your practice. The reasons mentioned above are only some of the benefits accruing from virtual receptionists. There are a host of others you may discover once you start using the service. Cost-effective and efficient, the service will help you declutter the office space. Your front desk staff can now focus solely on patients who come in to see you for appointments and not be buried in a sea of paperwork and calls. You also will not have to worry about this headache and can focus on your patients and your work.
A live phone answering service is meant to sort your work life out and give you the room to focus on more important things and your patients the customer satisfaction they need. A week with a live phone answering service and you will probably be able to tell the difference immediately. So make your life easier and install a live phone answering service today. Log on to www.patlive.com for more details.