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“Doctor’s office - please hold,” is not what anyone wants to hear when calling your practice, especially for the first time. Teach staff how to handle your calls properly.
Generally, the front-office staff is the first contact the patient has with the office, as well as the last. In these times of increased consumer knowledge, the customer service we provide can set us apart from our competition.
But the front-desk staff is tugged in many directions: answering the phone, checking patients in and out, verifying current demographic information, collecting copays, calling to remind patients about appointments, dealing with pharmaceutical reps and other vendors - you get the idea.
So what to do? Here are a few tried and true methods for improving your customer service in the front office:
Bottom line: Never doubt the importance of your front-desk staff and the impact they have on your patient base. Keeping patients is far less expensive than securing new ones, and you need your front-desk workers to help keep them. With just a little effort and training to get the front office on board, you will have patients singing your praises and spreading the good word about the superb customer service at your practice.
Kenneth Hertz, CMPE, is a senior consultant with the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group. His special interests include operational improvement, practice analysis, strategic planning, and strategic marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Physicians Practice.