By Kristin Baird
In my company, the Baird Group, we do thousands of mystery shops each year to medical practices throughout the U.S.
The calls are made to help the medical practice leaders understand more about that crucial first impression by phone. Many are seeking help in learning how callers feel about access. Can they get an appointment? How long is the wait? Furthermore, what is the caller’s perception of availability? How did they feel about the discussion?
When it comes time for us to report the results and share recommendations for improvement, a few themes frequently surface.
One of the most prevalent themes is the dead-end conversation. This is where the caller asks for an appointment with a specific provider. That particular provider is booked out for months. Consequently, the attendant dead ends the call by saying there is nothing available.
What he or she doesn’t say is that there are four other great providers with availability in the near future. The caller feels they hit a dead end. As a result, there is a very high probability that they would continue on to call a different practice.
In our phone training class, You’ll Have Them at Hello, phone attendants are taught how to engage the caller to address their needs.
With some simple techniques, they can assure the caller that they can get an appointment and offer options without hitting the dead end.
There are many times when we cannot say yes to a patient’s specific request, but we can almost always find a way to help them maintain some degree of control by offering choices that are within reach.
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