For this month, we have an opportunity to evaluate a practice’s:
• Outgoing message
• Call-back policy
• Answering Service
• On Hold Message (but that of the answering service)
The fact it only took one ring before playing the outgoing message is very good. The recorded message is clear and easy to understand.
Unfortunately, the content of the message only addresses prospective patients as part of the ‘otherwise’ group by suggesting they “…please call back after 7:30 tomorrow.” This is a risky way to handle prospective patients who may well be inclined to direct their interest elsewhere.
It is an ongoing challenge to locate an answering service with the technical and interpersonal skills necessary to reflect positively on the practice. Even practices fortunate enough to find one, must remain vigilant by calling the service every few weeks to confirm that quality has not deteriorated. Changes in personnel, technical difficulties, etc. can all cause the answering service’s performance to slip, so be on guard.
Specifically, the call handler interrupted the caller and was clearly not interested in doing anything more than taking the caller’s name and number. She lacked empathy, and did not care to establish rapport with the caller. Imagine the sort of ‘first impression’ this would have had for someone who had just received a direct mailing and was calling to learn more about the practice!