Most employees and providers stop and count the real doors into the practice front and back entry ways. Normal answer is 2-4 doors, however stop and think about EVERY way a patient can get into your practice doors and telephone lines. The way your staff presents themselves on the telephone is the first impression many patients have with your practice and ultimately a doorway into your practice.
Is your staff turning away patients that you don’t know about? Are they trying to keep the books full? Do they know your expectations for getting patients in for same day appointments?
Do they smile when they are on the phone? Are they pleasant and try to help the patients or are they a barrier for your patients to be seen?
Employees that answer the phone are a vital part of the patient process and should be pleasant and always willing to help. The number one reason a patient is calling the office is to get an appointment. Patients don’t need to know if you are short staffed or over booked they just want an appointment. Sometimes you cannot give them the appointment they want, however you can ALWAYS be sincere and respectful. Many patients want to be heard, so listen to what they are telling you.
As you begin to see your telephones as a doorway into your medical practice you will find opportunities to welcome patients. Going back to the basics at the beginning of the year is always a good business practice and usually you will find a way to improve. Ultimately, improve your patient satisfaction and you’ll improve the profit of the practice.
So the next time someone asks you about the doorways into your medical practice don’t forget the telephones!
Sheridan Robinson is a practice management consultant with 15 years of experience and received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Meredith College in 1998 and then entered the healthcare community full time. She has been involved with business office operations, managed care relations, multi site operations and patient satisfaction. She has a passion for helping practice managers and owners find creative ways to increase patient and employee satisfaction and have a positive effect on the overall success of the practice. She can be contacted at [email protected]