In December, I discussed the two primary goals of inbound phone management: maximizing productivity and delivering a stellar patient experience. I unpacked essential tools and tips to help you achieve these goals. In this article, I will provide specific training criteria and phone management policy and procedures that position your dermatology practice to blow the competition away.
Inbound calls are still one of the most important touch points for patients and successful phone management is a powerful tool to help your practice grow and thrive. It’s crucial that staff members who handle calls for your practice understand how vital their role is in retaining patients and securing new ones. Training needs to start with expressing the value of their role and practice leaders’ commitment to equipping them to succeed. Treating the process as a partnership in which everyone wins will help diffuse fear of blame or failure that your staff might initially experience.
Training and Tools
To prepare for staff training, first gather data to help communicate where the practice is compared to where you’d like it to be. In order to get your staff on board, they’re going to have to see a reason for the training, and that will likely include showing them some unfavorable but undeniable concrete data. Sources of this data could include online reviews, data pulled from phone call recording applications, and patient surveys. It will take strong leadership and diplomacy to communicate clearly and positively.
Implementing a cloud-based call-tracking and call-recording system can allow you to track and record calls without having to upgrade your phone system or download any software to the practice computers. Recorded call information must be tracked and measured for each call using a tool that reflects the goals set by practice leaders.
For example you might want to track things like:
· Who answered the call?
· Type of patient/caller (existing, potential).
· Did caller schedule?
· Was practice greeting used?
· Was caller put on hold? If so, for how long?
Set a period of time in which you will draw data from, and then use it as a comparison while setting goals and measuring improvement. This system will continue to benefit your practice during and after training to monitor and measure performance.
Hiring a mystery shopper patient is another way to bring objective and concrete data about how your practice is doing. A patient experience expert can also help you set goals, train staff and provide feedback from the patient perspective that might be missed when the practice is self-assessing from recording tools.