Book More Appointments With an Answering Service
A medical practice’s profitability depends on the number of appointments they have daily. A full schedule ensures patients get preventative, routine care, resulting in happier patients and successful practice. A calendar with gaps ultimately results in an ineffective practice that struggles to make a profit. Creating ways that allow customers to schedule and manage appointments can increase overall revenue. Medical practices and hospitals typically explore two routes to book more appointments; internal improvements and answering service.
1. Internal Process Improvements to Book More Appointments
Increasing productivity to maximize appointments can help, but it’s easier said than done. Your medical receptionist may try to optimize their schedule themselves. Optimizing the day-to-day means calling patients between tasks, playing phone tag to respond to messages left on a voicemail, or skipping breaks so the phone is never unattended. But when the solution is “Work harder,” it doesn’t solve the problem and often causes more issues. When the only solution to schedule more appointments is to increase productivity, your employees can get burnt out, and customer care can decline.
Hire Additional Staff
Instead of juggling all the work, some hire additional support staff to keep things booked solid and revenue flowing. But one additional employee can only do so much; if they are on the phone with one patient or pharmacy, they can’t help with any other calls. Even if a caller leaves a message, they might not pick up when called back. Missed calls delay appointments, if they even happen at all. Not to mention, hiring additional employees adds another salary and benefits package to the payroll.
Let Calls Go to Voice Mail
Today’s patients want immediate help and service. According to leading CRM authorities, 50-75 % of callers hang up when a call goes to voice mail. If they can’t reach you on the first try, they will try another provider and the first person who answers the phone and sets an appointment.
As an alternative to additional staffing, many have tried web-based scheduling solutions that allow patients to schedule an appointment online whenever they want. Web tools work when patients are comfortable using technology or have a simple appointment with no questions. Most online scheduling tools don’t help with cancellations, rescheduling, or customer service. The results are missed opportunities that you cannot reclaim.
Making various internal process improvements won’t always help you book more appointments. Some solutions can result in a decline in quality or an increase in expenses. You might need some outside help. One solution is a telephone answering service.
2. Use an Answering Service to Book More Appointments
The right patient support partner cares about your patients just as much as you do; they are a seamless extension of you and are flexible to meet your needs. Besides that, here are some of the top benefits of an answering service.
Your answering service is staffed around the clock to set appointments whenever your patients need to call. No more worrying about who is covering the phones during lunch break. Offering 24/7 availability can place you above your competition as well.
Your answering service can access your online schedule to set your appointments. Partners like MedCall Plus work with existing EMR systems to ensure a seamless flow of information from billing to appointment scheduling.
Your answering service can handle inquiries from the self-serve crowd. Don’t lose an appointment due to an unanswered question or a hard-to-use online solution. Let your answering service capture those missed opportunities.
While you don’t want cancellations, they do happen. And when they do, the sooner you know about them, the sooner other patients can fill these openings. Your answering service can take the cancelation fast and then work to book more appointments in the time slot.
Some people set appointments far in advance and then forget about them. An appropriately timed phone call, email, or text to remind them of an upcoming meeting will reduce no-shows and minimize unforeseen openings. Your answering service can do this for you, and your time is free to focus on patients who need your help now.
When setting appointments, your answering service is your sure solution to keep your schedule full without dealing with all the usual headaches. To learn more about MedCall Plus patient support solutions, contact us today!