Employees answering the telephone in a medical practice have an essential job. They are the "first impression" of a practice. So consider making basic phone etiquette part of your new employee orientation. Spell out good phone manners and communication skills in a written policy to be used for training as an ongoing resource. It is also helpful to periodically remind employees of these basic customer service skills:
- Smile while talking on the phone.
- Identify yourself: "Jones Family Practice. This is Jane, how may I help you?"
- If you must put the patient on hold, ask first and wait for an answer.
- Hear the patient out; don't interrupt or rush the conversation.
- Be thorough in gathering information from the patient.
- If a call becomes too difficult, refer to the office manager or a clinical manager.
- Be friendly, courteous, and compassionate.
What kind of first impression does your staff make? TMA Practice Consulting 's on-site training service now includes mystery shopping. TMA consultants will rate your practice's customer service by placing quarterly "mystery shopping" phone calls to your practice. A written report on the results can form the basis of a training program for your staff, if needed.
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