A significant part of patient-provider communication happens over the phone. It’s more personal than email exchanges and helps resolve issues quickly. But sometimes these phone calls aren’t very pleasant, especially when frustrated patients call you looking for answers to their questions. The burden is placed on your patient service representatives to turn an unpleasant experience into a pleasant one, especially if they want to keep the patient happy. Here’s how representatives can talk to patients on the phone and turn unpleasant conversations into pleasant ones:
1. Be consistent: Train patient service representatives to use a professional greeting that includes your medical practice name and their own names.
2. Never interrupt: Never interrupt a complaining patient. It can be hard not to do this but train your staff to listen to the problem, no matter how long it takes.
3. Transfer the call to the right person: Your staff must know who to transfer the call to and how to transfer it. Keeping the patient on hold for five minutes while your staff figures out who the right person is to handle patients’ issues will further aggravate the matter.
4. Keep the patient informed: It’s essential to train your staff on keeping the patient in the loop while the team is resolving the patient’s issues. This is important because when your staff fixes the problem in less time than they stated, you’ll have a loyal patient. Your staff takes longer, and you can expect that patient never to revisit your practice.
5. Smile when talking on the phone: Research shows that smile while talking on the phone makes a difference in your tone. Train your staff to sound happy while talking to patients. Your staff members’ choice of words and tone are more important over the phone than in a face-to-face consultation.
Looking for more tips on phone etiquettes? Click here.