Dealing with seasonal demand with a virtual receptionist

December 16th, 2008


With the holiday season upon us, you may find that your medical or dental surgery is experiencing lager-than-usual custom, especially by phone. Whether it is someone calling in to say they won’t be making an appointment because of a festive duty, or the opposite, someone calling to make an appointment because of some winter-related injury, this time of year is often the busiest.

So rather than take on new staff, or risk your current reception desk becoming over-run, why not put your patients in the safe hands of a virtual receptionist.

In the same way that you can now order a pizza or check your bank balance by telephone, you can now offer your patients a 24/7 medical answering service and online appointment scheduling by employing a virtual receptionist.

A virtual receptionist can answer and log calls, make appointments, direct calls to the correct recipient and even telephone patients to remind them of their appointment.

Human error is known to be one of the biggest problems in improving productivity, efficiency and quality of service. You only need to look at the improvements we now enjoy thanks to inventions like cash machines, vending machines and self-service supermarket checkouts.

The same principle can now be applied to your medical reception desk.

Your current receptionist is only human, so can only handle one call at a time. That means that if you have an exceptionally busy day, some patients may not be able to get through to you.

These problems are a thing of the past with a virtual receptionist, which is able to handle any number of simultaneous calls, regardless of the call length or reason. No longer need you worry about missing out on calls due to telephone congestion, as all calls are handled simultaneously, with exceptional service and dependability.

Also gone from your practice will be the constant sound of ringing, unanswered phones from your medical front desk. Your staff, rather than being always glued to the receiver making appointments and attending to callers, the virtual receptionist will handle your patients’ every need, leaving your medical reception staff free to concentrate on patients who are actually in the building.

In addition to answering your calls, a virtual receptionist can contact your patients to remind them of appointments, in their own language and in a clear and informative manner. The automated receptionist also detects the difference between human voices and answering machines.

While a human receptionist is limited by the hours they work, the virtual receptionist will retry unanswered calls at different times of the day until they get through to your patient, and logs all calls, attempts and results with efficiency and accuracy.

A virtual receptionist also eliminates other potential pitfalls your patients may encounter, such as regional dialects and accents which can confuse both caller and operator, or human factors such as the receptionist having a cold, or a sore throat that may make them less intelligible.

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