Optometrists rely on after-hours answering service

November 30th, 2008

Like many other medical providers, optometrists cannot afford to miss out on opportunities for scheduled appointments or follow up visits. Unfortunately, many clinics can also not afford the costs to employ someone to answer phone calls 24/7. The amount of demand and emergency needs that might come up are rarely enough to justify another employee who requires labor and benefits expenses and management. There is another great option now for many providers to meet the practical, and sometimes legal, needs for an after-hours answering service. The 24/7 medical answering service is a virtual answering service designed to fit the gaps that optometrists have in service when there is no other practical option.

Though most optometry clinics are not open after hours, many patients in today’s busy environment want to schedule appointments efficiently without the hassle of dealing with a busy and overwhelmed receptionist. One of the main benefits of a top class virtual answering service is that it is able to manage multiple phone calls at once. Callers can typically complete appointment scheduling more quickly and accurately than they could with a receptionist.

A call answering service can do more than just help with appointment scheduling. Though emergency phone calls to an optometrist are not always common, it is important that the provider be equipped to handle any urgent eye care needs that may come up. Some patients may have trouble with recent treatments or care. Others may have other situations that arise at odd hours. The after-hours answering service can be neatly programmed to transfer emergency care calls to the appropriate provider as necessary. This is often more efficient than a live receptionist can handle an urgent care call in the midst of a busy day with patients and paperwork.

For budget-conscious optometry practices, a good virtual answering service can also be obtained with a modest up front cost and little to no ongoing maintenance. There are very little hardware and software demands and the service is easy to customize and use. The same can not always be said about employees. Medical receptionists are notoriously overwhelmed with multitasking. They become stressed and tired and can become irritable during important patient interaction. This is not good in the competitive eye care industry where patients have choices on where to go for care. The virtual answering service does not become stressed or tired. It is accurate and cost-effective.

A good after-hours answering service helps with many important business processes that can make or break an optometry practice. Even good optometrists must be fiscally responsible. An after-hours answering service helps with acquisition of new patients who may opt to call for assistance or appointment scheduling after work or when the office is closed. It is also vital for maintaining patient relationships. Clinic patients may not last long if they must deal with busy or stressed receptionists to make appointments. As is the case in any competitive arena, if one practice does not offer an after-hours call answering service, another does.

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