Optometrists seeing the benefits of medical answering service

October 29th, 2008

Optometrists, like other healthcare professionals, must focus on more than just quality eye care when managing the business side of eye care. To most people, eye care providers help us to see optimally and tend to any eye concerns that come up in our lives. To an optometrist, eye care is a business as well as a passion. As such, customer service, customer retention, and effective cost management are all important business concerns.

Many optometrists operate with one receptionist managing their front desk. This may generally be okay, but it may also be a hindrance to delivery of the best customer service. Front desk receptionists are often overwhelmed with patients and phone calls on busy days. They also must keep up with all important insurance claims paperwork. These demands and the ability to offer an after-hours answering service are factors that have prompted many eye care professionals to turn to a best in class, 24/7 medical answering service.

A 24/7 backup receptionist enables optometrists to have a backup solution by day and an after-hours answering service by night, in order to optimize customer service. Most consumers still prefer the ability to have questions and concerns addressed by a live receptionist. However, these consumers also would rather have basic needs, such as appointment scheduling, handled immediately by a quality virtual answering service, as opposed to waiting on hold for a busy receptionist. Customer service in today’s fast-paced, high consumer demand culture is a balance between a personalized offering and an efficient service-delivery.

Most optometrists also do not have a receptionist on hand after hours. In many markets, there is simply not enough demand to do so. Thus, after-hours callers are traditionally greeted by a simple voice-messaging system. They leave a message and hope to have their call returned sometime the next business day. A top after-hours answering service allows patients to call anytime, day or night, for appointment scheduling, emergency contact transfers, and other efficiently handled needs. The virtual answering service is intelligent enough organize typical calls basic on the need and respond accordingly based on its programming.

Along with the customer service benefits, a 24/7 optometrist answering service can be a tremendous relief to regular staff. Live receptionists are supposed to deliver great customer service through a personalized approach to service and excellent phone skills. The challenge in single-receptionist operations, or busy clinics, is that a steady flow of patient needs, including selection and trial of glasses and contacts, is stressful. Many receptionists are overwhelmed dealing with in-store patients, phone calls, and still trying to keep up with required paperwork. Additionally, most clinics rely on receptionists to deliver all important appointment confirmation calls, although all-around virtual medical office assistant solutions can also be programmed to perform this routine task.

Optometrists who understand the value of happy employees and satisfied customers are recognizing the benefits of the virtual answering service. A top 24/7 medical answering service can be one of the best moderate business investments for any practices. Another benefit is that some solutions require little to no ongoing maintenance.

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