Customer experience is an important consideration for businesses in every industry, and healthcare is no exception. Patients dissatisfied with their doctor’s offices often complain about one thing: they can’t reach their doctor when they need to. Poor patient call experience can drive clients away even if they are otherwise happy with their quality of care. At Digital Agent, we’ve spent decades helping our clients in the medical field optimize their call flow. These are a few of the common issues and benefits we’ve identified in the process.
When a patient dials the phone number for their doctor’s office, they are usually directed to an automated menu, which branches off to several extension lines depending on the patient’s menu choice. Press 1 for billing, press 2 to schedule an appointment, and so on. From that first menu, the patient may have to wait on hold, navigate additional menu options, or leave a message if the extension is currently busy or unattended. The way these calls are routed through these menus and extensions is called a “phone tree” or “call flow.”
Schedule a Switchvox phone system demo for better call reporting and analytics.
High-quality phone systems, like Switchvox phones, will generate detailed reporting on your clinic’s incoming and outgoing calls. This helps you identify where bottlenecks might be happening in your call flow. A few key numbers to look at include:
- Number of Abandoned Calls
- Average Talk Time for Answered Calls
- Average Wait Time for All Calls
- Longest Wait Time for all Calls
Tracking these numbers across users and looking closely at your call flow can quickly help you determine how to optimize your phone tree.
It’s important to optimize your call flow in a way that suits the specific needs of your business. A small change can have a huge impact. For example, if a lot of irrelevant or redundant calls are all going to a single extension, the way your call menu is set up might not be very intuitive for your patients to navigate. Creating clear, well-divided menu options and automating answers to common questions—like hours and directions—can remove a lot of the burden on your phone system and drastically reduce your average call wait times.
A call flow analysis can highlight other sources of inefficiency too. For instance, your call reporting might show you that one of your extensions has a much higher average talk time than the others, resulting in the person who owns that extension taking fewer calls than their colleagues. This could signal that this individual needs more training on how to wrap up calls efficiently.
If your patients can’t call you, they can’t make an appointment. Long call wait times discourage patients from making scheduling calls and are a barrier to accessing your high-quality care. Patients that get frustrated with long wait times or getting bounced back and forth between extensions often turn to Google and other sites to leave bad reviews that damage your clinic’s reputation.
Running a medical office is a daunting task, and improving your call flow is likely lower on your priority list than it should be. Digital Agent specializes in phones for medical offices, so the hassle is on us when your patients need to quickly reach the right person.
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