Hiring, training, and maintaining staff that can consistently manage incoming calls 24/7, 365 days a year, even at peak call volume is extremely inefficient and yet exactly what is expected for a medical institution like a pharmacy or hospital. People don’t like but can live with being put on hold for a pizza order but will not show the same restraint when calling in a medical emergency.
Interestingly, start-up and established practices alike seem to struggle with this dilemma as they try to find the middle ground. But by its very definition, optimizing call staff means gearing for less than peak call volumes and is destined to fail because patients unfortunately don’t follow a regular call pattern. Hospitals often see a meteoric surge in calls on holidays and weekends, while a dental office can find itself empty midweek. There is simply no formula or algorithm that can guard you against the risk of missed, or worse, mismanaged calls.
Outsourcing to a professional agency allows you to pass on the call overflow to trained agents who take messages and respond based your instructions. But while these services come at a cost, it is miniscule compared to the opportunity cost of NOT having one.
Still not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at the costs and savings associated with outsourcing some of your call management.
- Cost of identifying the right service provider
- Setup costs—choosing a package, scripting desired responses, and so on
- Fixed sign-up costs and variable cost basis usage
In our experience the largest is perhaps finding the right agency. The others are minimal once you have a provider.
Now let’s list the many financial benefits that an answering service offers.
- Monthly salaries of additional staff—not to mention their workstations, bonuses, pension plans, or just the cost of having them in the office
- Trust and revenue gained from calls not missed during breaks and after office hours
- Better doctor productivity that comes from better work–life balance that comes from not having to take every inconsequential call after work
- Increased focus on existing patient care without the distraction of incoming calls
- Improved brand perception due to better call management
- Peace of mind that comes with knowing that no call goes unanswered
- Add-on services like appointment reminders, paperwork filing, and scheduling appointments, which would dilute productivity otherwise
- Illusion of size due to 24/7, 365-days-a-year availability
- Flexible work contracts that let you adjust and find your sweet spot against fixed, ongoing salaries that require firing and rehiring employees
- An optimized resource model that allows the most efficient use of highly paid, highly qualified personnel for the high-value medical services they are paid for
Too good to be true? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.