Front Office – Handling Incoming Calls

Your front office staff is typically the patient’s first impression of your practice. Demonstrating great customer service is important! Did you know:

  • 26 out of 27 patients who have a bad experience with your practice fail to report it.
  • On average, an unsatisfied patient will tell 10 acquaintances.
  • The cost of bringing in a new patient through marketing effort is $400 on average.

Below are tips for handling incoming calls and making a great first impression:

  • Answer phone by 3rd ring.
  • If the caller asks to speak with the audiologist:
    • First, ask if they need to schedule an appointment.  If not…
    • “May I tell them who’s calling, and what it is regarding?… Just a moment, let me see if he/she can be interrupted.”
    • Or  “_____(name) is in with a patient, or testing. May I take a message with your phone number? I am sure she/he will want to get back to you as soon as possible.”
  • Always ASK before you put anyone on hold.
  • Understand why they are calling today – are they a current patient or new, calling for themselves or someone else and have they ever had their hearing tested.

If the caller is a new patient:

  • Ask for their name and address.
  • “Have you noticed difficulty with your hearing?”
  • “Who referred you to our office?”
  • “What type of insurance do you have?”
  • Offer the appointment!  Don’t ask if they would like an appointment – offer two options and let them choose one.  “We have time available on Monday at 2 in the afternoon and Wednesday at 9 in the morning.”
  • If they say they do not want an appointment, find out what other questions they have and use this opportunity to share with them what makes your practice special.
  • Confirm the date and time right before the conversation ends.
  • Thank them and tell them to have a great day.
  • If the caller is still unwilling to make an appointment, offer to mail information to them.  Try to get name, address and phone number, to follow-up with later. Or ask if they would like the audiologist to call them.

If the caller is a current patient:

  • Ask for their name.
  • Find out what problems they are having – hearing aid not working properly, battery, cleaning, etc.
  • Set the appointment
  • Confirm the date and time right before the conversation ends.
  • Thank them and tell them to have a great day.

Keep in mind:

  • Always introduce yourself by name and always ask for the caller’s name.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Take notes while the caller is speaking. This will help you organize what you address.
  • If it is a third party calling, tailor the questions to ask them about their experience with the individual with hearing loss and invite them to come in for the appointment.
  • Be sure to talk about the reasons why a patient would choose your practice!

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