PICTURE THIS: You’re just starting your workday. You go to your regular coffee shop, place your order, and then, just as you reach for your cup of freshly brewed coffee, you make contact with a stranger’s hand. You look up at them and are in awe. You both smile at one another, but before you can get out a word, they leave never to be seen again. All you’re left with is the haunting question – what might have been?
Practices understand this feeling when they're unable to connect with patients on the phone. A patient calls in, asks about a high-value procedure, gets placed on a lengthy hold, and then hangs up without ever providing their name or contact information. Now we won't be able to help your love life, but we know the phones. Here are three steps to take to better understand why your calls are not connecting:
Let’s define what a connected call is. A connected call is when the patient gets ear-to-ear with a live staff member to get his or her questions answered. Calls that connect provide an overall better experience for the patient when interacting with your practice. The Practice Performance Report in Call Box provides an overview of essential phone handling metrics. One such metric, call connection, compares the total number of calls the practice received to the number of calls connected to a qualified staff member who can help.
Now we know that not every call will be answered. In Call Box, the Search For a Call Report can help locate all calls that didn’t connect. Some examples of unconnected calls are when customers hang up on hold, are sent to voicemail, or didn’t leave a message. This detail creates visibility so managers can see when and what kinds of calls that didn’t connect occurred the most. Then, with that information available to back it up, process changes can be implemented to ensure the phones are properly covered to limit calls slipping through the cracks. The two most prevalent reasons for poor call connection in 2021 were patients hanging up while on hold and being sent to voicemail to leave a message. With average hold times hovering around 2.5 minutes, it’s a no-brainer why patients are giving up before speaking with a staff member. Some leading causes of poor call connection include inadequate staff coverage of the phones or not having a phone menu in place with options to direct the patient’s call when calling in.
The benefit to accessing all the calls that didn't connect in your practice is that those calls still offer potential opportunities. Have staff set aside time for follow-up with these patients. Managers can create calling lists of the calls that didn't connect for their staff using the Campaign Dialer tool in the Call Box App. Managers can check the progress of these campaigns within Call Box as well to hold their teams accountable. Following up with missed calls is a win-win scenario that can add potential bookings to your calendar and turn a poor patient experience into a positive one.
So, if you're ever in a situation like the one in the coffee shop, glance at the name on the cup, ask the barista his or her name, or show up the next day to run into them again. Recapture the otherwise lost opportunity.
A missed call doesn’t have to be the end of the patient's journey with your practice. By staying on top of calls that did not connect and having processes in place to capture the most calls as they come in, your practice can experience a higher amount of patient bookings and boosted revenue.
Learn more about how Call Box helps healthcare practices improve caller experience and optimize call outcomes at callbox.com.