Who Should Be Answering Your Office Phone?

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Is a smiling friendly person enough to answer your phone?

Who should be answering your phone in your Practice?

Who should we be hiring?

Is a friendly, smiling and kind person who has previously worked the front office in another Practice, enough?

Well I would have to say it’s a good start. But not enough!


Yes the personable, social and likeable person is a definite plus when it comes to answering your phone and being the first point of contact with your business. However, it’s not the be all and end all. You need to make sure there are definite systems in place for answering the phone effectively.

You need to have control over what the front office is saying on the New Patient Call and to your existing patients. If you don’t then you will not know why your business is not growing.

This is something I’ve been thinking about since my recent visit at an Imaging Centre to have an xray taken.

So here’s what happened.

On arrival at the Imaging Centre my first task was to get the attention of the front office girl who was hidden behind a shield/desk (not too sure what they are hiding? Maybe her desk was super messy.) I could see the tip of their head as I walked in but NO smile.

She finally looked up. No smile. At this point I realized maybe hiring the smiling friendly person was a good move.

Imagine if she had stood up from her desk to greet and acknowledge me.

I handed her my referral letter. Even though the referral letter had my name on it, she never said “Hello Jayne”.

She then asked my date of birth and do I have my Medicare Card.

Then next thing she said was, “Take a seat”.

I asked if it would be very long to wait and she said no and that was my only interaction with her.

During the forty five minute wait, I sat and sat and listened and listened.

I listened to the phone ringing quite a number of times before anyone bothered to pick it  up.

I listened to the five girls coming and going at the front desk who actually believed the shield/desk not only made them invisible but was also sound proof.

I then started listening to how they answered their phones and what they said.

The first question that was to ask for the caller’s Date of Birth, Medicare Number then their Surname. Finally the receptionist asked for the caller’s first name but never said it back to them.

Imagine if she had said something like, “hi Jenny. How has your morning been?”

Wow, imagine if she had started with what people like to hear the most, their name.

I listened to:

  • “When would you like to come in?”
  • “Do you want to come in today?”
  • “Do you want 11.30am? or earlier or later?”

I am sure the caller was now started to get very confused with all the choices.

Asking the caller whether they would like morning or afternoon gives you more control. It lets you make an appointment for the patient that suits your appointment book while still giving the caller choices and it makes it quick and easy for everyone.

Remember, all interaction with people in your business, especially when on the phone, should be to help people and increase future business and revenue.

I saw more interaction between the team than with the people arriving for their appointments.

Sadly, in many places of business the client is often seen to be a one off visitor. They don’t consider them to be clients of any value.

What if the person had to have another scan or x-ray in the future and remembers the the fabulous interaction they received at this office and decided to return the next time they needed an xray or scan.

What if they actually started letting their friends and family know how good the service and care was at the place they had their xray and scans done.

Could that be good for your business?

Of course the answer is yes!

Talk to your patients and make them feel welcome then they will come back to you over and over again!

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This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Practice, impacting immediately on the Patients Phone Experience, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

Phone Excellence Mastery is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

For more information on how I can improve your practice profitability contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com



About Jayne Bandy

I am a creative and thoughtful person, who is passionate about people and developing life skills.
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