If you run a busy medical practice, you know all too well how difficult it can be to manage after hours calls. If you’re considering hiring a virtual receptionist or call center but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone.
Sherry Donaldson of Columbus Home Medical Equipment was in that position not long ago, before the company hired Voice Link of Columbus based on referrals and research. Her experience sheds valuable light on what qualities and considerations to take into account when choosing a call center.
1. No Hidden Fees Save You Money
Columbus Home Medical Equipment delivers equipment such as hospital beds and oxygen to patients discharged from hospitals or is in hospice, and to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. The number of after hour calls they receive monthly varies widely. A typical weeknight might have 6 to 8 calls while a busy night or weekend may bring 15 to 20 calls.
“When we researched other call centers, we found that many charged extra fees if we changed the person on call, or if we changed the schedule, or if we went over a certain number of calls one month,” says Donaldson. “Voice Link offers different plan levels at various price points, and once you select your plan, there are no extra fees. Once you choose your plan, what you see is what you get.”
The no extra fees is important because Columbus Home Medical Equipment changes the on-call person each week. And, like most medical companies, their after-hours call volume fluctuates from month to month, so they didn’t want a call center that automatically bumped them to a higher plan if one month was unusually busy. Voice Link is flexible with fluctuations. They also cover calls while the staff of 16 is in meetings, at no extra fee.
2. Go Live and Go Local
Voice Link is also located in Columbus, which turned out to be a huge advantage, especially in the beginning. “JoAnn from Voice Link came out to our offices, set things up, and showed us exactly how it all works,” Donaldson says. “They’re all so personable and helpful. Everyone we talk to is always professional and courteous.”
Some call centers use a technology called IVR, which typically takes a caller through a series of prompts and then routes the caller to the staff member on call, or the doctor. The IVR can be aggravating if the caller isn’t routed to the right person, or if the call is an emergency and the prompting and routing process causes delays. Knowing that a live person trained in your business is answering your calls brings great comfort. Donaldson says having the live, personal touch has made the biggest difference to their business in the following call center quality — saving time.
3. Saves Time (and Sleep!)
“The Voice Link reps are great at knowing what is and isn’t an emergency. They know that a hospital calling with a discharged patient’s needs is always an emergency, as are any calls relating to oxygen.Oxygen-related calls are the majority of our after-hour calls,” she says, and she knows this first-hand since her husband is one of Columbus Home Medical Equipment’s on-call technicians.
“Before we added Voice Link he would get calls at all hours of the night, even 2 or 3 a.m., about non-emergency questions like ‘Do you carry compression stockings?’ But he had to answer each call because he wouldn’t know if it was an emergency or not,” she says.
Voice Link discerns what the caller needs and only forwards the emergency calls for patient discharge or oxygen-related issues to the on-call technician. The non-emergency calls are held for the next business day, and Columbus Home Medical Equipment receives a fax each morning of the after-hours call activity, which is easier to manage.
How your calls are handled reflects on the reputation of your business, and using the right call center can make the difference between losing and keeping a customer. Specializing in the healthcare and medical industry, Voice Link provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 to learn how we can meet your telecommunications needs and exceed your expectations.