When choosing a medical answering service, think about the call volume your office receives. You might also want to determine whether or not a live person is answering the phone as opposed to a voice recording. Ask if the company charges by the minute or by the call. Finally, talk to the representatives working for the establishment to see if they have a friendly and caring disposition.
Knowing how many calls you might receive during a shift can often determine the type of service you need to contract with. If your office receives only a few calls, a private individual may be able to handle this. If your practice can expect to get a continuous flow of telephone traffic, the services may need to be performed by a call center containing multiple telephone lines.
Many patients prefer talking to a live answering service as opposed to a recorded message. Find out which one of these methods is used by the medical answering service you are considering. In the event you do decide to go with a recording, make sure it is easy for your clients to use and understand.
Ask about the billing methods used by the medical answering service. Many doctors prefer to use an agency that charges by the call, as the actual talk time can be difficult to determine. Other companies may contract by the hour. Consider the various types of invoicing carefully in order to determine the most economical method for your office.
The voice on the other end of the line is often the first impression a person has of you as a doctor. If possible, get to know the employees of the medical answering service personally. Try to determine if they exhibit compassion to others around them. Make sure they are friendly and professional as well. If the agents have a medical background, this could be especially helpful because these operators could more easily understand a patient's medical condition and be better able to communicate with you as well.
Making the decision to utilize the services of a medical answering service can be a difficult one for many physicians. Often, it is a practical choice as doing so can free other employees to assist patients in the office. This means it can be very important to select the right agency. This can usually be accomplished easily, by getting to know the company's owners and employees before signing a contract.