Managing incoming calls at a busy veterinary practice isn’t always easy. There are so many moving parts, from scheduling to inquiries to follow-ups and more. Is there a way to streamline the process without having to sacrifice the quality of service your callers receive? The answer to that question is a resounding ‘YES’! Here’s how.
Stay on point.
Let’s be honest. Some clients just love to chat. But when it comes to efficiency, time is of the essence. The good news is, it’s entirely possible to maintain a level of compassion and empathy while still keeping the call on track. Coach your receptionists on how to gently steer callers back to the subject at hand. For instance:
“Sounds like you’ve had a challenging day! How can we help you with Fluffy?”
This acknowledges what the caller is saying but redirects the conversation back to the point.
Asking open-ended questions, like “what time works best for you?” is like opening a can of worms. And it can kill productivity. Instead, train your team to offer two specific options. For instance, rather than leaving the appointment time up to the client, provide them with two available time slots and ask them to choose the one that works best. Not only does this save time and leave your team in control of the schedule, but it also makes things simpler and more straightforward for the client.
Ex: “We have openings at 11am and 2:30pm. Which would you prefer?”
Obviously, there may be times when neither option works for them, but for the majority of callers, this strategy will work just fine. For those that it doesn’t, continue offering two options until a decision is made.
There will inevitably be times when your front desk becomes overwhelmed, either with in-person visitors, incoming calls or both. Give them some much-needed support by enlisting the services of a service like UPbook Concierge.
This will enable your staff to optimize their time while also ensuring that no phone calls go unanswered (and no opportunities end up being lost as a result).
Train and coach.
Once you’ve got an efficient call handling system down pat, it’s time to put it into action. Train your front desk team on how to deliver exceptional service without wasting precious time. Then, identify the “rock stars” who have mastered the process and have them coach their peers.
And don’t forget ongoing feedback. Encourage your front-line staff to share their input and make suggestions on possible improvements, implementing wherever it makes sense to do so.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the phone is supposed to be a business tool, not a source of delays and inefficiencies. By implementing the above tips, your team will become infinitely more productive and your clients will appreciate having their needs met in a prompt, professional manner.