Every day, healthcare clinics lose out on opportunities to connect with existing and new patients – and therefore revenue – by simply not being available to answer the phone every time it rings.
Every missed call can result in missed new patients, dissatisfied existing patients, and ultimately lost revenue. Tim Morris is the MD of inbound comms specialist, Cymphony. In this article, he explains the cost of missing a call for clinics, how to solve the problem and ultimately maximise income for the business.
The cost of missing a call
In the grand scheme of things, occasionally missing a call might not seem like a big deal, but do you know its financial impact on your clinic? According to a BT survey, the cost of missing a call for the average business in the UK is £1,200. While this number will vary depending on your services, can anyone afford to lose out on that kind of money during this economic uncertainty? Not answering the phone does not always mean you miss out on a one-time payment either. You could also be missing out on repeat business, so if you operate in an industry where word of mouth and regular customers are key, you must field all incoming calls to ensure you capture them all.
When you share contact details with patients, it indicates that they can reach you at any time. So, when you miss their call, it reflects poorly on your clinic and might result in them finding a new practitioner. If a patient gets no response at all, they will likely find an online forum like Google Reviews to criticise your company, which will discourage others from doing business with you in the future. This is not a situation any clinic wants to find itself in.
How to fix your missed call problems
Seeing as phone calls are opportunities for your business, the worst part about missing a call is that you might not even be aware you have an issue. Although you may take many calls and have a steady, healthy revenue each day, you may be missing further opportunities by leaving calls unanswered. To find a solution to this problem, it is worth understanding the common causes of your missed calls. There are many reasons clinics will miss calls. For example, you may be unable to answer calls throughout the day when you or your employees are having to focus on serving patients without disruptions or general admin for the business. Another reason could be that your clients want access to your business 24/7 to book or re-schedule appointments instead of the increasingly outdated 9am to 5pm window. Or, you may have someone in reception who can only answer one call at a time, meaning calls are ultimately lost when talking to another patient.
One way to overcome these challenges is to hire new staff to alleviate these issues, but this can be an expensive solution. When hiring someone full-time, you are not just paying a wage. You are also paying to set them up on your systems and spending a lot of time upskilling them to ensure they are familiar with the business and comfortable handling the call volume, which is often too much to ask for independent practitioners or small clinics.
Taking advantage of tech is another way your clinic can significantly reduce the instances of those missed opportunities. For example, a voicemail assistant can improve your customer service by helping you stay on top of your voice messages and the many time-consuming tasks associated with running your clinic. However, this does come with a downside as people – especially Gen Z – will not leave a voicemail anymore and will instead take their business elsewhere. You could also try call forwarding. This will automatically send a phone call from an unanswered, idle desk phone to your mobile. However, this is not ideal if you are with patients or want to switch off after work.
Have you considered outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a great alternative to ensure your clinic never misses a call. By hiring a team of inbound communication specialists who can answer multiple calls, you can leave client communications to experts with the time, resources and training to handle conversations and queries effortlessly. And the best part is you only pay for what you use – down to the second in the case of Cymphony. As mentioned above, there are substantial cost implications to bringing in a full-time employee. Outsourcing eliminates these issues by allowing you access to an extensively trained and dedicated team of professionals who will answer your calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Plus, you will no longer have sicknesses or holiday cover to deal with!