I could use help on "phone handling", medical if possible

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gerry35 in Ames, Iowa

62 months ago

I just got a temp job in an upscale surgical hospital that I really need to convert to a permanent position. Unfortunately, the first few calls I took last week I sort of bombed! I know I will make mistakes in my first few days, not knowing how to answer the questions, not knowing where to transfer the calls, etc., but I really would love to handle them more gracefully. Especially if the answers I give the callers disappoint them or if my mistakes make the callers frustrated. Basically, I could really use some good advice on graceful "recovery" or diffusing potentially volatile situations.

Basically, no matter how I screw up, I still want the caller to leave the call feeling satisfied that I was trying to be as helpful as possible despite my shortcomings!

Anybody have some good tips in this regard?

Or! Have you trained a receptionist/switchboard operator before and do you have any tips for getting through the first few days of phone work?

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62 months ago

Well, I would suggest that you always smile and sound pleasant - it goes a long way. State your name, the name of the facility and ask how you can assist them.Have front desk personnel ask for and record the following information when the patient calls: patient name, patient’s relationship to caller, the best number to return the call, the patient’s pharmacy number (they were probably prepared with this information when they called the practice but may not have it handy when someone returns the call); and a brief description of the problem. refer to www.ehow.com/medical office procedures

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SerenityNow in Aliso Viejo, California

62 months ago

Congrats on the new job! I think it is great that you are making such an effort to do well. I don't have any tips on routing calls, but I work in quality and have a few tips on phone etiquette.

The key thing (especially when you are saying something the caller doesn't want to hear) is to express empathy and to make them feel you are really listening.

"I understand this is frustrating but unfortunately...." (Just be careful not to place any blame on your employer with whatever comes next.)
"Let me make sure I understand what you're asking..." (Then paraphrase back to them what you've heard.)

When someone asks a question, a great response is always "I can help you with that."

When you close a call, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" is a great way to leave them feeling satisfied.

Always try to let the caller know what you're doing. If you are going to put them on hold, give them an idea of how long they'll be waiting. If you have to be silent for a few moments to look something up, let them know that.

If your office doesn't have a script, you might want to come up with a little something for yourself. "Thank you for calling Acme, this is Jackie, how can I help you today?"

Good luck!

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elizabethresumecpr in Ann Arbor, Michigan

62 months ago

Congratulations on your new job, Gerry, and on your courage in posting this acknowledgement that you need help. Serenity has given you some great advice.

I’d like to offer a few other tips if I may. The most powerful words in the world are people’s own names. I always make it a point to immediately jot down the name of any person who calls me so I can address the person by name. Of course I’ll always call the person “Mr.” or “Ms.” with surname. I try to avoid calling people “ma’am” or “sir” since this can sound impersonal and can even offend (women in particular).

Secondly, you’ve said you want to turn this position into a full-time assignment. Have you been able to identify a mentor or a more experienced colleague you might approach to assist you? Have you approached a supervisor and made it clear you wish not only to succeed personally but to be a part of the organization’s success? Your approach might sound something like this: “I know I’m representing ABC Hospital on the front-line and I know how important it is that I give the best service possible. Can you recommend any training manuals or other materials I could study on my own time so that I can make the best contribution to our team? Is there a more experienced team member you think would make a great role model for me?” This way you’ve demonstrated your understanding of the importance of team work, your willingness to learn, your respect for your supervisor’s opinion, and your value to the organization long-term.

Best wishes.

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Bluetea in Texas

62 months ago

Elizabeth Resume CPR in Ann Arbor, Michigan said:
I try to avoid calling people “ma’am” or “sir” since this can sound impersonal and can even offend (women in particular).Best wishes.

This is a regional thing. Here "Ma,am" and "Sir" is still used. I never heard this on the West Coast.

Having worked in a call center and gone through their training, you want to make sure you have the whole story. Some people will explain things in a "dripping faucet" method and you end up having to solve too many problems or conflicting ones. This is frustrating for everybody.

Second, do write the questions down for research later. At some point, they become more familiar as will your answers and speed.

Third, vocabulary. The minute you hear an unfamiliar term, write it down and research it later. This is really the key.

Fourth, suggest a solution before you do it. They need to agree before you take further steps.

Fifth. Suggest two solutions, both of which are acceptable to you. "Would you like me to return your call or would you care to hold?"

Sixth, we were told that about 20% of all people have some form of mental illness and not to be offended when they go off on you. This is the hard part.

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