Telephone étiquette

Telephone étiquette 

Whether you are working in the food business to health care, telephone etiquette is a quality that is not only important, but crucial in providing excellent customer service. Going back to first impressions, a telephone call is often the first impression that patients get with a healthcare team. That being said, it is very important to be sure this experience is a great one! There are countless things you can do to make this happen, these are some that really help me provide the best service I can:

1. Smile and be cheerful! Being that the caller cannot see you, they are relying completely on your tone of voice and word choice – you want to be sure you are doing everything you can to make it a pleasant experience for them.  Even if you’re having a terribly stressful day, remain professional when working with your patients. Before you answer that seemingly always ringing phone, take a deep breath and smile. Believe it or not, you can tell over the phone if the person you are talking to is smiling and happy! For example, try saying, “Have a great day!” with a straight face. Now, say it while smiling.. It changes your entire tone of voice doesn’t it? 

2. Be reassuring! You are working in between patients and their healthcare providers, it is important that they feel comfortable confiding in you and trusting that you will handle their situation with professionalism and accuracy in a timely manner. For example, when a patient calls upset needing to speak with their healthcare provider, they aren’t always available. This is your opportunity to ask what is going on and lend a listening, comforting ear. Word choice is key to this. “She is not available at this moment, I will ask her to give you a call back as soon as she possibly can. Is there anything I can help with in the meantime?” This gives the patient an opportunity to open up to you and gain trust that you truly care about their situation and will do anything you possibly can to help them.

3. Be personable. Silence over the telephone can be as harmful as a rude employee. It is very important that you keep the conversation going and there are not moments where the caller is wondering if you are still connected. For example, if you are looking up a patient record on the computer and your computer is going slow, it’s as simple as letting the patient know. This reassures them that you are working on their request and not wasting any time. Another key part to this is to use the patients name throughout your conversation and ask how they are doing if you are waiting for the information you need. Using a patients name makes them feel good about your relationship with them and goes hand in hand to reassuring them that they can trust you. 

Being in the healthcare field it can not be stressed enough how important it is to remain professional, flexible and empathetic to your patients, over the telephone or in person. Expect the unexpected and remember to stay patient. Being confident when talking with a patient is the first step to providing excellent customer service. So remember: smile, reassure, and be personable. These are just three little things that can make up a HUGE part of your business’ success. 

Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants

August 17th, 2015

Posted In: General

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