Friday, August 13, 2010

Manners Matter - On the Telephone

It is very interesting when in speaking to providers about how they and their employees answer their telephone. It appears that many seem to feel that this is really not an issue.

The voice calling in is usually that of a patient or family caregiver who is seeking some type of help. It also may be a physician or a therapist calling in a request for information about one of their patients. Whether the caller is looking to place an order or just to ask a question, they would appreciate knowing to whom they are speaking.

When they dial your number and the phone is answered what they should hear is: “Good morning, Jones Homecare Supplies, Joseph speaking.” It is important that they hear a friendly greeting, the company identified and the name of who picked up the phone. All identified in one sentence.

The telephone is a key business tool and as such it is necessary to minimize as much non-productive time as possible. I realize that many of the patients calling in have been with your company for a long period of time. They have earned a few moments of “how are you, etc.” That said, it is critical to get to the reason they are on the other end of the line as quickly possible.

I recall hearing a speaker at Medtrade discussing “business manners.” When and how to address a customer on the showroom floor, how to answer the telephone correctly and how to communicate via e-mail. I suggest that at one of your staff meetings you open up this topic and insist all your employees know how important telephone manners are.

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