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Aug 11

Written by: Larry Huppin, DPM
8/11/2011 9:48 AM

 As part of my job with ProLab, I spend a lot of time calling ProLab clients regarding consults for their patients. This means that I spend a lot of time on-hold with podiatrist’s offices around the United States. In the last half-hour I have had three very different on-hold experiences. Although this blog has more to do with practice management than orthotic therapy, I think it is important to mention.

On my first call, the phone at the podiatrist’s office was answered very quickly and then I was put on hold to wait for the doctor. He had on-hold music playing and although the doctor took a couple of minutes to get to the phone, the receptionist did come back on and let me know that he would be right there about halfway through my wait. To me, it did not seem I had spent much time on the phone.

On the second call, I was put on hold and then there was silence. There was no on-hold messaging or on-hold music. I was on hold for two or three minutes and at one point I had to check my phone to make sure that I was still connected. Although the time spent on-hold was about the samem it seemed much longer because of the silence.

On the third call, the doctor had a very nice custom-made on-hold message. Actually, I learned much about his practice while I was waiting. This time, however, I was on-hold for just over five minutes. This is certainly too long to be kept waiting without someone asking whether I wished to continue to hold, but the messaging certainly made it seem like a shorter wait.

Whenever I spend an excessive time on-hold, I try and let our client know. I don’t mind the wait myself as I’m usually working on these blogs while I wait. If I am waiting, then patients are also being kept waiting,  and those are patients our clients may lose.

I think it is rare that we as practitioners know how long our patients spend waiting on the phone, and I think it is worthwhile for everybody to do some secret shopping by having a friend or family member call in and see how long they wait. In addition, it is worthwhile to get custom on-hold messaging made for your office. We had it made for our clinic about five years ago and I think it was an excellent $400 investment. Anytime that a patient does spend on-hold, they are learning about our clinic. I’ve read studies that show that time spent listening to a message seems much shorter to the party that is waiting, than time spent in silence or time spent listening to music.

I think they are about to pick up the phone………...


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