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A recent study conducted by Accenture found that while most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor’s appointment and check lab results online, 85% of us also still want the option of be able to talk to our physician. Patients understand the value of a having a relationship with a knowledgeable physician or similar health care provider. Patients’ perceptions of the quality of the healthcare they received are highly dependent on the quality of their interactions with their healthcare clinician and team. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of mental and behavioral health where trust is a critical component of effective treatment.
Basic counseling skills such as establish rapport, empathy, genuineness, positive regard, staying on task, professionalism are one part of effective customer service in the mental and behavioral health field. But even in cases in which the therapist has no more than a brief telephone contact, the behavior toward the client will be remembered and can lead to repeat visit and future referrals. Typically, it can be very emotionally difficult for clients to make an initial therapy appointment. They want to talk with a live, friendly, knowledgeable person who can effectively answer any questions and make a timely appointment. Voice mail and vague answering services are among the biggest reasons potential clients phone another clinic rather than wait for a callback.
As a behavioral and mental health service provider consider investing in technologies that make a live person available to your current and potential patients. Two technologies that make it easier for behavioral and mental health service provider to ensure that their patients and clients can always reach them are toll free calling and VoIP phone numbers.
A toll free number is a special telephone number that is free for the calling party. Rather than charging the caller, toll free calling allows the telephone carrier to charge the called party for the cost of the call. Toll-free numbers are identified by a service access code such as “800” that can vary by country. As a health care provider, your business identity is represented by your brand and having a toll-free number associated with your brand can help new businesses build its brand and present itself in a professional manner. Communicating a professional and trustworthy presentation is a particularly important element of a mental and behavioral health provider because the profession of medicine and healthcare is built entirely on trust.
A virtual phone number is a telephone number used to route calls to the user’s actual phone number or numbers. Virtual phone numbers are often used to enable long distance service without incurring long distance charges. A virtual phone number makes it possible for someone within a specified area code call an IP telephony user in another area code as if it were a local call. Toll-free numbers and virtual numbers have several advantages including low price, additional information collection, stability, voice quality, and most importantly, making it easy for patients to contact you with their healthcare needs.
Although mobile phones offer some mobility, a VoIP phone allows you and your employees to take the office line with you when you travel, to place and receive calls as if you were sitting at your desk. In addition to telephone service, virtual numbers offer advanced cloud-based communication features including routing phone calls and answering rules that control inbound calls as your schedule changes. Virtual number service providers can also offer an auto receptionist who will automatically ask you for the extension you require or forward your call to a number designated by you. These features allow your mental and behavioral health service to have live people available for your clients.
Clients expect mental and behavioral health services to have a higher standard of customer service than other businesses. If they do not reach someone immediately or do not receive an immediate response, they may never call again. Toll-free and VoIP numbers can go a long way in improving your customer service and help retain current clients and grow your business.
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