In your home health enterprise, the next step in providing superb service to your patients and to their families is to provide your staff with instant and 100% accurate information after-hours. Of course, it’s always a matter of showing competence and compassion and, to this end, are your incoming after-hours calls being handled with the same care as your business-hours calls?
People talk, and in the world of home healthcare, the worst kind of publicity is negative word-of-mouth from patients, potential patients, and caregivers themselves.
Time moves on and reputations become ingrained.
Are your after-hours calls received by a caring human being at a specialized home healthcare answering service, or are they at the mercy of a lower quality/too-busy service, or even voice mail? Have there been complaints? Be assured that the complaints that reach management are not even one-tenth of the negative experiences endured by callers who don’t take the time to complain.
Measuring the actual damage to your enterprise is near impossible, but know that if there is even just that occasional complaint about call handling after-hours then perhaps a change is in order. But where does one go to find an answering service that is always professional and always compassionate?
In the United States, since the advent of the age-of-Covid, there are only a small group of high quality, specialized home healthcare answering services and that means finding one can be a challenge. Here are a few questions that can be asked of a potential answering service:
- Is the answering service a multinational enterprise? In the last few years there has been massive turmoil within the answering service industry as multitudes of small struggling services have been acquired by large overseas operations. The sheer largeness of these operations contributes to less-than-optimal service quality.
- What is the Customer Reported Error Rate (CRER), or is this statistic even calculated? CRER is a measure of actual service quality reported by callers.
- How long has the answering service been in existence? If it’s a relatively new operation, beware. In this industry, for the start-up, the technical, legal (HIPAA), staffing and operational requirements are beyond mind-boggling.
- Are telephone service representatives drug-tested, not just in applying for the position, but on a regular ongoing basis? The reason this is critically important is self-evident.
- Where is the answering service located? Are there weather, geographic, or social-unrest problems in the region? And this: the highest quality services in the U.S. have 100% off-site operational redundancy. Perhaps 2% of all answering services have this capability.
It’s a big step, switching answering services, but if there have been complaints about the one you use now, then doing the research and making a wise choice will quietly pay unmeasurable dividends far into the future.
Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service headquartered in Bend, Oregon.
Centratel’s Home Health and Hospice Answering Service assists scores of businesses, during and after-hours, throughout the United States. Centratel is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service anywhere.