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The Essential Keys to Phone Scripting and The Avoidable Pitfalls

If you have been reading along, this is the third installment of a blog series we have published regarding the patient experience at your practice and the role that customer service training plays. Here’s where we left off: the customer service audit was recently performed and it’s provided you and your trainers with the status of your representative’s phone skills. This now leads to the call-scripting phase. Developing scripts for your call center is a great way to formally communicate how you would like phone calls and inquiries to be handled at your practice.

When compiling your scripts, your customer service training team should be on hand to assist you for content development. They may have general terms and phrases to contribute. However, most of your content will need to be put together by you and your management team.

A good place to start when penning the scripts is to distinguish between incoming and outgoing calls. The structure and tone of an incoming call differ greatly from that of an outbound call. When your representatives field an inbound call, they have no expectations of what the caller might need. This can make scripting difficult and problematic. Limit scripting to greetings, general call structure (such as confirming appointment information at the end of the call) and the farewell.

Outbound calls, however, can be easily scripted and practiced beforehand as the receptionist will know ahead of time what the call is regarding. Therefore, he/she can run through the call content quickly before dialing. (Be sure to also include scripting for leaving voicemails!)

With scripts in place, practice makes perfect. Although role-playing with staff can seem uncomfortable, it is important that your representatives have the opportunity to practice their scripts prior to an actual call. If they have their phrasing and call structure memorized, it will reduce the likelihood of them sounding uninformed or giving misinformation. Having said that, scripts should be written more like guidelines than line-by-line recitations. Otherwise, your representatives can seem mechanical. Consider writing and practicing, “If the caller says _____, respond to them by saying ______.” Make sure to write out and go through multiple scenarios with them.

However, do not attempt to provide answers for every scenario. Trust your representatives to use their best judgment. You recruited and trained them so you should have enough confidence to allow for free conversation. This also reduces the chance for your office to sound like a big call center with robot-like representatives.

To further ensure that your practice sounds personal instead of robotic, read the scripts out loud for flow. They should sound natural, not forced. Ask yourself, Are there too many acronyms? Do we have any jargon that could be eliminated? If you want to take it a step further, consider personalizing scripts for each of the representatives, allowing them to integrate words that sound most comfortable to them. However, make sure you have the final review. This collaboration will also strengthen the buy-in from your employees and give them a greater sense of value within your practice.

With scripts solidified, create a supplemental cheat sheet for quick reference of all of the office locations, hours, physicians’ names and titles as well as their specialties and the hospitals they have privileges in. This will allow your staff to be able to stick to the script without tripping up or memorizing a lot of detailed information.
Now that you have created the tools your staff needs, prior to execution, they need to be trained in the following:

  • Quick-reference details
  • Phrasing to introduce your practice
  • Correct word choices when describing complex procedures
  • Language skills to keep the interactions positive

While it doesn’t seem like much, there are many nuances that should be spelled out and practiced to ensure that messaging and tone are consistent with every representative across every shift change.

The implementation of a call script is a big step for your practice. As such, your customer service training team should be on hand to ease the transition. If you are still shopping around, be sure to choose a company who not only facilitates your training but also promises to advise and consult you through the entirety of the program. For more information on comprehensive customer service training programs, contact Points Group today.

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