Category Archives: Medical

How Do Patients On Hold Messages Work For My Orthopaedic / Spinal Practice?

By the time a phone call is placed to an Orthopaedic practice, or other practice that deals with spinal injuries, it’s pretty likely a serious injury has occurred…or at least…the caller or someone close to the caller is experiencing some amount of pain due to an injury or accident. Chances are they’ve already dealt with a primary care practice and possibly several layers of bureaucracy related to insurance, referrals, imaging studies and possibly a whole lot more. So when they reach your office, you want to make sure they have the very best possible experience, right from the beginning. That starts when you answer the phone…and continues when you put then On Hold.

Any successful practice is always going to have more patients than providers, more calls than staff to answer them. So calls placed On Hold is a fact of life, not an option. A customized Patients On Hold program of medical on hold messages lets those callers know that you care about them, you appreciate their patience, that they haven’t been forgotten about or hung up on, and gives you the opportunity to share the experience and expertise your practice can bring to their particular situation.

We know how to combine the music and messages to create an effective Patients On Hold program that occupies the caller’s attention and distracts them from thinking about the amount of time they spend holding. They’ll actually think their Hold time is shorter when they’re presented with medical on hold messages that are of use and value to them, and how you can contribute to their recovery from whatever injury or accident has caused them to need orthopaedic or spinal medical services. This is far and away more desirable than silence On Hold, those annoying beep tones, or a radio station that someone in your office might like but your callers don’t.

So What Do I Say?

When a caller hears content On Hold – at a doctor’s office, car dealership, retail store, restaurant or any other business – a little voice goes off in the back of their head that says “Why do I care?” For a period that might range from a few seconds to as long as a few minutes, you have a captive audience that wants to know how you’re going to help them, or the family member they have called on behalf of. So get right to the point: Here’s what we have…here’s what we do that treats injuries, relieves pain, promotes recovery. The content of the messages is the key to engagement and to distracting them from the fact that they’re waiting On Hold. Examples might include:

1.       The number of doctors on your team and their experience. Detailed bios aren’t necessary…                       just enough information to reassure the caller your practice is staffed with seasoned veterans                who’ve been around the block.

2.       Review of any specialty practice areas – injuries of the shoulder, the hand, the ankle, etc.

3.       In-Office services provided such as X-Ray, MRI or other imaging, Physical Therapy services, etc.

4.       General medical advice on how to care for an injury between the time it occurred and the first                     appointment (elevation, ice therapy, heat therapy, etc.)

5.       Alternatives to surgery

6.       Pain management

7.       Follow-up visits

8.       Office hours, insurance information, appointment cancellation policies

9.       Reference to your web site for additional practice details

10.     Office location or locations

The right content shifts the patient’s attention away from the wait time and toward the benefits of your practice…and in every case the focus is on a pain-free experience.

What kind of music will my Patients On Hold program have?

Our production library is rich with a wide variety of musical styles, genres and tempos, and we have a long and excellent track record of matching up the right music to the tone of your script and the professional image of your practice. It’s always important to remember that the medical on hold messages are the stars in your program…the music is just the glue that holds them together. If a caller comes away from your Patients On Hold program humming the tune of your music, but doesn’t remember the content of your messages, we’ve failed. That’s why our music options are decidedly background in nature. We’re not going to lull anyone to sleep, we’re just going to provide them with a calming, professional, assuring background that reinforces your practice as a reliable office to bring the furry members of the caller’s family.

How often will my Patients On Hold program change?

In some parts of the country, orthopaedic practices really do see a noticeable change in kinds of issues they treat as the seasons change from spring to summer to fall to winter. If that’s your practice, then updating quarterly makes sense. Chances are, however, that one update for the warm weather months, say in March, April or May, and other for the cold weather months, say in September, October or November, will suffice. We’ll help you determine that when we talk on the phone. And we’ll keep you updated with the right seasonal information at the right time, regardless of how often you want / need your program to be updated.

How does my Patients On Hold program play into my telephone system?

Telephone system types vary more widely than ever before…and how you play your medical on hold messages to your callers is dependent on the phone system’s capabilities.  Many telephone systems have an audio input jack to accept audio from an external audio source.  VoIP or Hosted telephone systems usually require an audio file.  Yet there are variations to every rule so asking your telephone dealer or your on hold provider is the best way to find out what your telephone system can do.

For more information, just call at 800-342-0098 during business hours and we’ll answer the phone…and your questions or visit our Patients On Hold page: www.patientsonhold.com.

Brian Illes

About Brian

veterinary hold messages and music

Brian Illes – VP/Operations

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. Our Patient On Hold service is helping orthopaedic and other medical practices reduce patient hang-ups and frustration, and reminds callers about the many services you offer to help them return to normal functionality after an accident or injury.

 

 

 

On Hold Messaging Strategies for Physicians and Dentists

On Hold Messages for Patients.

It can be hard for any business to maintain constant contact with patients, so some organizations began to invest in marketing automation systems. However, without extensive research on the program’s capabilities, many business owners used thousands of dollars from their marketing budgets for something they may not have entirely understand, Venture Beat contributor Ian Cleary explained.

“Moving to a marketing automation tool is painful and expensive,” Cleary wrote. “You will have to migrate data, get your staff trained, build your processes, set up integration with other software (e.g. CRM systems) and take on the substantial risk that, from the wide range of vendors to choose from, you’ve picked the wrong tool.”

Those who have fallen for the marketing automation trap believe that if the information is posted on the internet that they’ll generate high-quality leads, but this is far from the truth. Fact is, patients still value communicating with human beings.

Marketing To Your Patients While They’re On Hold

Marketing automation takes the person out of the equation entirely, which could ultimately damage the relationships a dentist or physician has spent years to nurturing beforehand.

On hold messaging, on the other hand, is a marketing strategy that still allows patients to talk with staff members, but with a little buffer in between. As they wait to talk to a receptionist on an upcoming appointment, the caller can listen to the hold message that could be relevant to their specific situation.

The Power of Music & Marketing

In some cases, the on hold message could have given them the information they need, which enables to ask more specific questions on their primary concerns. Sometimes patients may not fully understand their situation, so these messages can be extremely helpful. Especially if they’re feeling distressed about a diagnosis they may have read on the internet.

Despite the appeal of marketing automation systems, on hold messaging helps reestablish a human factor that continually gets left out more often due to the rise of technology, Advertising Age explained.

“Sales and marketing must not forget that humans impact the bottom line, not just an automated process,” Advertising Age contributor Lewis Miller added.

In the 21st century, there is a lot of evidence that proves that patients have no problem talking with others on the phone. Working with an OHMA on hold solutions provider can dentists and physicians get the most relevant and effective on hold messaging platform.

Las Vegas hospital’s on hold messaging saves a life

How effective is your on hold messaging? If you’ve read this blog, you know that it should be engaging, entertaining and educational — providing valuable information to your callers as they wait on hold to speak with a live person. In at least one hospital’s case, its on hold messaging meant so much more to one caller: it saved his life.

Fred Bedient, a retired police officer originally from Detroit, knows the value of his own life, having been in several dangerous situations during his 31 years patrolling the motor city in the 60s, 70s and 80s. But it was during his seemingly less-dangerous second career — security and communications director of the Valley Health System in Las Vegas — when his life was seriously put into jeopardy. In fact, he recalls that he probably would have died if it wasn’t for the on hold messages at the Valley Health System.

Three years ago, Bedient was suffering from a toothache and felt substantial jaw pain, so he went to the dentist. Assuming that was the end of it, he went about his business, continuing to work at the medical facility. That’s when the jaw pain came back and didn’t go away. In fact, it became increasingly worse, so he called the hospital he was working at, but was put on hold. The hospital’s on hold messaging at the time was about heart attacks and it used its message to detail potential signs of having a heart attack, particularly those that aren’t well known to the general public. Tooth pain is one of those signs, and it was then that Bedient knew what was happening.

“That may have been the first time I was put on hold at Valley,” Bedient told the Las Vegas Review Journal in an interview conducted earlier this month “I’m glad I was. I never knew pain in the jaw could be a sign of a heart attack.”

Instead of waiting through silence until he could speak with a physician and then realize what his jaw pain meant, Bedient was able to take care of the situation right away. Today, he is happily and healthily retired, mainly due to his quick thinking and the quality of Valley Health System’s on hold messages.

Medical Office Care Extends to Patients On Hold, Too!

by Rich Moncure

It’s Monday morning and by 8:30 a.m., the phone lines are lit up at the doctor’s office.  The weekend’s ailments, sniffles, and injuries require an appointment to see the doctor. Maybe 100 patients will call before noon.  The problem is, the medical office is staffed with one or two people to manage the call volume.  .  Hopefully, the practice manager has installed some semblance of basic call center software on the phone system.  The call center software should be designed to queue up callers in the order they were received, instruct them to be ‘patient’ until their call can get answered, and then the software places the call into a queue or essentially ‘on hold’.   The software may even offer to the caller an ‘approximate wait time’ though this capability is not highly reliable in small call center environments.

So now, we have patients……on hold, possibly a bit stressed from a health perspective, and they have a phone pressed against their ear.   Hopefully, the practice has taken into consideration this condition.   The practice manager has most certainly considered ways to occupy the patient while they are sitting in  the waiting area, and  at a large cost.  Perhaps there is a flat panel TV screen or two that is featuring a health tip.  Maybe a network news channel is on.  There are flowers, fish tank, magazines, and possibly even an area for children to play.   The chairs are comfy and may have cost $250 each.  The artwork is exceptional.

But let’s get back to that caller that is still in queue or on hold.  What are they experiencing in terms of being occupied?  Is the telephone ‘on hold waiting area’ receiving any attention? Or…..because nobody can visually see it and experiencing it like they would experience walking through their own lobby, does this waiting area look and feel more like an abandoned warehouse?  Doctors and practice managers walk through their own waiting areas every day, but do they call their own practices and experience ‘waiting’ from that perspective?  Typically, they do not.

The good news is that your local medical practice is most likely aware of the condition.   Nearly 80% of all medical practices deploy some sort of audio to the caller on hold.   The choices range from occasional ‘beep-beep’ tones (designed to simply assure the caller they are still connected) up to a professional customized messaging program that  keeps the callers engaged by offering health tips, or featuring new services or capabilities at the practice.     Some of the newer telephone system technologies offer ways to further capitalize on professionally deploying on hold messaging services.

The good news about using an on hold messaging service is that once it is set up and operating, it works around the clock.  It typically needs to be ‘updated’ 2-4 times per year to reflect seasonal variables.  If you are a practice manager, call time-out on a Monday morning and try to ascertain just how many callers are actually on hold, waiting, in a telephone ‘lobby’.  You may be fairly surprised!

Why “Patients On Hold” MUST be of a different delivery.

One might say that every customer has a fear that sometime during their telephone inquiry they won’t be taken care of in a way that meets their expectations. It’s simply a sign of where the lack of customer service by many companies has taken us. Telephone customers fear a number of potentially unpleasant outcomes:

– They’ll never get to speak with a human being
– They won’t be treated respectfully
– A language barrier will make communication difficult
– The product or service they want won’t be available, or affordable, or payment terms won’t be bearable
– They’ll have to navigate an unfriendly auto attendant
– They’ll be left on hold indefinitely, or simply disconnected

Unfortunately, these events are common place and repeatedly support the public’s fear of a less-than-stellar calling experience. However, patients calling their Dentist or Doctor have a real and legitimate fear that their visit will include a something even more fearful than poor customer service…and that is…real pain. It is likely that their upcoming visit will include some pain, the kind that makes you say “ouch” or, maybe even sedation or pain reducing medication.  Even if no serious pain is anticipated, the mere call for the appointment can include some built-in anxiety.

The patient's pre-existing anxiety is precisely why a customized On Hold program for a medical practice requires extra attention by the producer. Compared to programs created for businesses, the message they hear must be more caring, more soothing, more comforting, & more assuring.  This is what makes “Patients On Hold” programs unique.  The script is crafted in such a way that information is presented in the spirit of sharing…not shoving. Your voice talent is directed to deliver the informational messages in an especially low-key, assuring & caring tone.  Music selection is made to create a more soothing environment for those few moments of hold time. The duration and spacing of messages is designed to flow smoothly, but interestingly…as opposed to the jarring and interrupting advertising we often experience.

Today’s Dental or Medical office requires a different, more caring approach their patients' On Hold experience…or they may be creating just another fearful…and painful…customer experience.