3 ways to rethink the job of your client service representative and reduce their time spent on the phone

Posted by Mark Olcott, DVM on Mar 28, 2017 10:47:46 AM

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In last week’s blog we brought up a question, “The solution isn’t better phone skills for your front desk team, it’s more that you should completely rethink the job of your client service representatives (CSRs). How can you help them handle 75% fewer phone calls every day?”

Well, how can you? We’ve put together three ways you should be rethinking your CSRs role as well as three ways you can help them handle 75% fewer phone calls each day.

1. You want your CSRs spending more time with the clients who are visiting your practice, not those who haven’t even made it in the door yet.

This is important and oftentimes overlooked. Just because you got them through the door doesn’t mean they’re going to return. These days people expect excellent service and your CSRs happen to be who greets your clients when they first walk in and who checks them out before they leave. And as you may very well know, the first and last impressions are the ones that count the most.

2. Excellent service doesn’t just come from saying hello and goodbye to clients - it involves the entire process.  Was your CSR too busy faxing records to check your clients in on time? Did they have to wait because you’re running a bit behind? It’s their job to always know what is going on and to make sure your clients are being taken care of - even if that means simply expressing that you’re a little busy and it may be another 5 minutes, along with an apology.  Excellent service doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does mean that you’re acknowledging your clients are there and you haven’t forgotten about them.

3. Your CSRs help frame the “wantedness” at your practice. There is a new terminology out there defined by an agency called Wunderman that is defined as “a degree of which a brand/company/practice proves their commitment to earning a customer/client’s business across every touch point and throughout the entire path to purchase.”  This essentially is saying that instead of focusing on developing long-term relationships with clients, you should be focused on exceeding a client’s expectation every day. The way I view it is that you need to be focused on the short term goal, the experience that is going on that very day and not worrying about next month. Overall, if they have a good experience every time they come in, they’ll continue to return.

So how can you help them get off the phone and deliver excellent customer service? How can you achieve high “wantedness” with your clients? There are three things your CSRs happens to be doing the most over the phone:

  1. Taking appointment requests and refill requests
  2. Giving updates to pets who are in surgery or coming out of surgery
  3. Taking record requests and having to fax them

How can you resolve this demand to speak on the phone? It’s simple:

1. Adopt a mobile app for booking appointments and refills.

This alone will resolve two issues. Your front desk staff isn’t having to stop what they’re doing and book an appointment or refill, and it’s also allowing your client to book an appointment or request a refill at anytime they may remember or be available. Instead of spending 20 minutes on the phone over their lunch break, they can book the appointment after they get home and the kids go to bed.

2. Provide a text and picture message after surgery for updates.

Nothing can case the worry of a pet parent when their fur child is having surgery - except maybe a little reassurance and a photo afterwards to let them know that things went well and they’ll be ready to go home at the end of the day.  Plus, it relieves that waiting over the phone when the front desk staff has to check in with the doctor or the notes to find out the status of how a pet is doing.

3. Stop faxing medical records and allow your clients to share through a mobile app.

Give your clients something of value and ease phone calls for record requests at the same time by providing access to pet medical records through a mobile app. You’re not only giving your clients something they feel is valuable, but you could also be saving one of your client’s lives in case of an emergency.  And as a bonus, your front desk staff can finally break up with the old fax machine and focus on giving clients in the practice a better experience.

Topics: Grow Your Veterinary Practice, For Practice Managers