If you tested client opinion, many would say that it was ‘difficult’ to get hold of you. And you would probably reply, well I’m busy…
For practitioners who have staff, and particularly, a person who answers incoming calls, the way in which these calls are taken will endear or may antagonise client callers.
For example, does your gatekeeper:
- Take a message, ask for call-back number, and explain when a response will be made?
Or preferably, try to find out what a client caller’s problem is and offer to direct their call to an alternative member of staff who is available to assist.
And if non-clients call:
- Direct callers to email their enquiry to the practice enquiries@ or info@ email address.
Once the caller enquiry passes from the gatekeeper then it is the responsibility of the call-back person to ensure that calls are made in a timely manner. Electronic communication by its nature is quick. We are all used to instant responses to our needs.
There are two basic goals that your practice should aim for:
- Make sure that client enquiries, especially those that are presented as problematic, are met by the firm as quickly as possible, and.
- Don’t assume that all cold callers are going to be a waste of time. Otherwise, your firm may miss out on an offer of value to your practice.
Balancing client needs with resources to manage them is a continual juggling act. Most practices are either under or over resourced to cope with demand.
But getting it right is worth the effort as it is one of the key issues that will cement goodwill between your practice, your clients and prospects, and your suppliers.
Make sure your gatekeeper represents your practice by welcoming callers such that they are always willing to pick up the phone when they have an issue to discuss with you. Maybe then, clients would be more inclined to say that it is generally easy to get hold of you when the need arises.