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Don’t put your good customer service on hold

By Mark Williamson, CEO at PHMG  bio

Good customer service isn’t just limited to providing first-class medical care.

From the moment a patient first comes into contact with your company, a high level of service should be at the forefront of your responsibilities. Good manners, a friendly attitude, and going above and beyond all help make your patients feel appreciated and sets your clinic apart from the rest, helping to boost profitability for your business.

This is especially relevant for those who work on the front desk. Medical receptionists are the face of the business and are major contributors to the patient experience, with the way they handle patients a determining factor in customer satisfaction.

For front desk staff, empathy is key. A patient’s visit to the doctor’s office might not be a positive or pleasant experience so it is up to receptionists to make visitors feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

Yet it’s not just face-to-face interactions that should be considered. The first dealings a patient has with a clinic is over the phone when they call to make an appointment so if the experience isn’t up to scratch, it could result in lost custom.

Employees should be trained in how best to handle the call in the best possible manner, improving telephone behavior and getting rid of bad habits before they impact on your bottom line.

Medical offices can also look to audio branding to help boost service levels.

A waiting game

Making a doctor’s appointment can sometimes be a laborious process for patients. If your practice is a busy one, phone lines may be busy with callers vying for the same timeslot and the wait before speaking to a receptionist can be lengthy.

Similarly, patients may also call to enquire about test results which aren’t readily available, so they have to be put on hold while the receptionist accesses the computer system.

During this time, it is important to keep callers entertained. Without engagement, patients can end up feeling irritated and frustrated, causing them to take their business elsewhere.

However, waiting times needn’t have to end in lost business. Rather, by taking into consideration what the customer hears when they ring the business, the situation can be flipped to create a positive experience and first-class service.

One effective way of doing this is by using on-hold marketing, a brand-congruent voice and music solution.

Replace the space

On-hold marketing messages extend far beyond a simple request to continue holding, instead communicating key information directly to a captive audience by replacing the wasted blank space created by hold time.

The voice and music used in on-hold messages is designed to reflect specific company values, using elements such as the age of the voice and tempo of the music to influence customer behavior and shape perceptions of the brand.

If done correctly, the audio will echo the organization’s existing values, complementing the company’s visual branding to help strengthen the brand image through sound. In fact, recent research by PHMG of 1,000 US consumers discovered 67% of respondents believe music is more memorable when used in marketing, making your practice stand out from the rest.

The messages also work as a powerful customer service tool, providing entertainment to prevent caller boredom and decrease the perceived waiting time. What’s more, they have been proven to reduce caller hang-ups by up to 79 percent.

When it comes to the content of the messages, it totally depends on what your medical office wants to achieve. For example, the messages could inform the listener of the practice’s online resources, such as a prescription ordering service or an appointment scheduling system. This not only helps boost the company’s professionalism by displaying a more modern, efficient way of working, but also improve service standards by offering patients a faster, convenient alternative.

Messages could also be used to advertise a doctor’s accreditations or practice awards, providing patients with the reassurance that they are in safe hands and receiving the best possible care.

What’s more, the messages could offer advice on seasonal ailments, such as the flu in winter or sunburn in summer, promoting the knowledgeability of the clinic and conveying a stronger business image.


For medical offices, having callers wait on the phone is often unavoidable but this doesn’t mean they should be subjected to an infuriating experience.

Mark Williamson is CEO of PHMG, a world-leading, award-winning audio branding agency with more than 32,000 clients in 39 countries.

Mark has been with the company since 2004, working with clients across the globe to develop their unique sound strategy. Originally Sales and Marketing Director in the UK, he draws on 20 years of experience to advice businesses in every sector on the best way to incorporate audio into their wider marketing strategy – ensuring companies sound every bit as good as they look through music composition, voice artistry and creative scriptwriting.

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