As patients watch the clock for 8am to appear, health centre receptionists across the UK take a collective deep breath as they anticipate the barrage of calls that will hit them just seconds later.
Monday mornings are undoubtedly the worst with patients, who have been hanging on through the weekend waiting for their first opportunity to book an appointment with their GP, trying to get in first.
But the battle to get through to receptionists is not always about who is quickest on the draw, it can also be about who is willing to be the most patient with some GP surgeries turning themselves into mini call centres to handle these calls.
swcomms has used its 30+ years of expertise working with the health sector to help GP surgeries deal with the early morning rush by creating call centre environments using the staff resources available and the power of modern telephone systems.
Rather than relying on a sole receptionist or small reception team to take all the calls while also trying to greet people and book patients in as they arrive at the surgery, office staff and medical secretaries can be pulled in to form a team to help handle calls at the busiest times.
Once the initial rush is over, staff members can drop out of the call handling team, otherwise known as a contact centre, and work on their other tasks.
Simon Dunstan, one of swcomms senior account managers, said: “Call centres aren’t big rooms somewhere else in the world with hundreds of people in little booths answering calls; call centres are about intelligently distributing telephone calls amongst the available staff to take the calls there and then.”
Staff can log in and out of the call handling team as and when to help take the strain at the busiest times to ensure calls are answered more quickly to relieve stress on both colleagues and patients.
Telephone system suppliers like swcomms have the answers to many of the issues practice managers and GPs have in regards to effectively handling patients’ calls without overloading their reception staff. A telephone system supplier should be regarded as an additional team member that helps health centres achieve their call handling aims.
Please see our infographic on the difference using your telephone system to achieve a call centre approach in your GP surgery could make.