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Telephone Etiquette

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Does your receptionist have excellent telephone etiquette?  It is important for your medical office staff to consistently offer a polite, consistent phone manner. When a patient calls in, the way in which the front desk personnel handle the telephone call determines how your facility is perceived.  Here are a few basic tips you can offer your medical office staff to improve telephone etiquette.

1. Be an active listener

  • Focus on the speaker
  • Act interested
  • Try not to interrupt
  • Be aware of your non-verbal communications
  • Avoid talking to anyone else
  • Keep your mind on the issue being discussed

2. Have good phone manners

  • Answer quickly, at least by the third ring
  • Answer with your name and a friendly greeting
  • Smile, the caller can hear your smile through the phone
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Never chew food, gum or drink anything while on the phone
  • Ask permission before placing a caller on hold

3. Maintain Confidentiality

  • Be cautious about the information given over the phone
  • Ask the patient to give their social security number to identify themselves
  • Keep in mind that other patients may be able to hear your conversation
  • If the caller is not the patient, never discuss personal information without permission

4. Things to Consider

  • Always thank them for calling
  • Never hang up first
  • When taking messages, get as much information as possible
  • Stay calm and polite, even when a patient is rude to you
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