Continuity of care is one of the main concerns of physicians especially when their patient is already out of the medical facility, the reason why most doctors are still in contact with their clients to follow through their condition and even schedule home visits when necessary. As a result, physicians nowadays consider hiring a medical virtual assistant to help them with some of their administrative and customer service duties.

Appointment setting is one of the most important tasks that can be efficiently and effectively performed by medical virtual assistants. If I were the patient, I’d surely want to be informed ahead of time should my doctor need to visit me at home or need me to go to his clinic. But do I expect my doctor to do this for me all the time? Probably not.

For medical virtual assistants, phone etiquette and a smooth call flow are two of the most important skills to master in setting appointments. A background of the medical field can be a bonus, but if not — it can definitely be learned. Below are some tips that might help in improving your appointment setting skills:

1. Prepare for the call. Preparation is your key to taking control of the call, not that you have to overpower the person on the other line but it is important to make an efficient call. You should know what you need to get out of the conversation and deliver the message accurately. It pays to review your notes and the calendar before placing the call. As Raymond Berry would say, “The most prepared are the most dedicated.”

2. Smile 🙂  When you talk to clients on the phone, talk as if you are talking to a friend in person. A smile is a powerful nonverbal way of communicating to your recipient your professionalism and care for them.

3. Use the FEEL, FELT, FOUND method. One best strategy to use when handling appointment objections is the “feel, felt, found method”. Let the client know that you acknowledge their objection by saying, “I understand how you feel. Most of our clients nowadays felt the same way. But after knowing a little background about their condition, they found out that…” This should help ease out the tension and pacify their feelings.

4. Educate the client about the appointment. It is to be expected that most of the clients that you call to set appointments with are busy. So having a short but concise script can help in letting your client know that you’re not taking so much of their time on the phone. Let them know how long the appointment will be, explain who you are and why you are calling. Introducing yourself and your intention properly will help make your client comfortable in talking to you on the phone. This will surely help in making them say “yes” to your offer.

Physicians treat their clients as their “customers” and try to give them the best treatment and care that they deserve. And as a medical virtual assistant, becoming the best in what you do as the doctor’s right hand contributes to their success. Appointment setting is not just a simple job. It is about selling an appointment. It is about convincing your clients’ “customers” to set aside some work and spend their valuable time with your business.
It helps to remember that these are only basic guidelines to help you become an effective appointment setter. Your sincerity to help others and a dose of sensitivity and warmth will surely pave your way to becoming a topnotch medical appointment setter.

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