Virtual receptionists: what to ask and what to know

Whether you are just starting out in private practice, you work mainly remotely or provide predominantly offsite services, finding a solution to your growing business that is scaleable is becoming increasingly important. Having available reception that means your clients will have support all day everyday is a huge plus and can have some great upsides. Here’s a few tips to help avoid potential downside to engaging a virtual receptionist and some key questions we think will help you get the best possible solution.

  1. During what hours will calls be answered? It’s important to have a clear arrangement on this so that you understand and can communicate to your customers when customer service and support will be available to them.
  2. What experience do you have with my practice management software? It’s obviously something that people are capable of being trained on but don’t underestimate the importance of previous experience with practice management software. There’s always a learning curve involved with new software and having someone thats already up to speed will reduce training time and mistakes.
  3. How do you handle questions around practitioner experience and services provided? Whoever answers your phone is an integral part of and the first contact point of your business. Consider that any admin staff whether they work for you or an external agency will need to answer basic questions about you, your staff and the types of patients you treat. It will be impossible for these questions to be pushed aside or left unanswered.
  4. What kind of training will I need to provide? The commitment from you to hiring a virtual receptionist extends well beyond the dollar value associated with the service. Keep in mind you may spend a lot of your spare time training these staff in the beginning and as you have no control over their staffing schedules and turnover you may be doing this frequently if you don’t choose the right company.
  5. Will I have one or multiple receptionists handling my clinics work? This is were communication and transparency with the agency become more important. Ensure you understand fully how the company operates with their staff and what schedules look like and how leave is covered. You may have a day where the person answering your phone knows nothing about you or your business.
  6. Plan the work and time tasks – We cant stress enough! know how long each task takes and how long a full days worth of tasks (further to incoming calls) will take. It’s important to make the virtual receptionist accountable.
  7. Ensure you have systems that work and are easily followed – You’ll need to figure this out as a first step. They are not there to fix whatever isn’t working in your current admin systems. You’ll need to work out all systems and provide clear instructions to follow as the person handling your account may well be working across numerous clinics.
  8. Organise regular catch ups – Communication helps break down barriers. The more you can speak to the person/s handling your account the less likely there will be road blocks to them completing the tasks you have assigned them.



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