Losing Patients? Try the Mystery Call Program

Physician's Money Digest March31 2005
Volume 12
Issue 6

Physicians rely heavily on their hardworking staff members, entrusting the office manager with their livelihood and the continued success of their practice. And that's an awfully big risk to take if you don't know for certain that the whole team knows exactly what they're doing. With a Mystery Call Program, you can ensure your staff is protecting your investment in marketing and building the value of your practice over the long term.

Solve the Case

Mystery calls will tell you how patients are treated when they call to schedule an appointment. They'll also tell you what staffers tell patients about your skills, knowledge, talent, and medical practice. In other words, they'll let you know whether your staff is helping or hindering the practice and its growth and long-term success.


Your mystery caller should call to schedule an appointment and inquire about services and credentials. Detailed notes will later confirm whether your staff correctly describes your credentials and capabilities. Professionalism is important because this is when the patient first forms an impression of your medical practice.

Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, to get accurate information, it's best to have someone outside the practice make the calls. If the receptionist recognizes your voice or a colleague's voice, the call will be handled differently. For each call, create a log that details the following:

- Date and time

- Staff member's name

- How many times the caller was put on hold and how long was their waiting time

- Whether or not the caller was addressed by name

- Whether the staff member tracked the call

- Any valuable information obtained from the call that relates to your practice

The phone call is just the first step. Next, carefully study the data you've collected to determine your staff's strengths and weaknesses. Are the weaknesses likely to be fixed by additional training or by offering incentives for improvement? Do the results imply that you're not communicating your goals effectively to your team? And don't just guess at the answers. Schedule a team meeting to discuss what you've learned and brainstorm ways to improve. Remember to reward the staff for their strengths.

Source: Practice Builders; 800-679-1200; www.practicebuilders.com

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