10 reasons your vet practice needs a telephone answering service
Why would you use a telephone answering service for your veterinary practice?
As a vet practice, you are never truly off the clock: animals can and will become unwell or be injured at all hours of day or night. So, what happens at your practice when an owner needs to contact you in the middle of the night? A telephone answering service could be the ideal solution.
We have compiled 10 ways our telephone answering service can help your veterinary practice based on honest feedback from our client base of over 400 vet practices nationwide.
1. Improve your customer service
When your customers call the vet practice, it is often because they are deeply concerned about their animal. This is especially true if they make an out-of-hours call; no one likes to call their vet out of hours unless it’s a real emergency – at least in their mind, it is an emergency.
Customers are likely to be stressed, so having an experienced call-handling team means we can calm customers and provide a supportive and polite service that is sympathetic. This helps customers feel reassured, allowing us to obtain all the relevant information to pass to your veterinary team as required.
Our clients say this helps their customers to feel at ease and has improved their customer service levels. We also ensure that vets get the right information and have a chance to make a plan before speaking directly with the customer. One client referred to this as the ‘’thinking gap’’ which has been invaluable for their team. Customers feel more confident when they speak to the vet, as the vet has had a chance to formulate a plan and prepare for the situation.
A telephone answering service also stops vets from having to answer customer calls while in consultations, which further improves customer service. Nobody likes to feel that their vet is distracted by other calls or patients.
2. Daily reporting for customer billing
We are proud of the systems we have created and how they support our veterinary clients. One of the benefits of working with us is we can provide daily reporting on calls that allows you to ensure that customer billing is actioned swiftly and accurately.
3. Protecting your vet’s work-life balance
Being a successful vet practice relies on having a robust out-of-hours answering process. For years, many small practices have relied on vets being on call with a mobile next to them all night. But this lack of sleep can have a negative effect on vets and create an unstable work–life balance.
Let’s be honest, most vets probably don’t have the best work-life balance, but the stresses of being a vet can take a significant toll on a person, with many vets commenting on experiencing issues around work-life balance, exhaustion and work stress.
Having a telephone answering service can help reduce the impact of out-of-hours calls on vets, which can improve their work-life balance and reduce their stress levels. Using our service means our clients no longer need to use a shared out-of-hours mobile or have a member of the veterinary team based at the practice out of hours to cover calls.
Instead, our team is provided with clear procedures from our clients on how to contact a vet out of hours. This can be done by call or text, as you prefer, which helps ensure the vet has the correct information on hand and gives them a chance to get going in the middle of the night.
4. Never miss a call from your customers
When customers are calling you out of hours, they are likely to be worried and may become very stressed if calls are not answered in a timely manner. As a veterinary practice, a customer not being able to get through could have a hugely detrimental impact, not only on your customer service but also on the animal’s welfare. By having a telephone answering service, you can ensure a call is never missed.
As well as an out-of-hours service, we can provide a call overflow service for busy periods to ensure every call is answered. We answer all calls quickly, within 6 seconds on average, and with a personalised response acting as your practice, so your customers never need to know your calls are outsourced.
5. A telephone answering service can filter unnecessary calls
Although most people who call a vet, especially out of hours, believe they are experiencing a veterinary emergency, this is not always the case.
Sometimes, customers call not realising it’s out of hours and just want to know when you open, and 4 am seems a great time for them to call you to find out.
Sometimes, customers call thinking something is an emergency, but it turns out to not be urgent or only requires a phone call from a vet rather than a full visit.
A telephone answering service is a barrier between the customers and your veterinary team. This helps to sift out unnecessary calls and allows the vet team to prioritise different out-of-hour calls as appropriate.
One of our clients also recently commented that it allows vets to have a chance to wake themselves up properly before dealing with the client. This helped them to make better-triaging decisions depending on the severity of the situation.
If you are a mixed practice, customers may call the wrong line accidentally. By using a telephone answering service, we can ensure that the customer calls the correct line or department and redirect the call if required.
6. Using our telephone answering service helps you to reduce costs
Using our telephone answering service means our clients don’t need to employ staff to cover out-of-hours phones. This reduces their overheads and can improve staff retention, as employees may prefer not to work overnight or late in the evening to cover calls.
Many of our clients now do not keep employees at their practice overnight, with the on-call team simply coming in as necessary.
7. If your vets are working in poor reception areas, calls still get answered
Farm and equine vets often end up working in areas with very poor reception. This can make handling calls particularly difficult. But by using our telephone answering service, customers always get through to someone who can handle their call and then communicate with the veterinary team as needed.
Many of our clients would struggle to answer calls reliably due to the poor reception in the area or when they are busy dealing with a horse or large farm animal.
8. Keep lone workers safe
We also have lone worker service, which clients use to protect their veterinary team when working alone in potentially hazardous situations. We can monitor and check in on lone workers to ensure they are safe and give you better piece of mind.
9. Robust escalations for your veterinary practice
When taking on a new veterinary practice client, we take the time to understand your working processes and ensure we create a robust set of procedures and escalation processes to ensure your customers always get the help they need.
For many of our clients, this involves taking details of the customer and the situation before passing it on to the duty vet. This typically includes the name, address, contact number, and an overview of the situation. This can be provided by phone, text, or both, as preferred by the vet practice. But we can create a bespoke set of processes specifically for your practice.
This is what one client had to say: “Your staff filtering the calls using the agreed call-flow menu helps reduce the number of non-urgent or routine calls that would take up valuable time of the clinical out-of-hours teams trying to prioritise inpatients and urgent referrals only.”
10. Dedicated veterinary telephone answering service
As a dedicated service for veterinary practices, we have expert knowledge of your industry that allows us to provide a higher level of support and customer service than an average telephone answering service. Our team is well versed in veterinary call management, and as a business, we have over 30 years of experience in the industry.
Our industry knowledge allows us to help prioritise and manage calls based on your escalation processes.
Get in touch with the team to learn more about our service.