If you care about your patients and the growth of your healthcare practice, using a medical answering service is a great idea. However, you have to opt for a US-based answering service. Off-shore medical answering agencies seem cheaper but come with significant risks. You are likely to end up losing the money saved by using an answering service. Read on to understand the reasons why to stick to a US-based medical answering service.
No cultural misunderstandings
It is obvious that each country has own culture. If you use an off-shore answering service, you are likely to expose your patients to cultural shock. You answering representatives from the agency are likely to have no idea about the US culture. No amount of training can minimize the impact differences in culture can have on your customers. Callers are likely to have their calls answered by someone without knowledge of their needs.
Out of frustration, patients are likely to hang up and call another practice. This is likely to make your practice attract negative reviews with consequent damage to your brand reputation. With time, you are likely to notice a significant decline in income. Avoid exposing your business through all this by hiring a US-based medical answering service in the first place.
No language issues
Call representatives from offshore answering services usually speak English as their second language. It makes them understand basic English but not the nuances to talk fluently with a native speaker. You wouldn’t like people who answer your calls struggling to comprehend what callers are saying and fumbling to select appropriate words to use. Some offshore answering companies might have agents with English as a primary language but talking with an accent filled with local idiosyncrasies. Getting around this requires a US-based medical answering service with agents who are native speakers.
Some callers to your practice might speak other languages apart from English. These might include Russian, Chinese, Spanish, or Polish. Agents from an off-shore answering service are less likely to have knowledge of other languages apart from English. Therefore, your non-English speaking callers are less likely to get the assistance required. Fortunately, reputable US-based answering services have bilingual and trilingual agents to cater to the needs of all callers.
Guaranteed HIPAA compliance
Medical practices have to adhere to standards regarding the safety of patients’ health information. Non-compliance puts your practice at risk of fines, lawsuits, and reputational damage. Luckily, US-based medical answering companies have agents who clearly understand the importance of complying with HIPAA regulations. However, you can be sure that agents in an offshore agency will comply with these standards.
No time zone confusion
Call agents based in another country are definitely in a different time zone than your practice and patients. This significant difference might cost your business a lot. Answering a call with a greeting specific to a particular period of the day is likely to send negative signals to the caller. Perhaps it is day time in the agent’s country and night in the US. The patient is likely to figure out that you use offshore agents and this might not go down well with many. This insensitivity might be enough to make patients switch to other practices making your business lose revenue.
Guaranteed provider reliability
It is very important to entrust a reliable answering service to handle all your callers. You can only verify this when working with a US-based provider. This is possible through referrals, testimonials, and reading reviews. It is very difficult to understand the reliability of off-show answering agencies. These might have issues such as regular power blackouts and internet breakdown. Allowing a company prone to such issues is likely to significantly affect service delivery in your practice. Your callers are at risk of failing to get assistance during emergencies when the answering service provider network is down.
Fewer chances of geopolitical instability
Countries outside the United States are prone to political instabilities. These significantly affect all aspects of life including business. A sudden change in the political environment where your offshore answering service is based will significantly affect your practice. It might lead to breaking down of infrastructure making it hard for the agents to serve your patients. Keep in mind that you might never tell when the situation will get back to normal. It is better to hire a US-based answering service to limit putting your practice in jeopardy.
Handling calls is a very important task in medical practice. Allowing your in-house staff to handle this task exposes them to burnout. Luckily, outsourcing a professional medical answering service is a good idea. However, it is better to hire a US-based answering service to avoid risks related to working with off-shore based agents. It protects your patients from cultural shock, language issues, time zone confusion, and guarantees that your practice is HIPAA compliant.