Whether you realize it or not, the EMS agency you serve has a face and it’s you!
It’s the impression that is left behind in the eyes of the patient, his/her family and/or the people that surround him including, by extension, facility staff and those in the overall care loop.
Your EMS agency’s face is very important as it ultimately becomes how it represents and labels you to the patients in the communities you serve.
Let’s take a look at the three areas that make up our EMS agency footprint.
The very first encounter outsiders have with your agency is when the phone rings, so the call intake portion at the front end of your process is extremely important for setting the tone of what your agency’s customer service face looks like.
If your agency is a 9-1-1 provider, this is beyond your control- or is it?
As an administrator, have you met recently with the persons in charge at the 9-1-1 center to take a look at what they do for you? Sometimes simple dialogue can help each side understand each other better, plus it opens up channels for you to examine how your agency is being represented to the public.
If your agency handles routine, non-emergency transports it’s likely you maintain a separate call intake resource outside of the 9-1-1 system. Here’s where your agency’s customer service face is crucial.
Not only does call intake drive your agency by pulling in work on any given day, but the encounter experienced by the patient and the facilities you serve may dictate whether or not your agency is used by the referral source for future transports.
Plus, your call intake staff helps with all phases of the transport scenarios by obtaining vital information that is helpful to your street staff all the way through the back end of your process, flowing to the billing office and collection success.
Street Presence- Reacting and Interacting
Administrators… How are your crew members representing your agency? Do you know?
EMS providers… How are you representing your agency? Do you care?
Notice we’re addressing two groups of people here. It’s important that as an administrator, you have boots on the ground in some form in order to have a handle on how your crews represent your agency out there where it happens.
As EMS providers, you and your partner must remember that your agency’s reputation and ultimately your reputation rests on your shoulders and how the patient public sees you react and interact.
How do you look today? What are you saying today? If you love your job, show it by treating people with the same caring mannerisms you’d want someone to treat you with if you were the one lying on the stretcher.
If you hate your job, find another one.
Closing the Loop- The Back End
The run’s completed and your patient has been delivered to his/her destination.
How is your agency represented by the office, following the run? Specifically, since this is a blog centering on EMS billing; how is your agency represented by the billing office?
Whether your agency maintains its own hired staff for billing or you use an outsourcing agent for the task, once again the “face” the patient will remember will be that of the person who answers the phone and guides your patient through the revenue recovery cycle.
Staff members who practice good phone etiquette and are trained in being professional and courteous will win the day for you. As an EMS billing outsource company, we argue that professional customer service trained individuals who do nothing but this all day long can be the consistent positive face for you. These people must be adept at problem resolution, have a high level of compassion and knowledge and understand all phases of EMS billing.
The Right Step
Now it’s time to take some steps to adjust your agency’s face. Do the following…
- Review- take a good look at your EMS agency’s face at all levels.
- Analyze- identify the good faces and the not-so-good faces of your organization. Survey, ask your patients questions, test and measure
- Act- excise the parts of your face that are less than positive, replace and retool where possible but also reinforce the areas that are working.
- Consider outsourcing and consulting- there’s someone out there that can give you a softer and more effective face!