How to setup a Phone Tree for a small office
Small offices need to route calls efficiently and an auto attendant phone tree makes it easy and efficient for the office and the caller.
I had a referral from an associate to a doctor who needed an auto attendant "phone tree". He needed to have a caller make a selection to reach different people in his offices. The phone tree he described started with the basics:
- "If you have an emergency hang up and dial 911"
- "If you are interested in becoming a patient of ________ press one."
- "If your are an existing patient of ______ press two."
When the caller selects option one the call would be sent to line two in his office. His staff wold know that line two was only for new patient calls who would have their initial consultation.
If the caller selected option two, they would have a series of options for them:
- "For prescription refills press one."
- "For appointments press two."
- "For billing press three."
- "To speak with a nurse press four."
If the caller selected option one for prescription refills the system would tell them:
"For prescription refills please hang up and call your pharmacy. They will contact us on your behalf to request authorization for the medication."
If the caller selected option two for appointments their call would be routed to line 3 in the office. If they selected option three for billing the call would be routed to the billing service they use and not tie up a line in the office or take up time for the office staff. And if the caller selected option 4 then the call would be routed to line 4 in the office.
You'll notice that we have not sent any calls to line one, that line is forwarded to the Virtual Receptionist with the phone tree. The office staff continues to call out on line one to imprint the caller ID of the business but any incoming calls are forwarded to the Virtual Receptionist for the caller to make a selection.
This doctor also has two offices that he and the staff go to on a regular schedule. Tuesdays the staff are in a satellite office in a neighboring town. On Tuesdays calls are routed to that office for nursing and appointment calls. But the new patient calls continue to go to the main office line two for the staff that does not change locations. With this solution the staff does not have to remember to forward the main office line before moving to the satellite office.
This system was a bit more complex than described here with an after hours urgent call to the physician and pharmacy/hospital call routing to the physician that by passes the auto attendant phone tree but you see the basics.