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Telephony Day 1

Hello everyone


Today we launched our new telephony system.  As expected there were a couple of little hiccups, but I think overall the patient experience was much better.  Here is a reminder of the key features and some interesting facts about today –


The queue can now hold 150 calls –

·         This means you will no longer be cut off and asked to call back if there are already 15 calls queuing

·         The queue size should be more than enough to accommodate all your patient requests!


Hold your place in the queue –

·         To save you waiting, you can reserve your place in the queue at ANY TIME by pressing 8

·         This service activates once there are more than 5 callers holding

·         You can press 8 straight away, or at any time whilst you are holding

·         When you get to the top of the queue you will receive a callback from us.  We will try you twice, so please stay close to your phone. If you don't answer at the 2nd attempt, you will need to call us back


We found today that most callbacks were done in about 20 minutes, although it will depend on the size of the queue and the number of receptionists we have available.


The callback feature has reduced the number of abandoned calls, which is great, and what it’s there for.  We did lose 36 calls before 9.30am and I think that was when the message wasn’t kicking in (neither was the reminder letting you know what number you are in the queue).  This has now been fixed, and the callback message plays when you join the queue (if there are more than 5 calls queuing) and when you move through the queue.


We lost less than 10 calls during the remainder of the day – this may be people who didn’t hear the initial message about pressing 8, or didn’t hear the part about being able to press it at any time.


We learnt a lot about our call flow today.  This is the first time we have been able to see every patient who calls us, at the time they call us.

·         We received 175 calls in the first 2 hours.  Tuesday is usually our quietest day on the phone

·         By 10.30 we had answered a third of the calls we would usually answer on a Tuesday – this is because people were requesting call backs rather than abandoning / being forced to call back, so the connection rate was much higher.

·         This morning we had 6 receptionists available and the queue had completely gone by 8.45.  We then only needed 2 receptionists for the next hour, allowing the rest of the team to action tasks, post and emails

·         We had a brief flurry at 11am and then a major spike at 2pm when our average call volume doubled


We noticed this afternoon that were more abandoned calls – we may make adjustments so that the callback option kicks in sooner as we don’t want you to feel you have to hang up.


We are currently recruiting for 2 more receptionists, so today’s experience may not be the standard experience as we did pull resource from other departments to help with launch day (and can’t do this every day).


I expect we will see a similar pattern for the next 4-5 weeks – a big queue first thing, which we work through, and then lighter call traffic for the rest of the day.  The pattern will change at the end of January when we make our long planned changes to AskMyGP and start leaving it on all day ….!




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