Usually patients are limited in their ability to lodge a complaint to directly to their surgery. They can 1) speak to the receptionist, 2) write a feedback card 3) email a general surgery address, or 4) fill out text/online questionnaires.
But what about a call recording system?
Having a dedicated feedback number in which patients can either speak to someone or leave a message has tangible benefits:
- Giving patients a forum to articulate their frustrations will not only help your surgery to improve, but is also likely to reduce the number of formal complaints made to the NHS or the commissioner.
- By being able to review feedback, both positive and negative, your surgery can more easily implement suggestions from patients, and motivate staff with encouraging words from patients themselves.
- If a complaint is made to the commissioner or a higher body, you will have a verbatim record of exactly what was said and how the surgery responded. This covers your tracks and ensures you are exonerated from any unfair criticism.
How does a call recording system work?
Typically a call recording application will come as part of a GP cloud phone system, and can usually be activated for a few pounds a month. You can enable it across all extensions and numbers, or just some. And if you want to set-up a new, dedicated number for feedback and complaints, this too should only cost a very small amount per month.
To listen to recordings, you would simply log into your phone system’s online portal (where you can change your greetings, messages, call forwarding and auto-attendants) and either listen to the recordings live, download them or email them.
You could also set it up so that if no one was in the surgery to answer a complaints extension, it would ring the practice manager’s mobile (during whatever hours and days you choose).
What should I look for when selecting a call recording service?
A call recording service is something you would sign up to with your existing telephony provider, assuming they offer it. Ask the following questions to make sure you are aware of all elements of the service.
- Can they raise the cost of the service in the future?
- How long are recordings stored for and can they increase the cost of storage in the future?
- What happens if you need to increase your call recording storage capacity – will you then be stuck with a much higher cost?
- How does the provider ensure the security of the recordings?
- How are the recordings accessed and in what format?
- By which criteria are you able to search the recordings (time, date, extension, etc)?
It would also be a good idea to ask what happens to the recordings if you change providers. For example, are they able to transfer your existing recordings? Are they deleted?
And lastly, it is important to remember that you must explain to callers that the call is being recorded as part of the GDPR. This can be done verbally or (more typically) on an auto-attendant.
Hopefully your surgery never receives a complaint, but having a great system in place in case it does, will be helpful to both patients and staff.
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