- Staffing requirements are known to be greater on Monday, Tuesday, and the day after holidays at appointment call centers. If staffing on these days does not reflect patient needs, then other augmentation or changes in schedules need to be enacted so that staffing is appropriate to handle the incoming appointment traffic. Red Cross volunteers, temporary hires, and hospital administrative staff are some of the alternative appointment schedulers commanders can consider.
Answering time is the time that it takes for the phone to be initially answered by the automated system or a receptionist. The most common corporate standard is that the phone should be answered within 4 rings or 30 seconds.
- Response (hold or wait) time is the average time it takes to speak to a scheduler to make an appointment. As a guideline, response time should be within two minutes. If it takes longer than this, then you need to look at staffing or the capabilities of your existing phone system to support appointments.
- Abandoned call rate is the percentage of calls that are abandoned after the 30-second standard for answering time. The recommended acceptable abandoned call rate is 5 percent of the total number of calls.
- Process time is the time it takes a scheduler to make an appointment. Guidelines are 2 to 3 minutes for small or medium facilities and 5 to 6 minutes for large MTFs or call centers. These benchmarks are an indication of efficiency, training, and required staffing levels for staffing appointment schedulers.