"How May I Help You?" Improving Telephone Customer Service in a Medical Clinic Setting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The current study was carried out per management request to improve the overall quality of telephone customer service among appointment coordinators in a medical clinic. Exceptional telephone customer service included (a) using a standard greeting, (b) speaking in the appropriate tone of voice throughout the call, and (c) answering every call received by the unit. A preintervention analysis suggested that performance deficiencies resulted from weak antecedents, poor knowledge and skills, and weak performance contingencies. Task clarification, goal setting, feedback, and performance-contingent consequences were combined to improve these customer service behaviors for 20 full-time appointment coordinators at the clinic. The study used an ABÁ reversal design with weekly maintenance and 5-month follow-up observations. Introduction of the multicomponent intervention produced visible improvements in greeting (38% increase) and friendly voice tone (22% increase) behaviors; performance was maintained above baseline levels at 5 months postmaintenance. Abandon rates (the percentage of calls not answered by a live voice) remained fairly stable, on average. Findings support the use of a multicomponent intervention to increase telephone customer service behavior in medical clinic settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • customer service
  • feedback
  • goals
  • organizational behavior management
  • performance-contingent consequences
  • task clarification

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '"How May I Help You?" Improving Telephone Customer Service in a Medical Clinic Setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this