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In an era where reaching a live operator on a business line is an endangered practice, families calling Kids First are delighted to find a friendly (and depending on how often you call, familiar!) voice on the other end of the line.
Answering the phones for Kids First are either Debbie Thompson or Kim McNamee. The position of phone operator became necessary when the practice became too busy for staff at the front desk to man the phones. In order to prevent families from waiting at the desk or on the line, the Kids First team decided it was better to bring more staff on board than switch to an automated answering service.
“Nobody likes to be put on hold forever, pressing buttons on a call with no personal touch. The system just isn’t the right fit for this type of office where we try to be so personal,” says Kim.
Debbie says that one of the primary goals at Kids First is to be personally involved with each and every family. She and Kim both recognize the faces and names and even just the voices of parents, making everyone feel more at ease and welcome.
“This is why we are here. That family on the line at that moment is the most important thing to us. This is stressed from Dr. Cathy and all the way down,” says Debbie.
And while Debbie and Kim do not answer medical questions, they do hear a lot of medical stories by being the first one on the line. One of the best stories Debbie heard was a parent who called because her son lost a tooth in school. Debbie was at first confused why the boy would need to visit the office, until she discovered that the boy had stored his tooth in his ear for safekeeping.
But, regardless of the purpose of the call, both Debbie and Kim take great satisfaction in helping families. “The best part of my job is providing comfort or having a kind word to say to somebody. With so many of us being parents, we understand that it’s so important to be friendly,” says Debbie.
And the only thing they don’t like about their jobs? Kim sums it up, saying, “The only thing I don’t like about my job is when people call and say, ‘I don’t want to bother you.’ That’s why we’re here!”