How important is the staff member manning your front desk? Extremely!
Here are a couple of experiments:
Try phoning around to 5-10 different practices (not your competitors, please!) and put yourself in the shoes of a new patient or client and see how you feel about the response at the other end of the line. Were you impressed and wowed by the upbeat, caring, interested attitude of the person answering? Or was it a ho-hum, lack of interest, “whatever” attitude?
If you walked into a couple of practices and asked at reception for the business card and whether they are accepting new patients, how well were you taken care of? I, myself, have done this when looking for a new practitioner and been quite turned off in some of the offices and did not become a new patient or client.
Department of First Impressions
The heart and soul of your practice is reflected through the person manning your front desk and answering the phones of your practice. While the staff in a practice are a team, the front desk staff are your “department of first and last impressions” as they are the first and last person a patient or client sees in your practice. You could deliver the best, most amazing service in the back and have it all undone by a careless, offhand goodbye as the person leaves the practice.
Besides being competent and knowledgeable about your services, there are other important promotional actions that they can do to help the practice grow and succeed and thereby secure their job for as long as they want:
- They can make an arriving patient or client feel totally welcomed to the practice with a radiant, welcoming smile that immediately puts the person at ease and makes them happy they are there.
- Good grooming is vital and includes attractive hairdos, well done (not overdone) makeup, good quality business clothes or else uniforms well pressed and clean.
- Excellent communication skills for handling the patients or clients and helping them to understand what is happening to them in the practice. Sales skills are very important in handling “shoppers” on the phone, people who want to back out of their appointments at the last minute, collecting the fees, etc.
- A caring attitude about each person and ensuring they have a positive experience which exceeds their expectations.
- Organized and efficient with their paperwork so it is not spread out all over for patients to see. Neat and orderly spaces have a calming effect on patients.
Good Will Ambassador
Your receptionist is your practice’s Good Will Ambassador and can help you grow your practice from the inside out, or hold it down and keep it small. Letting them know how much you appreciate it when they do all of the above properly is important too. Acknowledgements and validation are vital to any staff member and will often help the “good” become “GREAT.”
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