In the hundreds of practices we are in contact with per week, we get to talk briefly with a lot of Receptionists manning the front desk. Some need work, some are okay, some are good, and every once in a while, we are delighted to be talking to an outstanding individual who really cares and wants to help people. I would want to be a patient of THAT practice. They impress me with friendliness, a caring attitude and a genuine interest in helping me. I am not just another annoyance in their day or just another call they have to answer and deal with.
The Face of Your Practice
The Receptionist is the creator of the first impression of any practice and is a huge factor in the success of a practice, whether on the phone or in person. They establish the first impression people have about your practice and the last impression as they leave the practice at the end of their visit.
Warm and Inviting
Warm and inviting are the important watchwords at the front desk. A new or repeat patient entering the practice can instantly form an idea about the mood of your practice by the mood of the Receptionist. A cheery and welcoming “hello, nice to see you” attitude can give the immediate idea of an uplifting experience.
When a “shopper” calls (someone who has a problem and has called your practice to see if you’re the one they’ll choose), the person who answers the phone is the “face” of your practice, and how they take care of and show a strong interest in the caller determines to a large degree whether that person will elect to become a new patient of yours.
An Oscar Nomination
Sometimes it is a theatrical performance deserving of an Oscar nomination that is required of the Receptionist if they are under the weather or have had bad news in their life, and so on. The patients of the practice require this of your staff in order make their experience more positive in your office or clinic.
Grooming and Manners
Grooming is an integral part of that first impression. They must look the part and must convey a professional appearance. Also, hair, make-up and clothing all make a difference. Manners and politeness are essential as well.
If the Receptionist is staring glumly at their computer screen and frowning, or if they are ranting on the phone with a supplier or insurance company, this is not a positive image either.
Strive for Perfection
If the Receptionist is really on your team to help give ideal care to as many patients as possible, they will always be striving to do better. They will be interested in the success of your practice, not just “putting in time.”
As the owner of a practice, you so depend on having the ideal candidate as your Receptionist. However, some have never been made aware of the importance of all of the above. So it may be just a little nudge in the right directions (as above) that will make a huge difference.
And be sure and really acknowledge when they do well and are meeting your and your patients’ standards! Appreciative words really do help!
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