When healthcare professionals say, “My front desk…” they are not usually referring to the piece of furniture in the reception area but rather to the living, breathing human being taking care of business at the front of the practice. This person is the “face” of your practice and hugely responsible for the success of your practice. And fortunately, most Receptionists definitely want the practice to be successful.
While it is a given that the position requires that the Receptionist knows how to type, file, greet, collect, schedule, talk to insurance companies, and use the computer (and chew gum all at the same time), there are more aspects to this job if one has an interest in the practice growing and reaching more people with the important services it offers.
For instance, the care and interest a Receptionist shows the patient or client when they arrive for their appointment and again when they are finished and departing, leave a patient or client with the feeling of goodwill toward the practice. Simply being polite and acknowledging the patient or client upon arrival is NOT the same as being greeted cheerfully and with a few kind words. Trust me, I am NOT saying to get into a long conversation because THAT is exactly what you don’t want to do if you want to be efficient. It is a fine line to walk between the two extremes.
How about keeping the patient or client in contact with the practice between visits by creating a monthly email newsletter that goes out to every patient or client of record. This is way easier to do that most people know. There are templates on the internet and in Word that can be used where you just plop in little paragraphs of material that would be of interest to the patients/clients, but not a scientific diatribe; these can be gotten from non-competitor’s websites, etc. There could be a monthly contest in it (best vacation picture of the month, cutest dog picture, best recipe of the month) wherein the winner is published the next month and is awarded a $100 gift certificate for Future Shop, or Tim Hortons, etc. This is just a fun feature that is not soliciting, nor breaking the Privacy Act, nor anything else – just a reason for the patient or client to look at your email each month and have some fun. It is a PR action.
How about doing a survey of patients or clients as to their favourite 3 magazines and when you have got 100 answers, then total them up and see which are the 5 most popular and buy those monthly for the waiting area.
Another PR action is for the Receptionist to go through all patient charts and find the ones that have not come in for more than two years and write them a heartfelt letter asking how they are doing and saying that everyone in the practice misses them.
Here’s another one, and this could really be fun: Find a charity or a cause that everyone in the practice could participate in and get them involved. This is called “Social Responsibility” and is a way of contributing something to the world at large as a team. Of course, this activity can be captured in photographs and displayed on the bulletin board in the reception area. Patients or clients may even want to participate!
A practice is created by design. The living, breathing, caring person at the “front desk” is extremely important to the building of a successful practice!
Have fun with this and put some more “life” into the practice.
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