Whether you like it or not, your patient is essentially a customer, who is coming to you for a product or service. This means that one of the most important parts of running your business is customer service. Nowhere is this more important than in the front office.
Your receptionist is likely the first representative of your practice who your patient will encounter. This is why it is essential to train your front desk staff to be warm, inviting and helpful. Here are the most important things to emphasize when training your front desk staff.
- Smile. Perhaps the most effective thing your employee can do to connect with a patient is simply to smile at them. A friendly smile will draw the patient in. They will more likely be open and trusting toward your practice as a whole when their first impression is positive.
- Make eye contact. This is a basic social skill that many surprisingly lack. Making eye contact is common courtesy that shows a person they are recognized as being present and important.
- Greet patients in a friendly voice. Although body language is hugely important, tone of voice just might be equally so. A friendly, energetic voice is welcoming, as opposed to a voice that sounds disinterested or bored.
- Have open body language. Your staff should face the customer directly whenever possible and make themselves visible rather than hiding behind a computer monitor or the desk itself.
- Be patient. You don’t know what a patient has encountered each day. Perhaps their mother recently died. Maybe they sat in traffic for three hours. Or their kid had a major meltdown and wouldn’t leave the house. No matter how a patient treats you, it is always your duty to remain professional and courteous.
Many of these are qualities that you can identify in a candidate during their interview. If someone is not warm and friendly during their meeting with you, they surely won’t be at the front desk.