Customer service at your dental practice begins and ends with your receptionist. The receptionist is the first person potential patients will talk to, and is likely the last person they’ll speak with before they leave your office.
A good receptionist makes patients feel completely welcomed and at home, transforming patients’ healthcare experience and getting them excited to take care of their oral health. On the other hand, a bad experience at the reception desk can leave patients feeling anonymous, uncared for and reluctant to come back.
Three years ago, I wrote a blog post outlining a few of the things every receptionist should know if they want to provide patients with the kind of positive experience that will turn strangers into regular patients.
Today, I’ve updated that list with a few new points for receptionists to keep in mind if they want to make patients feel at home immediately, particularly by taking advantage of current dental practice technology.
1. Don’t Let Patients Fall Through the Cracks
One of the most important roles receptionists play is making sure that patients book regular appointments and follow through with the appointments they have made. This should always be done gently and professionally, in a way that lets patients know that your clinic cares about their well being and wants to help them take care of their oral health.
Unfortunately, it can be easy for patients who chose not to pre-book their recall appointment to fall through the cracks, which is why you should make sure your receptionists have access to web tools that make tracking appointments easy – such as ABELDent’s Treatment Manager.
Much more than simple patient reminder software, the Treatment Manager keeps track of relevant booking information and creates contact dates for each required appointment, streamlining the booking process and allowing receptionists to focus more on face-to-face patient care.
2. Make Patients Feel Individually Valued
No one wants to feel like a number, and one very small but very important thing receptionists can do to make patients feel individually valued is to keep track of little details about their lives, work, and booking preferences.
For example, if a patient works nights, has children, or frequently travels for work, you’ll want to make sure that when you call them about bookings, they aren’t repeating the same information every time. Appointment scheduling software that includes options for making notes about patients’ preferences is the best way to provide each patient with personalized service that will make them feel genuinely valued.
The healthcare industry is different from other industries in some important ways, but receptionists need to remember that patients’ expectations of your dental practice are shaped by the customer service treatment they receive in other industries – such as their favourite restaurants and spas. If you want to make patients feel truly cared for, you’ll need to offer comparable service.
3. Make the Most of the Tools at Your Disposal
A big part of any receptionist’s job is entering data, remaining aware of scheduling changes, and managing patient preferences. This is a lot of work and the more patients you have the more difficult it can be to stay on top of everything.
This is why we designed ABELDent software to optimize workflows and system navigation. While learning new software systems may seem daunting at first, it is important for receptionists to remember that these tools will save huge amounts of time down the road. A few hours invested in mastering the software today will save days of work in the future!
4. Accurate Data Starts at the Receptionist’s Desk
There’s an old saying in business that if you want to know how a company or clinic is really doing, you should talk to the receptionist. Receptionists have their fingers on the pulse of their organization, and they’re the ones who can tell you whether bookings are up or down and which patients are choosing to re-book.
As an executive, I know that my entire operation relies on dedicated front-line staff members who are keeping track of the information I need in order to make informed decisions about the direction of my company.
Without solid data, dental practice management is a guessing game. That’s why it is so important for receptionists to have the right reporting and analytics tools to pass that data on to the dentists and practice managers.
ABELDent’s analytic tools give any practice the means to monitor demographic trends and practice growth, while also mapping productivity and scheduling efficiency.
Your reception team needs to stay on top of this technology in order to maximize productivity – after all, if the data isn’t being entered correctly, even the best dental management software won’t be able to make a difference.
Fortunately, ABELDent’s distinctive software tools can equip any receptionist, empowering them to offer superstar service to each and every one of your patients.