How Effective Is Your Receptionist?

July 8, 2015    By Becky Sheetz ()

How Effective Is Your Receptionist?

Samantha, the friendly, knowledgeable and warm receptionist at my dentist’s office, recently moved on to greener pastures. I really miss her. They have replaced her with a very nice young receptionist, but it’s not the same. She doesn’t have Samantha’s outgoing personality and charm, in part because she simply doesn’t have the extensive knowledge and confidence that Samantha had when it came to her job.

How effective is your receptionist or reception team? You know what you need a receptionist to “do” for your dental practice. But do you think of this from your patient’s point of view? What matters to your patients is not a receptionist’s ability to multitask, manage paperwork or master your computer system. What your patients care about is the impact your receptionist has on them.

See Marketing vs. Advertising for additional tips on the things that help “sell” a dental practice.

A receptionist should be warm, friendly, patient and supportive to each and every person who calls or comes into your dental office. When patients come in, your receptionist should look them in the eye, smile and greet them―by name if possible. Every single interaction your dental patients have with each of your staff members is critical.

Your receptionist should be trained to market your practice

The first call a new dental patient makes to your office is their first genuine experience with you. This first contact means everything. It can make or break a new patient relationship. In addition to a pleasant demeanor, the receptionist must be armed with accurate information to answer insurance and pricing questions.

Your receptionist or reception team must be very knowledgeable and highly competent. They must be able to provide fundamental information on treatments so that would-be patients can quickly make the decision to book an appointment. The receptionist must understand the value of your practice’s treatments and services.

Receptionists should be trained to always speak highly of the practice and its treatment staff. Dental patients want to know that they will be well cared for, treated with respect, and that their comfort will be a priority. The receptionist should be able to provide that reassurance. He or she should not, however, offer guarantees about recovery time, treatment outcomes or discomfort.

Always ready to book appointments!

Your receptionist should be thinking about booking appointments. If she or he isn’t asking patients about scheduling an appointment, your practice is missing opportunities. WPI Communications recommends that you establish a process for your reception team to help guide callers to appointments.

For patients who are not yet ready to book an appointment, get their contact information so the practice can send information on the treatment needed and on the dentist and team. Offer to sign up the prospective patient for your monthly dental newsletter. This ensures that you’ll keep in touch, hopefully until he or she is ready to book an appointment.

An effective receptionist helps keep current patients happy and effectively welcomes a stream of happy new ones.

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