The unfortunate truth is that many of you turn your Front Desk role into the junk drawer of your healthcare practice. You feed them task after task without taking the time to consider if this is the best use of their time and effort. In doing so, you’re taking power away from a role that is a key revenue generator. What I believe, and what successful healthcare practices believe, is that your Front Desk plays an integral part in growing and sustaining your practice.
Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case.
Redefining the Front Desk
BUCKLE UP KIDS…. This ride is going to get bumpy!
What you simply call the Front Desk, I call:
The entry point to your business
The first touchpoint
The voice of the company
The one who starts a relationship that lasts throughout a patient’s entire lifecycle
The first impression (and maybe the last Impression…)
The one with the opportunity for the most unique touches throughout a patient’s lifecycle
If your Front Desk isn’t viewed in this light, it’s time to take it more seriously and truly understand the complexity of this role.
The Front Desk Must be Understood for Its Multidimensional Purpose in Your Practice
For your healthcare practice to succeed and deliver value throughout the entirety of a patient’s lifecycle, you need a fundamental understanding of how your Front Desk relates to patient and business success.
Once you map out your patients’ lifecycle and begin to build systems to support it, you will then see the enormous role your front desk plays!
Their key role is decreasing fear, doubt, uncertainty, and also building trust with that potential new patient on the phone, and continuing this, all before they arrive. This is always the first and necessary step to a completed plan of care.
It’s also crucial that they manage and set expectations so there’s no uncertainty looming within a patient. This uncertainty, if not handled with care, is what makes people no show, cancel, and drop off the schedule – all of which hinders your healthcare practice’s success.
- So why have you turned the Front Desk into taskmasters and paper pushers instead of part of the system that grows your company?
- Why is NO ONE in your practice laser-focused on all the things listed above?
- Furthermore, how are you tracking their success?
- What are they held accountable for?
- What are their metrics of success? Do those directly tie into the greater Patient and Business Goals?
- Do they know how much a new patient is worth to the business?
- Do they know what the new patient caller WANTS from you?
- Do they know what to offer them and what they are actually selling?
- Do they do MORE than just care? (Caring is a start, but CARING IS NOT ENOUGH!)
The Front Desk is Much More Than a Customer Service Role
Let’s make one thing clear – The Front Desk is first and foremost a patient experience role.
Customer Service people WAIT for bad things to happen. Patient Experience people PREVENT the problems from even happening by managing expectations, demonstrating empathy, and building trust – all things we expect our providers to do!
Moving into Phase 2 of the Patient Life Cycle involves starting a relationship, problem-solving, and setting the provider up for success. This all happens before a patient even arrives at your practice, meaning, your Front Desk must own this Phase
The alliance they build and their ability to deal with expectations are both research-proven elements that drive better patient outcomes.
On the business side of healthcare, the Front Desk is frequently seen as an expense or a NON-revenue generator. In our view, they are just as important as the provider on a TEAM that moves patients towards success. This keeps your eyes on the big picture of empowering patients to Arrive, Pay, Stay, and do your marketing for you.
Now is the Time to Revamp Your Front Desk
As we’ve seen, a misunderstanding of your Front Desk’s role is the missing link to greater patient and business success. Since they influence a patient’s lifecycle as much as a provider, it’s crucial that you define their responsibilities and build a system of accountability. All this starts with you mapping out the patient life-cycle to truly understand the Front Desk’s role.
Empower your Front Desk to focus on Patient Experience instead of simply wearing the Customer Service hat. This is what successful Healthcare Practices do and now it’s your turn!
To get started today, download the 10 point Front Desk checklist to understand all the information you need to collect from the very first touchpoint with a patient.