Quit Making the Front Desk the Junk Drawer of Your Practice

You created a junk drawer in the form of your front desk. My partner, Todd Wickstrom, was the first to come up with this analogy. And if you think about it, he’s right. 

Many of you have dumped all your people, their skills, and all business tasks into one place. 

Therefore, any time there’s a problem, it’s the front desk’s fault. 

Having trouble with cancels? Well, we need the front desk to step up! 

New authorization processes? The front desk will handle it!

Healthcare practice owners then somehow expect this mess of a junk drawer to produce organized results. Nothing could be further from the reality of what brings practice success.

The front desk role is too important to not understand, and in reality, it is actually three specific roles. Quit trying to mix it all into one.

Let’s take a look at the 3 roles your front desk “team” plays in your practice and how it relates to overall practice success.

Poor Organization of the Front Desk Causes Most Practice Problems

Not having the front desk team set up properly is the root cause of a lot of business-related problems for many practices. If the front desk is failing, you may think you’ve just hired the wrong people, but this typically isn’t the case.

When people hire me (or before they hire me) they worry that I’m going to come in and fire people. But what really ends up happening is that we look into who you have on your team and figure out what their real skills are. Then you end up realizing that you’ve hired the right people but they’re just doing the wrong things to have a successful front desk team.

As we work together we end up realizing all these people are on the right bus, they’re just not sitting in the right seat. This happens because you don’t understand the 3 separate roles that you’ve junk-piled into the front desk. 

My recommendation to you is: Don’t hire one person to do all of the things, instead, separate your team into 3 roles. 

Breakdown of the 3 Front Desk Roles

Role #1: VOICE OF THE COMPANY

The Voice of the Company (VOC) is responsible for selling. They are accountable for conversion rates and manage a lead from the moment they contact your practice until the moment they arrive. The VOC is your key salesperson – getting people in the door, getting them on the schedule, and getting them excited about moving through the patient lifecycle. 

Role #2: FACE OF THE COMPANY 

The Face of the Company’s key focus is on retention. Once a patient has arrived, the FOC is responsible for understanding how to get a patient to stay with your practice and get future visits on the schedule. The FOC is also accountable for collecting copays and other customer-facing interactions that take place before and after an appointment. 

Role #2: BACK OFFICE ADMIN  

The Back Office Admin is the glue that ties the whole sales process together. They are responsible for making sure the practice actually gets paid for a patient visit by handling authorizations, insurance benefits, and EOBs. As a support role, the admin keeps a patient flowing through the patient lifecycle.

Business and Patient Success Requires You to Understand the 3 Roles

The graphic above outlines the selling cycle of your business. And what you must understand is how the 3 roles of the front desk support and guide these different touchpoints within the patient lifecycle. If you don’t have a clear idea of how to leverage the 3 roles to work through this cycle, practice success isn’t possible.

Once you’ve mapped out your patient lifecycle, you start to understand the importance of the people you call your front desk team. This 3 pronged team is far more valuable than you could ever imagine for practice and patient success.

Many fail to understand what makes up a successful front desk team because they don’t think they need to focus on proper business principles. The ease of starting a practice brings a false notion that if you’re good at what you do, success will follow. But this “if I build it they will come” attitude halts progress right in its tracks.

If you don’t take the steps needed to build a real business, practice success is a long shot. You need a repeatable process for getting patients to arrive, pay, stay, and complete their plans of care. It’s important to remember that you control and determine the process, and when done right, you can have more predictable outcomes. 

Get Your Front Desk Team Organized today

Put this blog down now, go look at your team, write out all the tasks they do, and then separate them based on what they do best

Figure out who is the right fit for each role and delegate their tasks accordingly from here on out. 

If you only have one or two people available, there will be an overlap in their responsibilities. But, I strongly encourage you not to have your back office admin person also play the voice of the company. The skill sets are just too different to handle these two distinct roles. 

Multi-tasking always produces lower quality results, so it’s best to find 3 specific people to own these roles if possible.

As we discussed earlier, you don’t’ need to fire people, you just need to drop them into the right seats. 

To learn more about these 3 roles or if you need help building the right processes that lead to practice success, reach out to the Client Experience Company today.

It’s time to stop worrying about negative reviews, a bad reputation, or a failing business.

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