Every time someone visits their eye doctor, dentist, or veterinarian, the very first encounter they will have with your office is with the reception area and staff. Often, patients will spend just as much or even more time in the waiting area as with their healthcare professional. However, these areas can often go overlooked by busy practice owners or practitioners who focus on the service being provided.
In this article, we are going to provide you with a few key points that can help you ensure your reception area and staff are set up for success, and that your patients have an enjoyable experience in every area of your healthcare office.
First impressions are lasting ones, so one of the primary goals of your reception staff should include delivering a great experience to your new clientele.
Make sure that clients walking in the door are acknowledged and assisted in a timely fashion. Reception staff should smile, make eye contact, and either help your visitors immediately or ask them to wait a few minutes until they have the time to greet them properly.
New clients will usually have questions relating to care, billing, insurance, and scheduling. Train your staff to notate and accurately relay any information that a new client may request. The last thing you want is for your reception staff to appear clueless or disorganized, which can make a new client uneasy with choosing your service.
When your business earns a new client’s trust, you can expect them to become a repeat client, or to recommend your service to their friends and family who may be in need of your services. A great first impression can turn into “word of mouth marketing” one of many excellent methods to grow your client base.
There are a variety of ways in which a waiting area can be designed based upon the amount of available space. There are a few good rules to stick to – whether you have a smaller or more spacious area.
While you want to design your practice processes so that you can service patients with a quick turnaround time, sometimes people just have to wait. When clients may have to spend longer than a few minutes waiting, we recommend providing a comfortable seating area. Include a few low tables with magazines so that individuals can put their belongings down in their immediate line of eyesight.
Entertainment & Media
It is becoming more common for small healthcare practices to include a television with a video streaming service or a music streaming service in the waiting area. If you decide to incorporate a TV into your reception area, make sure that the content is suitable for all ages. G rated motion pictures, nature documentaries, sports channels, and news stations are all safe choices for your clients’ entertainment. Other businesses opt to provide business specific education videos – for example a dental office may choose to display videos that discuss optimal oral health care.
When you consider the elements that make your practice successful, listen to your clients. The success of your business always depends upon how your clients (and prospective new clients) perceive your business.
While you may think the way that your staff engages with your clients or the way that your organization is structured is working, there may room for growth.
There are a variety of ways to collect your clients’ opinions. E-mail surveys to patients after their visit, include physical surveys in the reception area – either paper forms on clipboards or virtual forms on tablets, or simply ask your patients at some point before or after your service how their experience was. The feedback from your patients may help you improve anything you may be overlooking.
One of the most effective recommendations that we can provide is to schedule routine trainings. Some of the largest and most successful corporations do this, and it’s for a good reason. People forget things and systems have a tendency to denigrate over time. By creating a training routine, your entire staff will also have fresh and relevant information to draw upon when assisting patients and their family members.
A well-trained reception staff will make a patient confident in your services. Whether it is an emergency or a simple check-up, you always want to make sure that your clients feel they can implicitly trust your staff.
According to this Monster.com article, three important qualities that a great healthcare team should exercise include attentiveness, great attitudes, and the know-how to resolve issues that unhappy clients may have. If you train your team to always have those three qualities in mind, not only will it benefit the new clients, but also the overall work environment and culture that your team exudes on a daily basis.