- January 11, 2018
- Posted by: Cory Zahringer
- Category: Practice Management
Your front office team represents the face of your practice. Because they’re often the first people your patients will interact with, and the communication medium for appointment scheduling and customer service, properly training your front office team is imperative to your office’s success. Read this article to discover how to increase productivity with your front office team.
Improve Your Hiring Techniques
Improving your team’s efficiency starts with the hiring process. When interviewing potential candidates for front office positions, clarify your expectations for short, and long-term development. Outline the specific goals and tasks you’d like to improve, as well as the timeline to illustrate when you hope to achieve them. Before employment, enhancing a prospect’s knowledge-base regarding acceptable insurance plans, training them with company software and phone systems, and bettering their understanding of dental procedures are all ways to better your front office team from day one.
Setting expectations and goals beforehand will help streamline your new employee’s adoption into your practice. Doing so will also incentivize employees to develop themselves to benefit the team, without feeling like extra work outside the scope of their responsibilities.
Praise in Public, Critique in Private
No one likes to be publicly reprimanded; it can reduce morale and be detrimental to long-term turnover rates. Address any troublesome behaviors individually, in a private setting. Establish a formal review process for new hires. After onboarding a new teammate, collaborate after 90 days on the job and consider an annual review process for all members of your team.
When addressing an issue with a team member one-on-one, be sure to communicate as well as critique, and have solutions ready to offer. Be it poor customer service skills, or office inefficiencies, it is vital to motivate an employee to be better than reiterate what they’ve done wrong. Following the meeting, document the strategies and corrective actions you’ve agreed upon with your employee, and readdress them at interim to confirm they are being met.
Design Scripts for Answering Calls
Standardizing communication strategies and providing your team with systematic and customized scripts can be the key to front office success — especially with phone skills. Periodically and as part of any initial employee training, set aside time for employees to role play as patients so they can retune their conversational skills.
Some good rules to implement to provide excellent customer service for your patient include:
Answer the phone with a smile. Injecting energy into your voice will help patients have a more positive phone experience with your staff, increasing customer loyalty.
- Avoid a monotone voice. Add inflection and emphasis, so patients know you’re engaged in the conversation.
- Do not eat or chew gum during a call. Not only is this gesture rude, but it can also make a patient feel unprioritized.
- Give undivided attention during the call. Patients can tell if you’re distracted; giving them your full attention can help close the deal on potential patients.
- Ask before putting someone on hold. Showing common courtesy for your patient’s time is key to maintaining patient satisfaction.
- Pick up the phone quickly. After four rings, the patient will reconsider contacting you and will mentally move on to the next provider.
Know Your Competition
To beat the competition, you have to know the competition. Performing periodic online research on your competition can help position your practice for success. To begin your research, create a list of the most successful providers in your area. Analyze their best marketing strategies and make comparisons and improvements to your office accordingly.
You can take things a step further by directly calling your competitors to hear their demeanor over the phone. What words do they use in greeting? Do they try to book an appointment with you, and what incentives do they offer new patients to get them in the door?
Converting prospective callers into lifelong patient starts with your front office team. If patients feel comfortable, acknowledged, and well-cared for by your front office team, they’ll be more likely to remain your patient and refer others to you for years to come.
Managing front office team can be overwhelming, but by establishing goals, maintaining morale, putting clear guidelines in place, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you can grow your practice and your team to achieve excellence. Having friendly, competent team on hand to interact with patients is vital to your dental practice’s success and growth.